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Bill Day’s latest: A thunderstorm turns Rick Scott into Chicken Little

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Tropical Storm Erika may have been full of sound and fury, at least for a while.

In the end, though, it signified nothing.

After causing floods and mudslides throughout the Caribbean, Erika rapidly lost much of its steam on its way to Florida, but not before leaving Southwest Florida with little more than the threat of a handful of thunderstorms.

That did not prevent Rick Scott from going into disaster mode.

In Bill Day’s latest, the governor – in a passable imitation of Chicken Little — declared a state of emergency, under the conviction that the fifth named storm of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will be moving “up the spine of Florida” through next week.

Tampa and the Gulf Coast were of particular concern, especially after recent rain and floods battered the region in the previous month.

For storm watchers in the United States, Erika was unusually difficult to predict, mostly due to disruption of wind patterns and the storm’s behavior over land. Instead of strengthening as it reached the warm Caribbean waters, what was supposed to be a “severe threat to the entire state” turned into a nothing more than a disorganized mass of wet weather.

Not to say Erika was not dangerous — 20 people had died on the island of Dominica and other islands experienced strong winds and rain.

However, in Florida, forecasters now expect only 3 to 5 inches of rain to come this week; nowhere near the disaster anticipated only a few days earlier – and certainly not enough for Scott to activate the National Guard.

While it might be encouraging to some that Scott is ready for a disaster — real or imagined — it would be better if he gets this worked up over actual problems facing Floridians, like the political gridlock in Tallahassee.


Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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