SURFSIDE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking Saturday morning in Surfside as search efforts are ongoing, announced a state of emergency for several Florida counties ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa.
The order applies to the following counties: Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota.
This includes the Tampa Bay region.
"You're looking at a track that is going to go pass over, probably, the western portion of Cuba and end up in the Florida Straits and then start impacting Florida, with the eye of the storm right now looking to be on the west side of Florida," DeSantis said.
The declaration allows for the mobilization of emergency crews to better respond to danger, according to Florida law. In this case, Elsa is threatening to bring flooding rains, high rain and storm surge to portions of the state.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody also activated the state's price gouging hotline at 866-966-7226. It allows people to send in reports of extreme price increases on essential commodities, such as food, water, hotel rooms, gas and more.
There remains some uncertainty with the storm's exact track. Elsa is forecast to move across Cuba, which will cause it to weaken. However, some intensification is possible as it moves over the warm water of the Florida Straits and the Gulf of Mexico.
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