State Officials Prepare Floridians for Hurricane Frances

There are no watches or warnings around here yet, so there's still time to protect your family. The Tallahassee area is still probably a day away from feeling the effects of Hurricane Frances, but the time to get ready is running out.

As Florida officials race to get state resources prepared for Frances’ arrival, they’re glad people are heeding their warnings to pray for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Craig Fugate, director of the Florida EOC, says, “The message to evacuate is still very important, but for the folks that are still in the areas that took the advice to stay in their homes, which is good advice, you’re still going to have a very dangerous situation.”

That means preparing for possibly days or longer without power. Health Secretary John Agwunobi says people with special needs, like parents of babies who drink formula, need to stock up.

Dr. John Agwunobi says, “This slow moving storm is going to take at least a day to fully pass over the state and they may not be able to get out and get more formula if they haven’t put enough aside.”

Another concern is people who rely on medical equipment that runs on electricity. Plan to go to a special needs shelter now, or turn to a neighbor who has a generator.

There is a huge concern that people may let their guard down if Hurricane Frances weakens further. Gov. Jeb Bush wants people to know the storm will remain a serious threat.

"It isn't good news. Category 3 storms are powerful storms and category 1 storms are a hurricane. I don't know, I'm not going to go outside in a hurricane category 1 storm," Gov. Bush said.

The hours and days following a storm are often the most deadly. Twenty-seven deaths are blamed on Hurricane Charley, but the vast majority were preventable tragedies long after the storm had passed.

State officials say residents need to prepare for more than a foot of rain from Hurricane Frances. They’re asking people to remember not to drive into flooded roads and to never let children play near flooded waterways.