Florida Issues Tropical Storm Elsa Updates

TALLAHASSEE,  FL (STL.News) Governor Ron DeSantis is in constant communication with Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Director Kevin Guthrie as the State of Florida continues to monitor and respond to the threat of Tropical Storm Elsa.

Today, Governor DeSantis held two press conferences regarding Tropical Storm Elsa at the State Emergency Operations Center with Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Director Kevin Guthrie.  Full remarks from this morning’s press conference are available here. The evening press conference is available below.

Current forecasts project Tropical Storm Elsa will make landfall in the eastern Big Bend of Florida or Nature Coast north of Tampa Bay early tomorrow morning, July 7.  Elsa is now forecast to become a hurricane before making landfall in Florida.  The Florida Keys are currently experiencing tropical storm strength winds and rainfall.  The storm remains lopsided with nearly all wind, rain, storm surge and tornado threats in the eastern half of the storm.
Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 21-152 expanding the State of Emergency for Tropical Storm Elsa to include seven additional counties: Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and Union. Franklin is no longer under a State of Emergency due to the changed projected path of the storm.  There are now a total of 33 counties under a State of Emergency due to Tropical Storm Elsa.

Tropical Storm Warnings are currently in effect for the following 28 counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union and Wakulla counties.

Hurricane Warnings have been issued for the coastal areas of Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Hillsborough and Pasco counties, as well as the entirety of Pinellas County.

State preparation and response efforts for Tropical Storm Elsa include:

Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM)

  • FDEM is leading the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) for the Tropical Storm Elsa response.
  • The Division has received 66 resource requests for Tropical Storm Elsa.  29 of these requests have been fulfilled and 21 are either en route or are being mobilized.  This includes the coordination of resources such as: 150 trucks of food and water, 24 generators and 24 water pumps.
  • There are currently 52 Florida National Guardsmen staged at the State Logistics Response Center in Orlando ensuring storm preparation and response resources are ready and available for impacted counties that request them.
  • FDEM has assembled Point of Distribution packages to ensure food and water are readily available if counties request it.
  • FDEM, in partnership with Feeding Florida, currently has more than 390,000 MREs and more than 370 pallets of water on-hand across 11 facilities statewide for distribution to impacted individuals after the storm.
  • FDEM has issued Emergency Order 21-006, which waives certain competitive procurement requirements to effectively facilitate mitigation, response and recovery actions necessary to respond to Tropical Storm Elsa.
  • The State Emergency Operations Center is activated at a Level 1 full activation to respond to Tropical Storm Elsa and assist impacted counties.
  • FDEM is currently holding twice-daily calls for all 67 county emergency management offices and state agencies to coordinate protective actions and needed resources ahead of potential storm impacts.
  • The SERT is providing meteorological updates on Tropical Storm Elsa to responding teams in Surfside and is executing contingency plans for the Tropical Storm Elsa co-response.

Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD)

  • APD hosted a statewide call with stakeholders and staff to provide updates on Tropical Storm Elsa, discuss protective actions and field any questions or concerns.
  • APD is featuring emergency management information and resources on APDCares.org for planning before, during and after a storm. The APD Recovery Toolkit to assist individuals impacted by disasters is available here.

Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)

  • AHCA has activated reporting in the Emergency Status System and is requesting all health care providers in Alachua, Charlotte, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Franklin, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Leon, Levy, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, Sumter, Suwanee, Taylor and Wakulla counties to report their census, available beds, evacuation status and generator status information.  This information allows AHCA to assist health care providers in transferring patients if needed and ensure health care providers in impacted areas have the necessary resources and adequate power.
  • AHCA continues to communicate frequently with Florida’s health care partners to ensure they are ready for any potential impacts resulting from Tropical Storm Elsa.
  • AHCA continues to coordinate with Florida’s long-term care facilities to ensure compliance with emergency power rules related to generator availability in the event of loss of power.  As of today, all operating long-term care facilities have a generator on-site.  The Generator Status Map for long-term care facilities is available here.

Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing)

  • Each State Housing Initiatives Partnership office has an adopted disaster strategy that allows for assistance in the immediate aftermath of a declared disaster.  The disaster strategies include temporary relocation and rent assistance, debris removal and short-term repairs to prevent further damage to the structure or to allow for occupancy until further repairs are made.

VISIT Florida

  • VISIT Florida is featuring travel safety information on VISITFlorida.com to provide weather alerts and official resources to assist visitors with making the most informed travel planning decisions possible.  Current travel safety information regarding Tropical Storm Elsa is available here.

Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR)

  • OIR has issued a reminder notice to all health insurers, managed care organizations and other health entities reminding them of Florida law providing consumers access to early prescription refills in response to the Governor’s Executive Order 21-152.  The notice is available here.
  • OIR has activated its incident management team to review disaster response procedures in preparation for Tropical Storm Elsa.

Florida Department of Health (FDOH)

  • FDOH is coordinating the transportation and filling of 51 oxygen cylinders for use at Special Needs Shelters.  To receive assistance for special needs individuals during a disaster, register with the Special Needs Registry here.
  • FDOH has issued Emergency Order 21-003, which waives certain competitive procurement requirements to effectively facilitate mitigation, response and recovery actions necessary to respond to Tropical Storm Elsa.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO)

  • DEO is coordinating with Visit Florida and monitoring cancelation rates to determine how the storm’s impact could potentially affect the tourism industry.
  • DEO is also coordinating with the Florida Retail Federation to assess store closures and any protective actions that need to be taken in preparation for Elsa.
  • DEO has been in communication with private sector partners to coordinate any inventory shortages or unusual retail patterns relating to Elsa.

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV)

  • FLHSMV issued Emergency Order 070521, which waives specific requirements for commercial motor vehicles providing emergency relief; and waives the replacement fees for driver license and identification credentials, vehicle registrations and titles, vessel registrations and titles and temporary parking permits for impacted individuals.
  • Motorists can call Florida Highway Patrol at *FHP (*347) for assistance on the road or to report dangerous road conditions.

Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA)

  • DOEA has the 2021 Disaster Resource Guide for Older Adults published on the ElderAffairs.org website for disaster preparedness.  The publication contains state and county emergency phone numbers and is available in English and Spanish.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

  • DEP has closed 43 campgrounds in anticipation of impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa. Florida state park closures are available here.
  • DEP has pre-authorized 384 Disaster Debris Management Sites within 27 counties in preparation of Tropical Storm Elsa impacts.

Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)

  • DJJ facilities are ensuring the safety of staff and juveniles through protective actions against potential impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa, including: ensuring all vehicles have a full tank of gas in the event of evacuation, moving vehicles in low-lying and flood-prone areas to higher ground and performing generator tests in the event of loss of power.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)

  • In preparation of Tropical Storm Elsa, FDOT facilities are refueling generators and performing generator tests in the event of loss of power.
  • Two fuel tanks in FDOT equipment yards have been filled, and all FDOT vehicles have a full tank of gas in the event of evacuation.

Florida Department of Education (DOE)

  • Find the most up-to-date information on college and university, school district and DOE office closures here.
  • K-12 schools in Alachua, Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Marion, Monroe, Pasco, Putnam, Sarasota and Wakulla counties have scheduled closures for tomorrow, July 7 in anticipation of impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa.
  • Colleges and universities in Alachua, Columbia, Hillsborough, Lee, Madison, Sarasota and Sumter counties have scheduled closures for tomorrow, July 7 in anticipation of impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa.

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