TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday that state officials are preparing for the potential effects of Tropical Storm Erika, which could affect Florida this weekend.
"We've been very fortunate for a long time, and we've got to get prepared," he said during a press conference in Tallahassee.
Erika's latest track moves north of Puerto Rico and into the Bahamas by Sunday. If this holds true, favorable conditions may intensify Erika into a hurricane.
The models and updates are leaning more toward taking Erika east of Florida, but the storm's impact may still be felt, particularly on the Atlantic Coast, on Monday and Tuesday.
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Scott said the Florida National Guard has 8,000 members who can be mobilized to handle the effects of Erika, should it affect Florida. Currently, he said they are making sure their equipment is ready.
He also said the state has been in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and neighboring states.
Scott also said state officials have been in contact with local emergency management and law enforcement agencies, and that they are not asking for anything right now.
"We don't have any unmet needs for any of our local emergency management teams, local law enforcement," he said. "Nobody in the counties are asking for anything right now."
The State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee was partially activated Wednesday to monitor the progress of Erika.
Scott said Floridians should consider themselves the first line of defense against possible effects from Erika.
"Just think about your family for a second," he said. "We all love our children, our grandchildren, our parents. Think about what’s going to happen in a storm. We’re going to hope for the best, prepare for the worst, but get ready."
Scott emphasized that Floridians should know where their local shelters are and should be prepared with food and water in case the storm strikes. He also said Floridians should stay informed by listening to local news and local officials.
"Hopefully this will continue to be just a drill," he said. "We will continue not having a hurricane, but we live in a peninsula and these things can grow rapidly."