Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Friday for counties potentially in the path of Tropical Depression Fred.
The 23 counties under the state of emergency are as follow:
Bay, Calhoun, Citrus, Dixie, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Manatee, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington counties.
The declaration comes as Tropical Depression Fred crawls toward South Florida and Florida’s Gulf Coast.
As of 5 p.m., the storm was tracked roughly 210 miles southeast of Key West and produced maximum sustained winds near 35 mph.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warns tropical storm conditions may impact the Florida Keys as early as Saturday.
Meanwhile, models released Friday project most of Florida’s Gulf Coast will experience heavy rains and possible flooding.
“Tropical storm conditions are possible late Saturday and early Sunday across portions of the west coast of Florida in the Tropical Storm Watch area,” NOAA said in the latest advisory. “The risk of tropical storm conditions will spread northward along the Florida west coast and to the Florida Panhandle Sunday and Monday.”
Late Friday, Attorney General Ashley Moody activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline.
In a statement, Moody noted that price gouging law applies only within the area of a declared state of emergency.
“With Tropical Depression Fred approaching our shores, I’m urging all Floridians to be prepared,” Moody said. “I’ve activated the state’s price gouging hotline to accept reports of extreme price increases of essential goods in areas covered by the declared state of emergency.”
Fred threatens Florida as the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Earlier this month, NOAA updated the 2021 Atlantic hurricane seasonal forecast to reflect more storms.
The agency now forecasts a 70% probability of 15 to 21 named storms. They expect seven to 10 hurricanes — three to 10 of which could develop into major hurricanes.