Hurricane Dennis Preps

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Florida Gov. Jeb Bush already declared a state of emergency as Hurricane Dennis makes tracks toward Florida.

The governor is also cutting short his vacation in Maine. In the meantime, emergency management officials say Hurricane Dennis bears a very scary resemblance to Hurricane Ivan, and they’re urging people to take the storm seriously.

The state’s emergency management team is having the worst kind of flashbacks as Hurricane Dennis tracks toward Florida.

Ben Nelson, a state meteorologist, says, “This is a statewide issue, tornado threat, surge threat, and this will be a potentially large wind field like we saw with Hurricane Ivan.”

But there are differences this year. Lessons learned from 2004 are helping officials anticipate what people and communities might need if we get socked again.

Emergency responders aren’t waiting for Dennis to hit. The feds are already moving people in, and the National Guard is on standby.

Craig Fugate, Florida Emergency Management Director, says, “We’re working with the counties on staging areas, depending on where the storm goes, to send resources into the counties as well as their distribution points. We’re updating that now as we speak with the particular emphasis on the Panhandle.”

Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings is urging folks to gear up again and get their hurricane supplies in order, knowing that many people still haven’t recovered from last year.

Lt. Gov Toni Jennings, (R) Florida, says, “We just encourage you to have faith and move forward. The state will be fine, the economy will be fine, and we’ll make sure we take care of Floridians if something happens.”

It’s a threat that looms larger with each passing hour. Voluntary evacuations are already underway in the Florida Keys.