Published: May 24, 2011 9:56 PM EDT
Updated: May 24, 2011 5:11 PM EDT

Emergency managers across southwest Florida and the rest of the state are practicing this week for what could occur during hurricane season:   a land-falling major storm.

 You expect high winds with hurricanes, but floods can do just as much damage, if not more.
That's why these water managers in fort myers are dealing with mock hurricane  "freddy."
     Ricardo Valera says it's vital to work out communication bugs, before a disaster occurs. 
   They're practicing the water district's new "web-based emerency operations center."    they send and receive information on-line, ending the reliance on cell phones and pen and paper.    Valera says:    the reliability of wi-fi and online connections,  trumps that of cell phones.    Those can be worthless, if winds knock down towers.  Water managers are dealing with a storm that followed the path of hurricane frances in 2004.    It flooded parts of the east coast of our state.   the water management district would give advice on when and where to open flood-gates on canals and other waterways.
    Sarah mcpherson of the district says:    they are nervous, but confident.   They appreciate the value of the training....and the chance to work out problems, before a real emergency.
  At the same time, the state is dealing with a mock hurricane, on the same path as "freddy".    The state moved its emergency operations center frkom tallahaseee  to camp Blanding, near Jacksonville.    A local emergency manager says:    they learned some lessons.

   Rick Zyvoloski of Gollier county told us:     the phone system was not up to snuff at Blanding.   now they know: if they have to move the state e=-o-c there,   they will have to upgrade the phone lines.
     
    All part of getting ready for the hurricane season that begins June 1.