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Katrina Means Go-Time for Emergency Operations Center

At the Emergency Operations Center, each one presents a challenge. It's a very intense atmosphere inside EOC as officials hope for the best and plan for the worst.

While Katrina is a slow storm, it has the potential to cause a lot of headaches into the weekend. Just as with Hurricane Dennis in July, officials with the Florida Emergency Operations Center are on alert.

Director Craig Fugate says, "Often times the category of the storm doesn't tell you the full story. You have to look at the other hazards and rainfall to tell you the strength of the storm. It really depends upon the speed; the slower the storm, the more rain."

Ben Nelson, a Florida state meteorologist, says, "Whether it is a category one or a tropical storm, if you try to go and drive around in heavy rain you're putting yourself in danger."

As Hurricane Katrina bears down on Florida's southeast coast, officials with the EOC aren't taking any chances. They say counties should not wait to meet immediate needs.

So far there have been reports of a lost generator at a hospital in Broward County, one of the worst reports from a storm, which officials say is expected to make a strong impact on Florida's panhandle.

As a word of caution, state health officials are urging residents in Katrina's path to stay clear of those floodwaters.

Doc Kokol with Public Relations for the Florida Department of Health says, "Floodwaters can sometimes hide snakes, animals and objects that you do not see. You need to stay out of the water; you need to stay out of the floodwater."

Closer to home, preparations are underway as City of Tallahassee officials have been put on alert.

Gov. Jeb Bush was back at the Emergency Operations Center at 9 a.m. Friday morning for another briefing.


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