As Tropical Storm Arlene blows through the Panhandle, state Emergency Management officials are already planning how to address the expected damage in the storm’s wake.
Arlene wasn't nearly as serious as Florida’s four major hurricanes last year, but there will still be some cleanup to do.
The mood was a lot more low-key at Florida’s Emergency Operations Center for Arlene than it was during last summer’s four hurricanes.
Employees from different state agencies monitored forecasts and reports from affected counties. One of their biggest concerns is of areas that still haven’t recovered from damage by Hurricane Ivan.
State Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate says 70 mile-an-hour winds can do a number on a home that still has a blue tarp for a roof.
"I’m not looking to add to the number of structures that are damaged. It’s the ones that had existing damage that hasn’t been repaired that are the most vulnerable in a tropical storm," added Fugate.
And with concerns about structural damage, there are also worries about more beach erosion. Some projects were just finishing up or getting underway from Ivan.
Millions of dollars have already been spent on beach reconstruction. Department of Community Affairs Secretary Thaddeus Cohen says they'll see if any re-dos are necessary.
"I think it’s going to be a combination of how far along in the process they are, whether any of those projects can be differed or possibly extended, once we check out the calculations on what new damage may have occurred," shared Thaddeus.
The state is sending damage assessment teams out at first light after Arlene clears out.
State officials are warning people to be particularly careful when using chainsaws to clear debris, don’t go out and drive around to look at damage, and make sure you use your generator outside in a well-ventilated area.
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