Hurricane Katrina: Stay Alert

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Gov. Jeb Bush is warning Floridians to stay alert and be careful in areas of the state hit by Hurricane Katrina.

The governor says after the storm passes is the most dangerous time for accidents and electrocutions.

State emergency workers are preparing for another hit from Katrina while they help those already in need. Workers at the Emergency Operations Center are coordinating the mobilization of 1,000 National Guard troops, getting water and ice to those in need, overseeing the opening of shelters, all while keeping an eye on the storm as it heads for the Panhandle.

State officials say many people may have underestimated the punch of Katrina.

Ben Nelson, state meteorologist, says, “If there can be any good that comes out of this it’s that people can get out of the notion of this is a minimal hurricane.”

Gov. Jeb Bush says, “It’s a hurricane. That’s why they define it that way. It’s a scary thing to go through.”

The state Emergency Operations Center is now open 24 hours with workers preparing for the next hit by Katrina and coordinating help to those who have already seen the devastation of the storm. Power remains out for many, and that means downed lines and the danger of electrocution.

Health officials say that’s just one reason to stay out of standing water.

John Agwunobi, Florida Health Secretary, says, “There is the danger of chemical contamination, can occur with water. Petroleum and chemicals can rise up from the ground and bacterial contamination from sewage.”

State emergency officials are also urging Floridians to avoid driving in standing water. They say Katrina proves a category one hurricane can be dangerous and unpredictable.