More Florida counties in storm emergency zone

MIAMI (AP) - Florida’s governor has added nine more counties to a state of emergency declaration as Tropical Storm Hermine approaches the Gulf Coast.

Gov. Rick Scott said in a news release Wednesday that Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Manatee, Osceola and Sarasota counties are now covered by his emergency order. That brings the total to 51 counties.

Hermine developed into a tropical storm earlier Wednesday with sustained winds of 45 mph. The National Hurricane Center predicts the storm will come ashore as early as Thursday night along Florida’s upper Gulf Coast, possibly as a hurricane.

Scott says the emergency declaration eases access to disaster resources and funding, streamlines decision-making and allows the state to seek federal assistance.

(Copyright (c) 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)