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Gov. DeSantis declares pre-landfall emergency for Tampa Bay counties ahead of Tropical Storm Laura

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

TAMPA (WFLA) – Governor DeSantis has declared a pre-landfall emergency for counties in the path of Tropical Storm Laura.

The counties under the governor’s deceleration include Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota.

However, the updated forecast track from the National Hurricane Centers shows a shift west.

“This whole track has shifted farther south and farther west, putting most of the State of Florida out of the cone of error,” Max Defender 8 Chief Meteorologist Steve Jerve said.

On the current forecast track from the NHC, Laura is expected to move near or over parts of the Leeward Islands on Friday. It’s then forecast to move near or over Puerto Rico on Saturday morning before moving near the northern coast of Hispaniola later Saturday or into early Sunday.

“Moving over Puerto Rico and eventually portions of Cuba may help to weaken the system,” Jerve said. “And there is a possibility this system may not even survive.”

The system could bring some storm surge, rainfall and wind impacts to parts of Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida this weekend early next week and then the northeast U.S. Gulf Coast by the middle of next week.

However, the NHC says the details of the long-range track and intensity forecasts are “more uncertain than usual” because the system could move over parts of the Greater Antilles this weekend.

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