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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declares state of emergency – NBC Miami (51)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declares state of emergency – NBC Miami (51)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for much of the state’s Gulf Coast on Saturday as forecasters say a weather system off the coast of Mexico will soon become a tropical storm and begin moving toward the region.

DeSantis’ report covers the Gulf Coast from the southwestern city of Fort Myers north to Panama City on the Panhandle. Thirty-three of the state’s 67 districts are subject to the proclamation.

The National Hurricane Center says the system has a 70% chance of becoming a tropical storm Monday and a 90% chance overall. Currently, it will be called “Italia” if another tropical storm doesn’t form before then. Forecast models don’t show the storm’s center anywhere near the areas of southwest Florida hit by last year’s deadly Hurricane Ian.

It was not immediately clear if the storm would reach hurricane strength or where it would go. However, any storm of this nature can cause massive flooding, power outages, coastal storm surges and hurricanes.

DeSantis said in a statement that he issued his executive order “out of an abundance of caution to ensure that Florida’s Emergency Management Unit begins mobilizing resources and that Floridians have enough time to prepare their families for next week’s storm.”

“I encourage Floridians to have a plan and make sure your hurricane supply kit is stocked,” he said.

Forecast models show the storm bending toward northeast Florida, hitting the Gulf Coast north of Tampa near the Big Bend area, and then criss-crossing the state to re-emerge into the Atlantic Ocean near southeast Georgia.

So far this year, the US East Coast has been spared from hurricanes. But to the west, Tropical Storm Hillary caused widespread flooding, mudslides and road closures in Mexico, California, Nevada and points north earlier this month.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently said the 2023 hurricane season will be more active than initially expected, in part due to much warmer ocean temperatures. The season lasts until November 30, with August and September usually peaking.