HIGHLANDS CO., FL - It's been a busy couple of hours at the Highlands County sand bagging areas. Crowds lining up to fill up their bags. Reality is setting in with the area declared a state of emergency. Matthew is expected to bring strong storms.
16-year-old Brianna Watley is helping her family prepare for the worst. She says she's calm but has her worries.
"It could knock over the tree onto the house, it could knock a tree onto the car...that we really do need in case we have to go somewhere," she said.
Local Checker's manager, Christopher Martin, is making good use of the county's sand bagging service.
"We have big, red umbrellas. So, we want to make sure that we turn them upside down and weigh them down so that they don't become flying objects," he said.
His business has a hurricane action plan but some folks he's run into, while getting his store ready, seem to be reacting too late.
“We become accustomed to the hurricanes so they get complacent. Being in Walmart last night was really funny watching everyone buy out everything out of stock," said Martin.
Likewise, Watley has seen her fair share of panic.
"It's crazy. It's literally madness. People are fighting like it's a zombie apocalypse," she said.
County leaders say act now. Whether that's stocking up your pantry or filling up some sandbags.
In Highlands County, Sand for bags are available at:
Sebring: George Blvd. just North of DeSoto City Volunteer Fire Station.
Avon Park: Intersection of CR 17, E. Old Bombing Range Road and Isabelle Lake Road.
Lake Placid: Area at the road and bridge office on CR 621.