Gov. Ron DeSantis said today Hurricane Isaias is expected to skirt Florida’s eastern coast with high winds and storm surge of two to four feet.
At a briefing in the state’s Emergency Operations Center, the governor said the state is well-prepared for the storm. He said President Donald Trump approved his request for a federal disaster declaration, so the federal government will reimburse the state for costs of the storm, and a dozen counties have issued their own emergency declarations for citizens to be ready if evacuation becomes necessary.
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The coronavirus pandemic will make special precautions necessary if coastal residents have to be ordered out of their homes, and DeSantis said local officials are considering all options.
The Division of Emergency Management is sending 25 “shelter kits” with personal protective equipment (PPE) to counties, DeSantis said, each kit containing four days’ worth of equipment for 400 people. The Agency for Health Care Administration has contacted hospitals, but no evacuation of patients is currently expected.
Planners have also amassed 1.8 million meals, sought staging areas for power-restoration crews and positioned pumps for any flooding, DeSantis said.
“Isaias is currently located in the central Bahamas and is traveling northwest at 12 mph,” he said. “Latest projections have Isaias coming very close to the east coast of Florida as a Category 1 hurricane.”
He emphasized that, while the eye of the storm is expected to stay offshore and move northward, outer winds and tides will be felt in the state’s coastal counties.
“This stuff is all very much in flux and even if the eye of the storm stays off the coast, there of course is going to be impact when you’re talking about hurricane or tropical-storm force winds,” the governor said.
He said counties with local emergency declarations are Palm Beach, Monroe, Volusia, Osceola, Seminole, Brevard, Indian River, Martin, Orange, Okeechobee, Glades and Flagler. Weather warnings have been posted from Boca Raton to the Volusia-Flagler County line.
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DeSantis said residents of the warning zone should stockpile a week’s worth of food, medicine and water. They should also heed weather warnings through the weekend, he said, and check the latest storm data at www.floridadisaster.org.