(The Center Square) – All of Florida is now under a state of emergency as a major tropical storm in the Caribbean is expected to be hurricane strength when it hits the Sunshine State.
Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded the state of emergency statewide Sunday and announced additional measures the state is taking ahead of Tropical Storm Ian, which now expected to become a major hurricane before it reaches Florida.
On Saturday, he issued an executive order expanding the state of emergency statewide. On Sunday he said the storm was approximately 660 miles off the coast of Key West. While the path of the hurricane is still uncertain, he said, the impacts will be broad statewide.
While the National Hurricane Center is projecting the hurricane to enter Florida in Taylor County, he said that “is really an estimate of a variety of different models. There are some models … [suggesting it will land] deeper into the Florida Panhandle. There are also some that want to bring it to the Tampa Bay region. From the Tampa region all the way up to the Gulf Coast you could potentially see the hurricane make landfall as of right now.”
He said residents should “expect strong winds, heavy rains, flash flooding, storm surge and even isolated tornadoes.” and warned residents to be prepared.
“Anticipate power outages and fuel disruptions,” he said, that “will likely happen with a hurricane of this magnitude.”
Evacuations could be ordered, he added.
“For those who are new to the state,” he added, “I know we have a lot of new people who’ve moved here, make your preparations.”
On Saturday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved DeSantis’ request for an emergency declaration for Florida, which includes Category B Public Assistance.
Roughly 2,500 National Guardsmen and women have been activated as of Sunday and are already staffing areas along the coast.
The state’s Florida Division of Emergency Management is leading the State Emergency Response Team for storm Ian response. It’s working with utility companies to ensure that power will be restored as quickly as possible in anticipation that it will go out during the storm. It’s also working with telecommunication companies to ensure that emergency response teams can communicate in the event that power lines and other forms are communication may go down.
FDEM has already received 183 resource requests for Tropical Storm Ian, it says. Requests are currently being processed and are either en route or are being mobilized, which includes coordinating food and water, generators, and water pumps.
It’s also identifying potential Logistical Staging Areas to ensure food and water are readily available if requested by counties and is loading 360 trailers with over 2 million meals and over one million gallons of water as part of its preparation.
On Saturday, the state Department of Transportation waived weight and size requirements for any vehicles transporting fuel, emergency equipment, services, supplies, and agricultural commodities and citrus.