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Florida governor says he’s monitoring potential tropical cyclone ‘very closely'

Too soon to tell if storm will impact state

The cone of uncertainty for Potential Tropical Cyclone 9 as of 2 p.m. Wednesday July 29.
The cone of uncertainty for Potential Tropical Cyclone 9 as of 2 p.m. Wednesday July 29. (National Hurricane Center)

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Now that Florida is in the cone of uncertainty for a disturbance in the Caribbean that’s predicted to become Tropical Storm Isaias, Gov. Ron DeSantis says he is monitoring the system “very closely.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, projections from the National Hurricane Center show the potential tropical cyclone south of Miami Saturday morning, near the Port Charlotte area Sunday morning and over the Cedar Keys by Monday morning.

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Of course, with the storm several days out it’s possible that its path could change.

DeSantis said right now, it’s too soon to tell what impact the state with experience, if any at all.

[READ: Here’s how the coronavirus pandemic will impact hurricane season in Florida | ‘COVID or no COVID,’ some Central Florida residents will need to evacuate if hurricane comes]

“We are monitoring (Potential) Tropical Cyclone Nine very closely. It looks like we’re not going to know the storm’s exact strength and trajectory for a couple more days,” DeSantis said. “It has not yet been in organized form, we have not seen the organization, which obviously is gonna tell you a little bit more about the severity and the direction.”

With the storm still several days away, the governor urged Floridians to prepare now by stocking up on food, water, medication and any other necessary supplies.

“So it’s very uncertain, I know they have different cones now that are out there. We still are not at the point where we really could, I think, credibly anticipate a trajectory, but I do think it is possible that there are impacts in the state of Florida, and we could see those impacts as anywhere from kind of severe storms all the way up to a potential hurricane,” DeSantis said.

The governor made the remarks Wednesday afternoon while speaking at a special needs school about how the upcoming semester will look as teachers, parents and students adjust to learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Because social distancing guidelines are in place, local leaders have been forced to reevaluate how they prepare for hurricanes and other potential storms.

[RELATED: Florida reports more than 200 COVID-19 deaths, setting new single-day record | What is a potential tropical cyclone?]

In Seminole County, the plan is to open more shelters but house fewer people in each one.

In May, Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz said that some people in newer structures may be asked to remain home rather than go to a shelter.

Forecasters are predicting a busy hurricane season this year with the potential of up to 20 named storms, nine of which could become hurricanes.

Thus far, there have been eight named storms.

As of Wednesday, Florida has reported a cumulative total of 451,423 COVID-19 cases and 6,457 deaths.

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter and go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.


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