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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Tropical Storm Erika degenerated to a trough of low pressure Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

But that doesn’t mean Floridians can breathe a sigh of relief just yet. It’s still hurricane season, and people are still advised to to prepare for any potential impact from the storm, such as heavy rain and flooding.

Three-to-five inches of rain are possible across southern and central Florida beginning Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center. There is also a chance of gusty winds over southern Florida.

“We will keep watching this weather system as it enters the Gulf of Mexico,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said in a press release. “We know that when any weather system enters the Gulf it can bring a lot of rain to Florida.”

Scott advised people visiting the beach to look for warning flags and ensure waters are safe before entering.

“The risk of rip currents along Florida coasts will increase as this weather system gets closer," he said.

The change in Erika comes a day after Scott declared a State of Emergency covering every county in preparation for the storm.

“Today is a great reminder that we need every family to prepare their own game plan during hurricane season,” Scott said. “Continue to watch the news and pay attention to updates from your local elected officials throughout the weekend.”

While the risk of a hurricane impacting Florida isn’t as likely for now, UF Emergency Manager Kenneth Allen said Erika serves as a good opportunity for Gainesville residents to ensure they’re prepared for any future hurricane.

“We always encourage everybody to have a plan, have a kit, and be informed,” Allen said.

Alachua County Emergency Management Assistant Director Jeff Bielling wrote in an email that people planning to stay at home in the event of a hurricane should have a three- to five-day supply of nonperishable food and water, a 30-day supply of needed medications, a battery powered radio, batteries, flashlights, pet supplies and a plan of action should they have to evacuate their residency.

Floridians are encouraged to visit http://flgetaplan.com/ to build an emergency plan for any storm.

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Contact Hunter Williamson at hwilliamson@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @hunterewilliam

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