In Cocoa, a city 50 miles east of Orlando, emergency crews were forced into action in earnest Saturday night. As CBS News' Lee Cowan reports for Sunday Morning, when it takes a SWAT Van to make a food run — you know things are bad. But for the Cocoa Police Department, there was no choice.
"We might be stuck here for 4 days — we don't have food," said one police officer.
Back at headquarters, the home front is also the front line, and there are mouths to feed.
"Once the winds get to a certain speed, we have to hunker down here at the police department," said Bobby Jones of the Cocoa Police Department.
And so officers' wives and children were sticking close, sleeping on the department's floor or on uncomfortable couches. Meanwhile, their loved ones, like Doug Monda, were out battling the storm.
"Our biggest problem we're dealing with right now is exhaustion. A lot of guys are getting tired and frustrated" Monda said.
Family members like Tammy Baker know this atmosphere a little too well.
"It's been a little tense, nobody's getting much sleep, we're all tired, and we're ready for this thing to blow itself out, or hit us hard or do whatever it's going to do," she said.
Cocoa is 12 square miles of Florida's east coast, just a tiny footstep in Frances' path. But this Category 1 storm hit like a wet towel being snapped on bare skin over and over again. Were it not so dangerously painful, it would quite frankly, be monotonous, reports Cowan.
Detective Kenneth Matthews has been preparing for Frances for almost a week. He and everyone else here thought it would be over by now — and everything that comes with it, like looting.
He surveyed a shattered store door upon arriving at a small business. The owners' flee from Frances left them victim to robbery.
"I guess they found the cash register had been tampered with, broken into," says Matthews.
The brazen theft came just hours before the grocery run made earlier by Cocoa police. That was a run that suddenly turned ugly.
"The wind's so bad, we can't keep the van on the road," said one emergency worker.
Frances' increasing winds nearly blew the van off the road — supplies and all. Waiting for the calm between the squalls, the crew found an opening and made it back — just in time for a midnight dinner and just in time for the news. But, they learned another tropical storm may be headed their way. This brings thoughts of round two before round one is even finished.