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Jimmy Patronis urges Panhandle residents to ready for Tropical Storm Zeta

The storm is expected to strengthen into a hurricane late Monday.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis urged Panhandle residents on Monday to brace again for another tropical storm. 

The warning comes as Tropical Storm Zeta threatens to strengthen into a hurricane and graze Florida’s Panhandle on Wednesday.

Patronis, who also serves as Florida’s State Fire Marshal, warned Floridians to ready themselves and leave nothing to chance.

“As we’ve seen in the past, storms can change course and strengthen quickly, leaving little to no time to prepare so now is the time to ensure your disaster plan is in place,” he said in a statement.

As of Monday morning, the storm is roughly 140 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and chugging toward the Gulf Coast at 10 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

NHC officials warned the storm may present “dangerous storm surge, wind, and rainfall impacts from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.” 

The latest update reported a maximum sustained wind speed of 70 mph, extending outward up to 115 miles.

Graphic via National Hurricane Center.

Ahead of landfall, Patronis shared several tips to help ready residents for the aftermath and recovery process. Among them, he encouraged residents to inventory household items with a smartphone, collect any important financial documents, and to report damages as soon as possible.

“Panhandle residents must monitor the latest weather reports and visit PrepareFL.com now for important disaster preparedness resources to ensure you can recover quickly,” Patrnois added. “Don’t wait until landfall is imminent, it may be too late.”

Zeta is the 27th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season and the latest in a string of storms to impact the region –  Hurricane Laura in August, Hurricane Sally in September and Hurricane Delta earlier this month.

Notably, the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is the most active season in recent history. 

In October, the National Hurricane Center exhausted its list of storm names and transitioned to using the Greek alphabet. 

Written By

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.

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