Tropical Storm develops in Gulf

Posted on July 31, 2017 by Romi White


A Tropical Depression in the Gulf of Mexico has developed into Tropical Storm Emily, and a tropical storm warning has been issued for west-central Florida.

This morning, Governor Rick Scott spoke with the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) to get an update on potential storm impacts. Scott urges all Floridians to monitor the storm.

Today, Governor Rick Scott received a full update on Tropical Storm Emily at the State Emergency Operations Center. Governor Scott has been in constant communication with state and local emergency management officials and state agency leaders who are also working to ensure the state is prepared to respond to any potential impacts from Tropical Storm Emily. This morning, Governor Scott issued Executive Order 17-204 declaring a state of emergency in 31 counties within the state of Florida in response to Tropical Storm Emily. This state of emergency gives the state the flexibility to work with local governments to ensure they have all the resources they may need to prepare to respond to Tropical Storm Emily. There are currently no evacuation orders in effect.

Governor Scott said, “Floridians across the state woke up this morning to learn of a tropical system bearing down on our Gulf Coast. This morning, I heard from state and county emergency management officials and there are no unmet needs or evacuation orders at this time. With Tropical Storm Emily having made landfall in Manatee County and forecast to impact a large part of Florida with heavy rain and flooding, it is so important that families remain vigilant. Communities along the Gulf Coast could experience significant rainfall, flash flooding, tornadoes and damaging wind gusts. All Floridians should stay tuned to local weather alerts and get an emergency preparedness plan now at

“Our state agencies stand ready to respond to any local needs and are in constant communication with their local partners to ensure resources are available. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) has a 250-person response team ready to deploy as needed to assist with road closures, direct traffic in the event of power outages and respond to any call for service as needed by local law enforcement agencies.

“I will remain in constant communication with our state and local emergency management officials, and local elected officials to ensure all needs are met. We are doing everything possible to keep Florida families and visitors safe and informed.”


The Florida National Guard stands ready to support hurricane preparedness and response with guardsmen ready to be deployed if needed.

Outages have been reported in Sarasota, Manatee and Hillsborough counties.
Utilities have been put on notice to start reporting outage and restoral information when notified to begin.
Utilities are contacting their mutual aid partners to determine availability if external resources are needed to restore services.
Monitoring the power grid for sufficient power in the state and the natural gas infrastructure for any damages that can cause a loss of service to power plants.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) has a 250-person response team ready to deploy as needed to assist with road closures, directing traffic in the event of power outages and respond to any call for service as needed by local law enforcement agencies.
FHP has closed all lanes of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge due to high winds. The Howard Frankland Bridge remains open.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other partnering agencies are identifying resources for deployment if necessary to respond to the storm.

The American Red Cross is on standby to conduct shelter operations in Pinellas and Indian River counties.

The state is monitoring the storm and holding teleconferences with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) districts and agency partners – Army Corps of Engineers, Water Management Districts, Civil Air Patrol and Federal Highway Administration to ensure all infrastructure needs are met.
o Asset maintenance contractors have been alerted;
o FDOT district offices are reaching out to construction vendors to have them remove any materials that block roads to facilitate evacuations;
o Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise is ensuring that service plazas along the Florida Turnpike have Road Rangers and fuel;
o Additional fuel, Road Rangers and resources such as variable message boards to guide evacuees are on standby; and
o The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) has made contact with local troops in preparation for supporting evacuations in the major corridors, south to north and east to west.
Army Corps of Engineers and Water Management Districts are monitoring waterways and are prepared to adjust flows as necessary.
FDOT is actively monitoring for roadway flooding and stands ready to respond as needed.
FDOT is preparing evacuation routes, maintenance yards, construction zones, equipment and staff; testing and inventorying equipment; placing emergency crews on standby; reviewing emergency plans; preparing construction zones; and monitoring flood prone areas.
· FDOT will continue to reach out to county emergency operations centers directly to coordinate any necessary response actions including activating traffic counters, providing local evacuation support and providing maintenance of traffic and other assistance.


The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) created an event in Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center (FLVBEOC) for Tropical Storm Emily and it is currently up to date with storm info, including press releases/situation reports. DEO and DEM continue to provide situation awareness to private sector partners.
FLVBEOC is available at
VISIT FLORIDA has activated the Weather Alert ribbon on the homepage and the Florida Now resource landing page

The state is contacting fuel industry partners (e.g., Florida Petroleum Council, Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association); there are no reported supply, distribution or retail fuel shortages or issues.
The state is monitoring fuel assistance requests; currently there are no requests for assistance.
The state has contacted emergency fuel and equipment provider for status of emergency fuel supply and equipment.

At this point, there are no out of ordinary reports of any major outages.
The state is monitoring fuel assistance requests; currently there are no requests for assistance.

Field Station readiness actions include the following:
· Lake Okeechobee water levels indicate that no discharges should be necessary. Lake levels will continue to be monitored.
· Inspecting key parts of the flood control system and critical flood control structures.
· Inspecting canals and levees for any obstructions.
· Inspecting heavy equipment.
· Ensuring adequate fuel supplies for pump stations and other equipment.
· Securing items vulnerable to high wind at pump stations and laydown yards in Homestead, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection surveyed beaches throughout entire Florida west coast and is reaching out to state parks to assess needs.
No state parks are closed at this time.

State Emergency Operations Center Media Line: 850-921-0217.
Follow @FLSert or @FLGovScott on Twitter for live updates on Tropical Storm Emily.
Visit to find information on shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.