TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday declared a state of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa.
DeSantis held a news conference after 5 p.m. and declared a state of emergency for the following counties: Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota.
“I’m encouraging Floridians to begin their preparation effort. This includes have a stocked disaster kit with at least seven days of supplies and developing a disaster plan ahead of the storm,” he said during Saturday evening’s update. “Remember to plan for your pets, anyone in your home with special needs and check on your neighbors and the elderly.”
A state of emergency allows for schools to be used as shelters, eliminates tolls on roads, and bans price gouging. The state’s price gouging hotline has also been activated ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa, according to the Florida Attorney General’s Office.
Elsa was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane late Saturday morning and is expected to continue weakening back into a tropical storm after interacting Hispaniola and Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center.