Gov. Rick Scott declares state of emergency to prepare Florida panhandle for Tropical Storm Nate

Gov. Rick Scott talks to reporters during a news conference as Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., looks on, at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Miami, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, in Opa-Locka, Fla. Gov. Scott flew over the Florida Keys to assess damage from Hurricane Irma. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

SOUTHPORT, Fla. (WFLA) – Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Nate in 29 counties within the state of Florida.

The counties under the state of emergency are Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy, Baker, Union, Bradford, and Alachua counties.

“By declaring an emergency in these counties, we can also ensure that there is no hindrance in the transportation of supplies and assets,” said Scott. “I urge all Floridians to remain vigilant and stay alert to local weather and news and visit FLGetAPlan.com today as we all prepare for Tropical Storm Nate.”

EMERGENCY SUPPORT FUNCTIONS BY STATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM MILITARY SUPPORT

The Florida National Guard has 7,000 guard members available for deployment if needed.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) continues to monitor traffic and is coordinating with FDOT and local emergency operations centers regarding any potential evacuations.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is monitoring the storm and ready to respond as needed.

TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is monitoring the storm and holding teleconferences with the regional FDOT district offices to ensure local communities are prepared.

FDOT district offices are reaching out to construction vendors to have them remove any materials that block roads to facilitate potential evacuations and checking on fuel supplies.

FDOT is also actively monitoring for roadway flooding in areas already impacted by Hurricane Irma and stands ready to respond as needed. ·

FDOT asset maintenance contractors have been contacted to support potential activities.

FDOT will continue to reach out to county emergency operations centers directly to coordinate any necessary response actions including activating traffic counters, providing local evacuation support and providing maintenance of traffic and other assistance.·

Florida’s seaports are monitoring conditions.

POWER AND UTILITIES

The state has contacted utilities to put them on notice to start reporting outage and restoration information if needed. ·

Utilities are contacting their mutual aid partners to determine availability if external resources are needed to restore services.

FUEL

The state is contacting fuel industry partners, such as the Florida Petroleum Council, Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, to prepare for potential storm impacts. At this time, there are no reported supply, distribution or retail fuel shortages or issues.

The state has also contacted emergency fuel and equipment provider for status of emergency fuel supply and equipment.

SHELTERS  

The state is preparing to support potential sheltering operations in the Florida Panhandle. More information on shelters will be made available as decisions on potential evacuations are made.

PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL

The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) will join Governor Scott on tropical storm preparedness calls with Florida hospitals, assisted living facilities and nursing homes later today. DOH is standing by to assist with potential needs of healthcare facilities and special needs shelters.

WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS

Water Management Districts are monitoring waterways and are prepared to adjust flows as necessary.

Lake Okeechobee is currently at 16.67 feet and is being continuously monitored by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which manages Lake Okeechobee water levels. The Army Corps will continue releases from Lake Okeechobee until further notice.

CONTACTS

The State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) contact number is 1-800-342-3557.

The State Emergency Operations Center Media Line: 850-921-0217.

Follow @FLSert or @FLGovScott on Twitter for live updates on Tropical Storm Nate.

Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org to find information on shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.

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