Tropical Storm Michael: Florida Candidates Adjust Campaign To Respond
Senate and Governor candidates in Florida made changes to their campaign schedule ahead of the November midterm elections to respond to threats posed by tropical storm Michael. In this image: Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks to the media during a visit to a Florida Department of Transportation district office, Fort Lauderdale, Aug. 22, 2018. Getty Images/Joe Raedle

The Governor of Florida suspended his campaign for the U.S. Senate for the next few days to oversee the preparation and response to tropical storm Michael, according to a campaign spokesperson Sunday.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, who is also the Republican nominee for Senate, declared a state of emergency in Florida Panhandle and Big Bend on Sunday.

Other Florida candidates who are running for governor and U.S. Senate in the upcoming November midterm elections adjusted their campaign schedules due to the threat posed by the storm, reports said.

The Democratic nominee to the Senate, Sen. Bill Nelson will meet with emergency management officials Monday "to make sure local officials have everything they need," according to a report on KXLY. On Twitter, he urged Floridians to be prepared as “storms can escalate."

"Residents on the Gulf Coast should keep an eye on this storm and heed any warnings from local officials,” he said.

Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee running for Governor, said Sunday he will leave the campaign trail to address storm preparations.

“As Tropical Storm Michael approaches, I will be returning to Tallahassee to focus on preparing the City and residents for what may come. Everyone please stay safe, stay informed, and be prepared for these changing weather conditions,” he said on Twitter.

Forecasts said Tallahassee, where Gillum is currently the mayor, will be directly hit by the storm. Gillum is going up against Ron DeSantis. At the time of writing this report, DeSantis has not made any comment regarding the tropical storm.

In a news release, Scott said he has directed the Florida National Guard to activate 500 guardsmen to assist with planning and logistics, and to prepare for responding to impacted areas. He added 5,000 additional troops are on standby to be deployed as needed.

“Our state understands how serious tropical weather is and how devastating any hurricane or tropical storm can be. As we continue to monitor this storm’s path toward Florida, it is critically important that our communities have every available resource to keep everyone safe,” he said in a tweet.

Other departments including Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE), Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), and Florida Department of Health will also be available to monitor, and respond, the release added.

According to an update from the National Hurricane Center, issued at 10.00 p.m. CDT (11.00 p.m. EDT) Sunday, a hurricane watch was recommended for areas along the northeastern and central U.S. Gulf coast Monday. The storm has a maximum sustained wind speed of 60 miles per hour and was moving north at 5 miles per hour.

According to the Saffir–Simpson scale, a storm must have wind speed above 74 miles per hour in order to be classified as a Category 1 hurricane. The gradual strengthening of winds was expected, according to the update. The agency added it expects the storm to turn into a hurricane by Monday night or Tuesday. The Florida Keys is expected to receive 2 to 4 inches of rain from the outer bands of Michael through Tuesday, the report added.