TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The governor of Florida and other disaster management experts have said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is already helping the state get ready for the potential consequences of Hurricane Ian.
“We have declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties given the uncertainty of the path of the storm,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Florida, in a news conference on Sunday.
Kevin Guthrie, the head of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and a regional FEMA official joined DeSantis at a press conference.
“We could see a situation where we have a Category 4 storm surge and potentially a Category 1 or 2 hurricane at landfall,” Guthrie said.
Gurthrie has said that his office is now conducting calls twice a day for all 67 of the state departments and county emergency management authorities in order to be ready.
According to him, as of the afternoon on Sunday, the Florida Disaster Emergency Management Agency (FDEM) had already received 122 requests for supplies from county authorities. These requests included demands for food, water, generators, pumps, and emergency personnel.
“We are loading, and by the end of the day, we will have loaded 360 trailers with more than two million meals and more than one million gallons of water to be ready to be sent to impacted areas,” he said.
He said that FEMA has troops ready to conduct urban search and rescue operations. Additionally, the organization has relocated medical transport units to the greater Orlando region.
DeSantis said that the state has lifted the weight limits on commercial vehicles so that as many supplies as possible can be brought in before the storm. However, he warned that the storm could cause large areas to lose power.
“Florida Department of Emergency Management is working with all of the fuel and the utility partners throughout the state of Florida,” he said. “Once this storm hits, there’s going to be a need for a strong effort to get the power back on for as many people as quickly as possible.”
The governor also warned that a large part of the state could still be hit by the storm, even though some storm prediction models are changing where the storm is expected to go to the west.
“Even if you’re not necessarily right in the eye of the path of the storm, there’s going to be pretty broad impacts throughout the state,” he said. “You’re going to have wind, you’re going to have water, and there could be flooding on the east coast of Florida as a result of this. It’s a big storm.”