Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 29 counties in north Florida and the Panhandle as Tropical Storm Nate approaches the Gulf coast.
The governor said in a news release Thursday that the order helps ensure that federal, state and local governments can work together easily and make sure storm-related resources are provided without delay to local communities.
The National Hurricane Center says strengthening is likely as the storm moves over the northwestern Caribbean Sea Thursday night and Friday. Parts of Florida are in the possible impact zone, although the most recent forecast has the storm center headed for Louisiana.
The affected counties are Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy, Baker, Union, Bradford and Alachua.
Gov. Rick Scott is urging residents in Florida's Panhandle to keep an eye on Tropical Storm Nate, which formed off the coast of Nicaragua and is expected to approach the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Scott was in Pensacola on Thursday morning, meeting with city and emergency management officials.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami says strengthening is likely as the storm moves over the northwestern Caribbean Sea Thursday night and Friday.
The storm is centered about 10 miles (15 kilometers) south Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, and is moving northwest near 8 mph (13 kph). The storm's current forecast track shows it possibly approaching the Gulf Coast over the weekend as a hurricane.
Scott tweeted that the storm has the potential to affect the Panhandle starting this weekend.
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