The State of Florida Issues Tropical Storm Elsa Updates

7/7/2021

The State of Florida Issues Tropical Storm Elsa Updates

This morning, Governor DeSantis held a press conference regarding Tropical Storm Elsa at the State Emergency Operations Center with Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie. Full remarks from this morning's press conference are available here.

Elsa update 07/07/21

Tropical Storm Elsa made landfall around 11 a.m. this morning in Taylor County and is currently moving into southern Georgia. Lingering impacts such as tropical storm force gusts, heavy rainfall and isolated tornadoes will remain a threat through tonight. Flood Watches and Warnings remain in effect for much of the Florida Peninsula and local rivers across West Central and Northeast Florida are forecast to reach minor or moderate flood stage within the next few days. A list of active watches and warnings can be found on the National Hurricane Center's website here

State preparation and response efforts for Tropical Storm Elsa include: 

Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM)

  • FDEM is leading the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) for the Tropical Storm Elsa response.
  • The Division has received 92 resource requests for Tropical Storm Elsa. 57 of these requests have been fulfilled and 21 are either en route or are being mobilized. This includes the coordination of resources such as: 150 trucks of food and water, 24 generators and 24 water pumps.
  • FDEM has an additional 150 prime power units and 60 pumping equipment units in reserve to be deployed as needed.
  • There are currently 52 Florida National Guardsmen staged at the State Logistics Response Center in Orlando ensuring storm preparation and response resources are ready and available for impacted counties that request them.
  • FDEM has assembled Point of Distribution packages to ensure food and water are readily available if counties request it.
  • FDEM, in partnership with Feeding Florida, currently has more than 390,000 MREs and more than 370 pallets of water on-hand across 11 facilities statewide for distribution to impacted individuals after the storm.
  • FDEM has issued Emergency Order 21-006, which waives certain competitive procurement requirements to effectively facilitate mitigation, response and recovery actions necessary to respond to Tropical Storm Elsa.
  • The State Emergency Operations Center is activated at a Level 1 full activation to respond to Tropical Storm Elsa and assist impacted counties.
  • FDEM is currently holding twice-daily calls for all 67 county emergency management offices and state agencies to coordinate protective actions and needed resources ahead of potential storm impacts.
  • The SERT is providing meteorological updates on Tropical Storm Elsa to responding teams in Surfside and is executing contingency plans for the Tropical Storm Elsa co-response.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) 

  • FDLE is in communication with state law enforcement offices that may experience impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa, as well as the Florida Sheriffs Association and Police Chiefs Association to ensure there are no unmet needs.
  • FDLE is coordinating with local partners to ensure residents in Putnam County have access to sandbags ahead of impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa.

Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD)

  • APD offices have reached out to 932 Waiver Support Coordinators, 2,152 licensed facilities and 590 Supported Living providers that work directly with individuals with developmental disabilities in independent living facilities to ensure they have taken appropriate steps to protect APD customers’ health and safety due to Tropical Storm Elsa.
  • The state’s two APD-run facilities in Gainesville and Marianna cancelled all off-campus activities today. Residents remained on campus and in their homes to protect their health and safety.
  • APD hosted a statewide call with stakeholders and staff to provide updates on Tropical Storm Elsa, discuss protective actions and field any questions or concerns.
  • APD is featuring emergency management information and resources on APDCares.org for planning before, during and after a storm. The APD Recovery Toolkit to assist individuals impacted by disasters is available here.

Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) 

  • All inmates housed in FDC facilities experiencing Tropical Storm Elsa impacts are safe, secure and have ample food, water and supplies. All FDC institutions have back-up power generators in the event of loss of power.
  • Routine inmate transfers have been suspended due to Tropical Storm Elsa.
  • Offenders on community supervision have been given instructions from their probation officers regarding office closures. Probation offices are currently closed in Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Nassau, Madison, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor and Union counties.

Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) 

  • AHCA has activated reporting in the Emergency Status System (ESS) and is requesting all health care providers in Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Franklin, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Leon, Levy, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Pasco, Pinellas, Putnam, Sarasota, Sumter, Suwanee, Taylor, Union and Wakulla counties to report their census, available beds, evacuation status and generator status information. This information allows AHCA to assist health care providers in transferring patients if needed and ensure health care providers in impacted areas have the necessary resources and adequate power.
  • As of 5 p.m., 96.21% of long-term care facilities have reported in ESS and no facility has switched to generator power. All nursing homes and 95.02% of assisted living facilities have reported in ESS. 
  • As of 5 p.m., all long-term care facilities report having power and have no unmet needs. The Agency continues to monitor the impacts of Tropical Storm Elsa, including potential power outages and damage. 
  • The Agency has partnered with Florida's long-term care facility associations to support emergency operations and provide information related to the storm. This has resulted in over 500 direct contacts to long-term care facilities.
  • As of today, all operating long-term care facilities have a generator on-site. The Generator Status Map for long-term care facilities is available here.

Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF)

  • DCF deployed a solution for call center representatives to ensure those who need help with public benefits can reach Department staff even in areas affected by office closures. 

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) 

  • FWC has 30 staff members staged to respond as needed to areas impacted by Tropical Storm Elsa.
  • FWC has 15 shallow-draft vessels, 30 4x4 vehicles and five all-terrain vehicles ready and available for impacted counties that request them.
  • An FWC Special Operations Group is prepared to quickly respond in the event of a sustained recovery effort. This team consists of 14 specially-trained FWC officers and six shallow-draft vessels.

Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing)

  • Each State Housing Initiatives Partnership office has an adopted disaster strategy that allows for assistance in the immediate aftermath of a declared disaster. The disaster strategies include temporary relocation and rent assistance, debris removal and short-term repairs to prevent further damage to the structure or to allow for occupancy until further repairs are made. 

VISIT Florida

  • VISIT Florida is featuring travel safety information on VISITFlorida.com to provide weather alerts and official resources to assist visitors with making the most informed travel planning decisions possible. Current travel safety information regarding Tropical Storm Elsa is available here.

Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) 

  • OIR has issued a reminder notice to all health insurers, managed care organizations and other health entities reminding them of Florida law providing consumers access to early prescription refills in response to the Governor's Executive Order 21-152. The notice is available here.
  • OIR has activated its incident management team to review disaster response procedures in preparation for Tropical Storm Elsa.

Florida Department of Health (FDOH) 

  • FDOH is coordinating the transportation and filling of 51 oxygen cylinders for use at special needs shelters.
  • FDOH is managing 11 Special Needs Shelters serving 46 clients total in the following counties: Bradford, Gilchrist, Hernando, Hillsborough, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee. To receive assistance for special needs individuals during a disaster, register with the Special Needs Registry here.
  • FDOH has issued Emergency Order 21-003, which waives certain competitive procurement requirements to effectively facilitate mitigation, response and recovery actions necessary to respond to Tropical Storm Elsa.
  • FDOH has coordinated with the Florida Board of Pharmacy to provide guidance on emergency prescription refill allowances in counties under State of Emergency.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO)

  • DEO is coordinating with Visit Florida and monitoring cancelation rates to determine how the storm’s impact could potentially affect the tourism industry.
  • DEO is also coordinating with the Florida Retail Federation to assess store closures and any protective actions that need to be taken in preparation for Elsa.
  • DEO has been in communication with private sector partners to coordinate any inventory shortages or unusual retail patterns relating to Elsa.

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV)

  • FLHSMV issued Emergency Order 070621, which waives specific requirements for commercial motor vehicles providing emergency relief; and waives the replacement fees for driver license and identification credentials, vehicle registrations and titles, vessel registrations and titles and temporary parking permits for impacted individuals.
  • Motorists can call Florida Highway Patrol at *FHP (*347) for assistance on the road or to report dangerous road conditions.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

  • DEP has issued Emergency Final Order 21-654 to expedite necessary repair, replacement and restoration of structures, equipment, surface water management systems, works and other systems damaged by the storm.
  • DEP has activated WaterTracker, an online reporting tool that tracks drinking water and wastewater facility status and needs, as a result of storm impacts. WaterTracker is available here.
  • Post-storm beach assessments may begin as early as this afternoon.
  • DEP has closed more than 60 state parks in anticipation of impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa. Florida state park closures are available here.
  • DEP has pre-authorized 384 Disaster Debris Management Sites within 27 counties in preparation of Tropical Storm Elsa impacts.

Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)

  • DJJ facilities are ensuring the safety of staff and juveniles through protective actions against potential impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa, including: ensuring all vehicles have a full tank of gas in the event of evacuation, moving vehicles in low-lying and flood-prone areas to higher ground and performing generator tests in the event of loss of power.
  • DJJ has coordinated with its staff, providers and law enforcement partners to ensure Florida’s 16 juvenile assessment centers and 10 detention screening units remain fully operational during Tropical Storm Elsa. Preparations include confirming generators are fully functional in the event of loss of power.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)

  • In Northeast Florida, FDOT has more than 250 team members staged for deployment to immediately begin roadway inspections and damage assessments following Tropical Storm Elsa. These teams provide road and bridge safety inspections, rapid emergency repairs, emergency signal repairs and debris removal to support critical access for first responders and allows residents to return to their homes safely.
  • In preparation of Tropical Storm Elsa, FDOT facilities are refueling generators and performing generator tests in the event of loss of power.
  • Two fuel tanks in FDOT equipment yards have been filled.

Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA)

  • DOEA’s Senior Connection Center in Tampa remains closed for today, July 7; however, staff continue to remotely answer all Elder Helpline calls and assist with Long-Term Care Services in the area. The Senior Connection Center will reopen tomorrow, July 8. 
  • DOEA has the 2021 Disaster Resource Guide for Older Adults published on the ElderAffairs.org website for disaster preparedness. The publication contains state and county emergency phone numbers and is available in English and Spanish.

Florida Department of Education (DOE)

  • Find the most up-to-date information on college and university, school district and DOE office closures here.
  • Suwannee County School District will be closed tomorrow, July 8. Columbia, Madison, Sarasota and Union county school districts will be closed through Friday, July 9.
  • All Florida colleges have reopened for classes and business operations.  

Florida Department of Management Services (DMS)

  • DMS staff assisted with locating housing for the Florida National Guard and provided security services for the Logistical Staging Area in Lakeland.
  • Up-to-date information regarding office closures for DMS-managed buildings is available here.

Volunteer Florida

  • Volunteer Florida is coordinating daily with NGO partners and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster to prepare resources for potential response efforts to Elsa.

Previous state preparation and response efforts for Tropical Storm Elsa are available for:

Updated: Wednesday, July 7, 2021
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