Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 29 counties in north Florida and the Panhandle as Tropical Storm Nate approaches the Gulf coast.
The governor said in a news release Thursday that the order helps ensure that federal, state and local governments can work together easily and make sure storm-related resources are provided without delay to local communities.
The National Hurricane Center says strengthening is likely as the storm moves over the northwestern Caribbean Sea Thursday night and Friday. Parts of Florida are in the possible impact zone, although the most recent forecast has the storm center headed for Louisiana.
The affected counties are Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy, Baker, Union, Bradford and Alachua.