As Tropical Storm Erika moves on a path toward the Florida peninsula, state, county and city emergency planners are watching closely, especially in South Florida. Gov. Rick Scott is still on vacation in Colorado, and his office says he will be briefed twice Wednesday by phone from Bryan Koon, the state director of emergency management, at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Below is the detail for the first briefing as it appears on Scott's official state schedule.
11:30am BRIEFING ON TROPICAL STORM ERIKA WITH BRYAN KOON, DIRECTOR OF THE FLORIDA DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT (VIA PHONE)
The latest advisory, at 8 a.m. Wednesday, has the storm on a track to make landfall, possibly in South Florida, late Sunday or early Monday. South Florida TV meteorologists are reporting that at present, it has the potential to become a Category 1 hurricane. The state emergency operations center in Tallahassee is on partial activation as forecast models put the state in the five day cone of error.
"Too many variables still exist for us to be able to accurately predict where this storm might impact us or how strong it may be if it does," Koon said in a statement. Floridians are urged to closely track news reports on the storm's progress and to review their hurricane preparedness plans.
Florida has been remarkably hurricane-free during Scott's nearly five years as governor. Three years ago this week, Scott skipped many events at the Republican National Convention in Tampa to focus on the effects that Tropical Storm Isaac was having on the state, mainly in the Florida Keys.
There's no word yet from the governor's office on whether Scott will cut short his Colorado vacation to return to Tallahassee to more closely monitor weather-related developments. Scott's office has declined Times/Herald requests for details of his vacation.