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As storm nears, Scott declares emergency in 18 counties

Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive director Thursday declaring a state of emergency in 18 North Florida counties, from Madison on the east to Escambia on the west, in anticipation of Tropical Storm Karen. The other counties are Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Gulf, Calhoun, Jackson, Franklin, Liberty, Gadsden, Wakulla, Leon, Jefferson and Taylor. Karen is churning in the Gulf of Mexico and could strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall. Current tracks have the storm making landfall from Panama City, Fla., to Grand Isle, La.

-- Steve Bousquet