State of Emergency Declared in Florida as Tropical Storm Erika Approaches
This morning, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in every county in Florida to better prepare families for Tropical Storm Erika. The Governor urged Floridians to remain prepared for any potential impacts from the storm.
Governor Rick Scott said, “This morning, I declared a state of emergency in Florida for the threat of Tropical Storm Erika, and the National Guard is now partially activated and they have more than 8,000 personnel ready to mobilize. As of now, much of Florida is projected to be in the path of this storm. Everyone in our state, from South Florida to North Florida, should be closely watching this storm.
The weekend is coming and that means families sometimes travel or are away from the news. We cannot afford to be complacent. Every Floridian must have a game plan if they need to evacuate or help a family member evacuate the path of this storm.
Tropical Storm Erika will begin to affect Florida as early as late Sunday night or Monday morning. Local leaders and our Florida National Guard are already preparing their plans for possible evacuations or sheltering needs for our vulnerable populations.
I have spoken to Florida Power and Light and other Florida utilities to make sure they are prepared to help families who may lose power over the weekend and early next week and many of them are pre-positioning their teams now. This is the time to get prepared.
We continue to hope for the best, even as we prepare for the worst. Working with the National Guard, local leaders and emergency management officials – Florida is preparing for the worst case scenario from Tropical Storm Erika. But, we need every family to prepare their own game plan as well. Watch the news. Pay attention to updates from your local elected officials throughout the weekend.”
The exact path of the storm is uncertain, but State Emergency Response Team officials continue to carefully watch this storm as it progresses. This storm could affect Florida as early as Sunday night or Monday morning.
The Coast Guard urges mariners to heed warnings as Tropical Storm Erika is expected to affect South Florida this weekend.
As Tropical Storm Erika approaches, the Coast Guard urges people to be mindful of the following:
– Anticipate bridge closures. Mariners are advised that during strong storms drawbridges along the coast may deviate from the normal operating procedures. Drawbridges are authorized to remain closed upon the approach of gale force winds or higher as stated in the Code of Federal Regulations 117.35, which applies to “natural disasters or civil disorders.” Mariners should anticipate bridge closures by listening to the National Weather Service and Coast Guard broadcasts on the storm conditions.
– Stay off the water. The Coast Guard’s search and rescue capabilities are degraded as storm conditions strengthen. This means help could be delayed. Boaters are urged to heed weather watches, warnings and small craft advisories. People should not go out on their boats 48 hours prior to and at least 72-96 hours after a hurricane has passed as debris may be in the water and navigational aids may have shifted.
– Evacuate as necessary. If evacuations are set for an area, the public is urged to heed to those orders. Coast Guard personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to evacuate those in danger during the storm.
– Secure your belongings. Owners of larger boats are urged to move their boats to inland marinas where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or damage. Trailerable boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, life jackets, emergency position indicating radio beacons and small boats. These items, if not secured properly, can break free and require valuable search and rescue resources to be diverted to ensure people are not in distress.
– Be cautious of hazardous materials. If you have hazardous materials on or near the water, you are responsible for any spills that may occur. Take the necessary precautions to secure them prior to any foul weather.
– Stay clear of beaches. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by hurricanes. Swimmers are urged to wait until local officials say the water is safe.