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Tropical Storm Emily prompts state of emergency in 31 Florida counties


@ByKristenMClark and @stevebousquet

With Tropical Storm Emily bearing down on Florida's west-central coast, Gov. Rick Scott issued a state of emergency in 31 counties late Monday morning.

The affected counties include those in the Tampa Bay area, such as Hillsborough and Pinellas counties which are among those under a tropical storm warning. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are also covered by the emergency declaration, although they aren't forecast to be in the direct path of the storm. Read the declaration here.

"This state of emergency gives the state the flexibility to work with local governments to ensure they have the resources they may need," Scott wrote in one of a series of tweets just after 11 a.m. "[The Florida National Guard] stands ready to assist with any storm related impacts."

MORE on The latest on Tropical Storm Emily

Scott's office said at 8 a.m. the governor was en route to Tallahassee to monitor the storm from the State Emergency Operations Center.

Scott's chief spokesman John Tupps initially told the Herald/Times Scott was out of the state and Tupps declined to specify his whereabouts. Tupps later said Scott and his wife, Ann, were on vacation in Maine.

"When he found out about the storm very early this morning, he was immediately engaged and he immediately decided to head back to the state," Tupps said.

Scott was scheduled to speak by phone at 11:15 a.m. with Bryan Koon, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Photo credit: AP