Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday declared a state of emergency in 29 Florida counties as Tropical Storm Nate seems headed for the state. Scott issued Executive Order 17-262 declaring a state of emergency in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy, Baker, Union, Bradford, and Alachua counties.
Tropical Depression 16 is expected to intensify into a tropical storm within 24 hours while traveling north into the Gulf of Mexico. A forecast cone from the National Hurricane Center projected the storm will make landfall as a hurricane this weekend somewhere between New Orleans and Tampa Bay, with the Florida Panhandle as the center point.
With the arrival of what is potentially one of the most devastating storms to ever hit Florida, officials have set aside 3.2 million liters (0.85 million gallons) of water, filled 67 trailers with meals, and amassed 24,000 tarps. They also have asked the federal government to kick in 11 million meals and millions more liters (gallons) of water, plus nearly 700 cases of baby supplies.
As massive Hurricane Irma battered Florida on a path up the Gulf Coast, Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday advised residents against rushing out once the storm appears to have passed.
Announcing itself with roaring 130 mph winds, Hurricane Irma plowed into the mostly emptied-out Florida Keys early Sunday for the start of what could be a slow, ruinous march up the state’s west coast toward the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area.
A large stretch of Florida’s Gulf Coast is open for recreational scalloping. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission opened an area from St. Vincent Island in Franklin County to the Pasco and Hernando County line to recreational scalloping over the weekend. A recreational salt water fishing license is required to gather bay scallops, and the limit is one pint of scallop meat per person or a half-gallon of scallop meat per boat. Scallopers can gather the mollusks by hand…
The number of snook along Florida’s Gulf Coast finally is where it was before a devastating freeze in January 2010 decimated the population, forcing the state to impose an unprecedented ban that hit hard the charter fishing and tourism industry from Tampa Bay south. Snook, widely considered Florida’s most popular nearshore game fish that drew sport fishermen from all over the world, are back in robust numbers along the state’s Gulf Coast, where the population took a big hit six…