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Gov. Scott Issues Emergency Order for Panhandle as Likely Hurricane Approaches

October 7, 2018 - 7:45pm

Updates 2:30 p.m. Sunday version with emergency declared, new details: Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday declared a state of emergency in Northwest Florida as a looming hurricane threatens to hammer the region in the middle of the week.

Scott said during a 6 p.m. news conference that he declared an emergency in 26 counties in the Panhandle and the Big Bend -- generally areas surrounding Tallahassee -- because of a storm in the Gulf of Mexico that became Tropical Storm Michael on Sunday.

The National Hurricane Center said in a 5 p.m. advisory that its forecast "calls for Michael to become a hurricane in about 36 hours when the storm reaches the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. Additional strengthening is indicated through 72 hours when the storm is forecast to be near the northern Gulf coast."

"Michael is forecast to be a hurricane when it reaches the northeastern Gulf Coast by mid-week, and the risk of dangerous storm surge, rainfall and wind impacts continues to increase," the advisory said. "In addition, Michael is expected to affect portions of the Florida Gulf Coast that are especially vulnerable to storm surge, regardless of the storm's exact track or intensity. Residents in these areas should monitor the progress of this system and follow any advice given by local officials."

Scott said Michael could turn into a Category 2 storm with winds topping 100 mph and could bring damaging storm surge.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely dangerous," Scott said.

He urged Floridians to get prepared for the storm and said he has activated 500 members of the Florida National Guard.

"Everybody's got to get ready," Scott said during the news conference at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee. "Don't take a chance."

The National Hurricane Center said the storm is predicted to lead to heavy rainfall and flash flooding in parts of western Cuba and the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico before moving north in the Gulf. 

With Scott running for U.S. Senate and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum running for governor, the threat of the storm quickly affected this fall's elections. Gillum's campaign said the Democrat was planning to return to Tallahassee on Sunday to focus on preparing the city for the storm. Gillum had planned to campaign Monday and Tuesday in South Florida. 

Gillum's mayoral office said he also "reached out to Governor Scott with an update on the city’s efforts." That came after the two clashed in 2016 about the city's response to Hurricane Hermine.


Scott's just taking advantage of the situation for political gain ... just as he has in Puerto Rico and on innumerable other occasions. Neither he nor his Republican legislature have ever sincerely given two damns about "The People"! (After Irma, it's been said Scott gave out some $30 million in questionable debris pick-up contracts to favored people he was associated with.)

I think it is shameful that you let people with political motives comment on this story. A hurricane is serious business. Governor Scott is our governor. Why do you allow him to be criticized to benefit his political enemies when he is trying to keep our people safe? Shame on these Democrats and shame on you.

So thankful to have a Governor who looks out for his state like Gov Scott does. May he defeat Nelson and give us better in DC than we have received for ages past.

Hey, quick look at me, a hurricane is coming, be ready, pack your bags, have a plan... Now, let me sign some way, way over priced no bid contracts for double clean-up, so my friends can make shit loads of money off of the tax payers, just like I did...

Last time a hurricane threatened Northwest Florida (2004), Louisina wags packed their taverns, drank & partied and celebrated their good fortune that Florida's Panhandle was going to "take the hit"... THEN, "Mother Nature" heard the revelers and intervened,...turning the storm LEFT...(TO GUESS WHERE?!?) [YOU can't fool "Mother Nature" !...] But you CAN fool the "24 hour News & Weather cycle"!

Thank you Governor Scott for always looking out for Florida. Go Scott!! You will do just as great a job in Washington!!

He looks out for himself. In the old days, people knew what to do when a storm was coming without the governor turning it into a publicity stunt. Announcements were limited and taken seriously. Florida was different then. Our waterways weren't choked with algae and dead fish, nor was Tallahassee packed with scalliwags and carpetbaggers.

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