State Officials Are Ramping Up Preparations for Wilma

National Guard troops are on alert and relief supplies are being staged around the state. Some uncertainty remains over where the storm will hit and how strong it will be.

Gov. Jeb Bush cancelled regular appointments to spend the bulk of the day Thursday at the state Emergency Operations Center planning for Wilma.

“You know, our motto is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best and expect the unexpected. With hurricanes you can’t follow the skinny black line, you have to prepare and that’s what we are doing.”

At Florida State University, hurricane forecasters were continually adjusting the Super Ensemble forecast track for Wilma. The Super Ensemble assigned weights to a half dozen different tracks.

Dr. Krish Namurtz of Florida State is one of the University’s hurricane experts.

“It’s going to approach almost a cat five storm again in 24 hours and thereafter it’s going to start weakening,” he says.

With Wilma slowing down, a forecast advisory said it was still too early to narrow the threat smaller than central Florida to the keys, but attention continues to focus on the Naples area.

Governor Bush said the broad impact area has not deterred deployment of ice and other relief supplies.

“We are battle tested, well resourced, well trained.”

2,400 National Guardsmen are on alert, but they have not been activated yet. As the storm slowed, so did plans to put them into action.

A higher than usual supply of gas has been stockpiled in the state. Nearly 200 million gallons are on hand, which should avert any serious outages.