Florida Governor Declares State of Emergency for Tropical Storm Erika

With virtually all of the Florida peninsula at risk for damage from Tropical Storm Erika, Governor Rick Scott today declared a state of emergency throughout the state. He urged residents to prepare for Erika, whose heavy rains have already devastated the Caribbean island of Dominica, leaving at least 12 dead.

“We don’t know how much land, Erika is going to go over,” Scott said at a press conference. “We don’t know how much water we’re going to get.”

As of 5 p.m. today, Erika was over the Dominican Republic, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. “Heavy rains and gusty winds” were also affecting Haiti, the center said. Erika is expected to remain a tropical storm as it moves over Cuba and The Bahamas this weekend, reaching South Florida late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

In other storm-related developments, the U.S. Coast Guard warned ports in South Florida to prepare for the possibility of gale-force winds. In addition, Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reported that more than a dozen flights had already been canceled due to Tropical Storm Erika.

As Erika draws closer to a landfall in Florida, now is the time to put your storm preparation plan into place. As Gov. Scott said today, “It’s been years since we’ve had a hurricane. Think of how many people have moved to our state and never even experienced a hurricane.”

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