Alberto certainly caught people off guard. Veterans who've been through hurricanes, which accounts for a good portion of the state these days because we've had eight hurricanes in the last two years, know to be ready. But Alberto is a little bit of a surprise. Why? Weathercasters have suggested since the weekend that this ill-formed storm would likely be nothing more than a rainmaker. Now, with hurricane warnings issued along Florida's Northwest coast, residents are flat-footed. There's very little time to put up shutters or plywood to protect homes. I live in Florida, and like so many in this state I took advantage of what they call tax-free hurricane days. It's where we buy hurricane supplies before hurricane season. And to encourage us to go get those items, they're all tax free -- things like batteries, flashlights and small generators. But even with that, it's one thing to be physically prepared, it's another thing to climb back on this emotional roller coaster.
I'm currently on Interstate 75 traveling north from Charlotte Co., where Hurricane Charley hit two years ago, en route to Cedar Key, Fla. If projections are accurate, this tiny community which juts out on the West Coast could take a lashing whether Alberto is a hurricane or just a tropical storm. Cedar Keys has long been a small artists' community, but in recent years has experienced tremendous growth. Driving is slow going because the rain is coming down sideways and it's hard to see. There's plenty of traffic on the road and you're never quite sure whether the other guy knows how to drive in this sort of weather. If everything works out, we'll see you from Cedar Keys tonight on Nightly News.