Governor Scott to Pensacola: Prepare for Nate
Governor Rick Scott was in Pensacola Thursday morning for a briefing and to update the media on Tropical Storm Nate. "Based on current forecasts from the National Hurricane Center, we expect the storm to continue its northward track as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend" said Scott after he emerged from the briefing surrounded by local officials at the Escambia County Emergency Operations center. "The storm has the potential to become a hurricane and impact the Florida Panhandle this weekend and families must be ready."
The governor noted that the track of Nate has shifted to the west, away from the Florida Panhandle, but reminded people that Irma’s track also shifted back and forth before finally hitting Florida near Naples. "Remember we thought "Irma) was going to go up our east coast and it ended up going up our west coast. And we had to work hard to open up all those shelters right in the last two days (before the storm hit). And also let's remember it only took Hurricane Harvey two days to go from being a tropical storm in the gulf, to making landfall in Texas as a catastrophic and deadly category 4 hurricane."
Thursday morning Scott activated the state Emergency Operations Center to level one. That means it will be staffed 24 hours a day to make sure resources are going to where they are needed. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, who was with the governor at the EOC says he feels the city is ready for whatever the storm brings. "I don't think you can ever be too prepared for a storm" said Hayward. The mayor praise the governor's leadership during Irma and also John Dosh, the county's Chief of Emergency Operations. "We follow the lead of the county when an emergency like this happens. We strongly feel our streets (in downtown Pensacola) will be able to handle (the water from the storm). All the infrastructure we've put in over the past seven years has (worked tremendously). So, we're prepared but most importantly we're working together as a team. that's the number one thing we do between the city and the county in times like this."
The press conference at the Emergency Operations Center took about 15 minutes. The governor talked about the state’s financial health and the aptly named rainy day fund they have for emergencies like the current storms hitting the state. He also talked about some of the lessons learned from the three hurricanes that have hit the state in the past 14 months.
As of Thursday afternoon Tropical Storm Nate is moving along the coast of Central America. It is expected to head north into the Gulf of Mexico and make landfall on the Gulf Coast sometime Sunday morning. Exactly where remains to be seen.