The state of Florida is preparing for the onset of Hurricane Sandy, initiating a daily teleconference and issuing warnings to local jurisdictions, Bryan Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, told Homeland Security Today.
“We’re keeping a close eye on it,” said Koon. “We’re pleased that it’s remaining offshore. We’re not anticipating a major event although it is a strong storm and we’re expecting waves and gusty winds on the north to central eastern beaches.
“We’re urging people to be careful. We do have some concerns about coastal erosion. We want to focus our attention on life safety. We want people along the beach to take extreme caution.” The busiest people will be lifeguards on the beaches, he said.
The division has initiated daily conference calls with its partners including the National Guard, although an alert has not been issued. Additionally, local and national partners are taking precautions and some schools will be closing early.
“It’s late in October, so this is a great reminder that even late in the hurricane season you can have big, strong, storms,” Koon said. “It may not spare the Middle Atlantic and New England. There are still leaves on the trees up there and that could bring down limbs if there are strong winds. If it goes into the mid-Atlantic or New England it could cause widespread power outages.”
As of 8:00 AM on Thursday, Oct. 25, Hurricane Sandy was a Category 2 storm (wind speeds at 105 miles per hour) located between the northeastern coast of Cuba and the central Bahamas, and was moving northwestward at 18 miles per hour. It had already passed over Cuba and was expected to affect Florida on Friday when it made a turn toward the northwest. Projections had it off the coast of the Mid-Atlantic and New England by Monday.