Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, announced on Sunday that the state has activated 2,500 members of the national guard and is preparing more than 2 million meals for its citizens as Tropical Storm Ian approaches the state.
Tropical Storm Ian: DeSantis prepares the national guard for a potential hurricane
During a press conference held inside the state Emergency Operations Center, DeSantis told reporters that according to the most recent forecast, Ian will make landfall in Taylor County in northern Florida by mid-week. The governor warned residents to start prepared for a significant weather event that may leave many Floridians without power for days, even if the storm’s intensity or course may change.
DeSantis stated, “It’s too soon to say that there won’t be a wobble, or that there won’t be any form of curving back into the Florida peninsula.
Before moving on to Florida over the Gulf of Mexico, where warm seas might intensify the storm into a major hurricane, Ian is forecast to strike the western edge of Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. According to preliminary estimates, Ian will make landfall in Florida as a Category 1 hurricane with gusts of up to 95 mph.
Prior to Ian, DeSantis proclaimed a state of emergency. President Joe Biden declared an emergency for Florida on Saturday, enabling the Federal Emergency Management Agency to start organizing its preparations before the storm.
DeSantis frequently attacks Biden and his team on matters related to immigration, education, and COVID-19 regulations, but on Sunday the Florida governor expressed gratitude to the White House for their support. DeSantis stated that since Friday, he has spoken with FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell.
They are standing by and willing to assist, so DeSantis replied, “We appreciate that swift response.”
On Tuesday, Biden was slated to go to Florida to support Democrat Charlie Crist, who is running against Republican Ron DeSantis for governor, during a campaign event in Orlando. Due to the approaching storm, the White House decided to postpone the trip.
Storm surges, which happen as the storm approaches the coast, pose the most hazard, according to DeSantis. As emergency personnel attempt to repair lines of service during and after the storm, residents should also prepare for power disruptions and gasoline shortages.
DeSantis added, “That’s something that may happen with a hurricane of this scale.”
During DeSantis’ first term as governor, Ian might be Florida’s first significant hurricane. In August 2019, Hurricane Dorian threatened to make landfall in the state as a Category 4 hurricane, but it turned out to be considerably weaker and only affected the western Panhandle.
According to early estimates, Ian may weaken before the storm reaches the shore, according to DeSantis. But there will still be a lot of rain, which could lead to floods, which might be fatal.
Following Hurricane Irma in 2017, areas in the wider Jacksonville area were submerged by coastal rivers, giving hundreds of inhabitants less than an hour to flee.
DeSantis stated that even if the storm is no longer a strong hurricane when it reaches landfall, it would still have a tremendous impact. “You’re talking about a lot of rain, a surge, and floods,” the speaker said.
Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management Kevin Guthrie joined DeSantis at the news conference, stating that the state has already sent 360 trailers containing 2 million meals and 1 million gallons of water to locations along the Gulf Coast. In order to allow more trucks to bring in more goods from outside the state, the state also lifted weight limitations on the roads.
Guthrie advised gathering supplies right away and rigorously according to evacuation instructions and preparations. Guthrie wants to draw attention to Hurricane Irma, which forced more than 6 million people to evacuate their homes, in order to caution against needless mass evacuations. Of those evacuees, he said that around 2 million did not require an evacuation.
Guthrie stated, “I encourage all Floridians to take the time to know their zone and know their house, in addition to continuing these preparation measures.”
Guthrie said that 122 requests for assistance from counties with storm preparation had been received by DEM. The materials they asked for are now traveling, he added.
As the storm approaches Florida, DeSantis predicted that Ian’s predicted landfall location would be shifted west, putting it in the path of the Panhandle’s counties with the lowest income levels in the state. In 2018, Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 hurricane, made landfall east of Panama City Beach and devastated the same region, causing more than $18 billion in damages and 50 fatalities. It is anticipated that Ian won’t harm as much as Michael did.
According to DeSantis, “it would probably be more of a water, flood, and storm-surge event than the sort of buzzsaw that we saw with Michael four years ago, when any building that was not particularly solid was essentially getting obliterated.”
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