Tropical Storm Erika: Death Toll Rises To 12 As Florida Declares State Of Emergency For Possible Hurricane

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Florida is bracing for a storm that has been rather unpredictable. Tropical Storm Erika has completely shifted routes in the last 24 hours, and as of Friday afternoon, it was set to stay out of the hurricane categories. As the death toll in Dominica has risen to 12, and Florida is bracing and preparing after Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for all counties.

As reported by ABC News, the next 24 hours are going to be critical in trying to determine what Tropical Storm Erika will do. On Thursday, the eye of the storm was predicted to stay off the eastern coast of Florida, but that has drastically changed.

By Friday morning, the path had shifted, bringing the eye inside the western coast of Florida. Also, it was predicted that Tropical Storm Erika would now not reach hurricane status.

Hurricane Center meteorologist James Franklin states that there is still a lot of uncertainty, and the “trend is for a gradual lessening.” Hurrican Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen believes that anything could still happen.

“It’s way too early to tell how much rainfall we’ll see in Florida.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott heard experts predict that the trajectory of Tropical Storm Erika was set to strike the southern top of the state and traverse northward. He sees it as a “severe threat to the entire state” and wants no-one to take it lightly.

Weather.com also reported that at least 12 people have been killed on the small island of Dominica as of Friday morning. Police have said that a number of roads and bridges are impassable, and they are working to get emergency crews to more of the island’s isolated areas via ocean travel.

A number of counties in Florida are taking precautions and not taking any chances. They have already opened a number of sandbag stations for residents that are concerned with flooding and the severe amount of rain that may come from Tropical Storm Erika.

Gov. Rick Scott said that Florida has been fortunate in recent years, but still urges everyone to watch the news and pay close attention to what Tropical Storm Erika may do. It’s possible that it may not turn into Hurricane Erika, but folks need to be prepared just in case.

[Image via WUnderground]