With just a couple days to go before the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins, Florida Gov. Rick Scott joined officials from Miami-Dade to remind residents to plan and prepare for storms and warned that federal sequestration could play a factor in an emergency response.
Scott, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and other elected officials discussed being prepared during a news conference Thursday at the county's Emergency Operations Center in Doral.
"Last year was predicted to be a slow season but with three weather events impacting Florida as well as the landfall of Hurricane Sandy, we all see first hand how one storm can forever alter a community," Scott said. "Preparing for the upcoming hurricane season should be a priority for every Florida family."
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Scott urged residents to gather their supplies and prepare themselves and their families to be ready for the first 72 hours after a storm.
"Florida's first responders and emergency officials are the best trained in the world," Scott said. "But it's no substitute for Floridians being prepared on their own, so with storm season beginning on Saturday, now is the time for every family to get ready."
Hurricane Season begins Saturday and forecasters are already predicting an above normal and possibly extremely active year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 13 to 20 named storms for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through the end of November.
Scott said sequestration could play a major factor in this year's hurricane season and threatens to strain the state's readiness capabilities.
"One thing that's very disappointing is nearly 1,000 Florida national guardsmen and civilian technicians will be furloughed beginning in June, next month, and lasting to September," Scott said. "So right during hurricane season, we're gonna have some of our national guardsmen that are gonna be furloughed off and on during the summer. So it's going to impact the readiness and if something happens, it will impact their ability to respond."
Scott said he's voiced his concerns with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate.
Gimenez urged residents to develop their plan now.
"All of us hope that this will prove to be a quiet storm season but just hoping that things go well isn't really a plan," Gimenez said. "The time to be prepared is right now."
For additional information visit www.floridadisaster.org.