FROM THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
By JIM SAUNDERS
THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, August 28, 2015………. With Tropical Storm Erika on a course to barrel into Florida, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday declared a state of emergency for the entire state.
The executive order pointed to updated forecasts from the National Hurricane Center indicating the storm likely will “travel up the spine of Florida’s peninsula.” Erika is now expected to remain a tropical storm, rather than turn into a more-powerful hurricane.
“Tropical Storm Erika poses a severe threat to the entire state of Florida and requires that timely precautions are taken to protect the communities, critical infrastructure and general welfare of this state,” part of the executive order said.
A five-day forecast “cone” on the National Hurricane Center website puts Florida directly in the path of the storm. That cone, which gives a broad picture of the projected track, suggests Erika could hit South Florida early Monday and then travel up the state.
A tropical storm, by definition, features wind speeds between 39 mph and 73 mph. Scott’s order said he was declaring that a “state of emergency exists in every county within the state of Florida.”
The declaration has a number of effects, such as triggering arrangements in which Florida can seek assistance from other states and the federal government. Also, Scott ordered Adjutant Gen. Michael Calhoun to activate the Florida National Guard for the duration of the emergency.
Scott headed Friday morning to Miami for briefings about the storm and a news conference at the local emergency-operations center. He is expected to return to Tallahassee later in the day for a briefing at the state Emergency Operations Center, according to a schedule released by his office.
The governor and other state officials urged Floridians on Thursday to begin preparing for a major storm.
“A lot of times it’s not the storm that causes the problem,” Scott said. “It’s the aftermath because as individuals we didn’t get prepared. So, each of us has to take the responsibility to get prepared.”