When Will Tropical Storm Erika Hit Florida? Gov. Rick Scott Has Already Begun Preparing The State For Its Arrival
On Friday morning, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency across the entire state of Florida. The announcement came as Tropical Storm Erika moves closer to the state on a projected path up its spine. Tropical Storm Erika is expected to make landfall on the east coast of Florida on Monday. According to Scott's executive order, "Tropical Storm Erika poses a severe threat to the entire State of Florida and requires that timely precautions are taken to protect the communities, critical infrastructure, and general welfare." Though forecasters expect Erika to never be upgraded to hurricane status, Scott is taking extra precautions given the storm's trajectory. The last time Florida declared a state of emergency was in 2014 following an inundation of rain that prompted massive flooding.
That executive order, which was issued in April of last year, only spanned 26 out of Florida's 67 counties. The National Guard was deployed to help facilitate in the evacuation of at least 300 people at the time. Federal resources were approved for Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, both of which saw over 20 inches of rain. The projected rainfall of Tropical Storm Erika is not nearly as substantial. Though as much as 12 inches have hit the likes of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, the Orlando Sentinel is pegging the amount to hit Florida at between 4 and 8 inches.
The University of Central Florida has already issued an announcement that school officials are heavily monitoring the storm. An emergency contact list has been updated and administrators are fully prepared to cancel classes or completely shutter campus until the storm passes if the weather is severe enough to warrant it. According to an announcement issued by UCF on Thursday, the move towards preparedness is standard protocol:
When a region falls within the three-day cone of probability on the National Hurricane Center’s map that a hurricane will hit, safety officers urge residents to secure adequate supplies and begin preparations to protect property.
Under Governor Scott's state of emergency declaration, the National Guard has been activated and special authorization has been granted for emergency personnel to better traverse the state, including waiving toll road fees. It has been a full decade since a hurricane has made landfall on the state. According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Tropical Storm Erika is expected to weaken as it moves over the Bahamas on Saturday and Sunday, continuing northeast.