Thursday is another day of hectic but organized scrambling at the Florida Emergency Operation Center. Employees from every state agency are working to have as much assistance in place as possible to weather the approaching storm.
Transportation officials have barriers ready to go up should major highways need to become one-way streets to ease evacuations. They’ve even taken the extra step of telling crews to shut down all road construction.
"They’re basically tying everything down, putting the facilities back to their original condition and so we’re maximizing every opportunity we can to make sure that people have the ability to evacuate, either if they’re going northbound or southbound or westbound."
In school districts around the state, educators are already wrapping computers in plastic and securing playground equipment. Many have already sent students home to get ready to shelter residents from Frances’ wrath.
"They’re going through the preparation phase now and I think from my experience with Hurricane Charley, nobody’s taking any chances on the potential path."
Expressions are grim on the faces of even the most experienced state officials as they contemplate what Florida is facing, but they want residents to take comfort in the knowledge that the state will be ready.
“FEMA is in the house. The federal government is here. We are already preparing to launch resources once we know the area of impact. Help will be on the way.”
The key now is convincing residents to prepare while they still have time.