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Wilma Watch

By: Victoria Langley
By: Victoria Langley

Florida is once again bracing for landfall as powerful Hurricane Wilma spins in the Caribbean. This on a day when Gov. Jeb Bush is in Washington talking to a congressional committee about the importance of emergency preparedness.

Grim faces surround a morning conference call at the State Emergency Operations Center. The news isn't good for Charlotte County's Emergency Manager. Like other counties, Wayne Sallade says southwest Florida is short of shelter space. This poses some major challenges with a storm that's looking a lot like last year's Charley.

But Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings says no state is better prepared to respond than Florida. The National Guard is ready to move as well. More than 2,400 soldiers are on standby and more are at the ready to help meet basic needs and provide security.

Right now it’s kind of the calm before the storm at the State Emergency Operations Center, you see a couple of empty chairs, but that will change over the next several hours as the ops center moves to a Level One activation. That means all hands on deck 24/7.

And it means Floridians are being told to pray for the best but prepare for the worst again.

Disaster planners already have trucks of ice, water, and meals staged in four locations in Florida, two in Florida and two in the central part of the state and also one in Homestead and one in Live Oak. They’ll head in to help once the storm makes landfall.


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