Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said early evening Wednesday that while Hurricane Ian is still battering the Southwest part of the peninsula, the Category 4 storm is going to continue to lash through Florida hundreds of miles away before it escapes into the Atlantic.
“We do anticipate some major flooding events in Northeast Florida,” the governor said at a news conference a little before 6 p.m. in Tallahassee. DeSantis specifically referred to evacuation orders for residents living in low-lying areas in Clay, St. Johns, Flagler, Putnam and Nassau counties, including the cities of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach on the Atlantic side of Florida.
In addition, DeSantis said that calls to 911 call centers such as Hendry and Glades counties in south central Florida are being rerouted because the communication departments are down in those areas. He said those calls are being noted and local first responders will be deployed “as soon as it’s safe to do so.”
Kevin Guthrie, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said he could not give a specific number as to how many people are currently in distress.
“We know that there are folks who are in the really high risks Zone A evacuation zones who did not evacuate,” said DeSantis. “Some have called in and those people are being logged, and there will be a response, but it’s likely going to take a little time for this storm to move forward until it’s safe for the first responders to be able to do so.”
More than 1.1 million people are also without power, the governor said.
DeSantis also said that he has sent a letter to President Joe Biden to request that his administration declare a Major Disaster Declaration for Florida, which would significantly expand the federal aid available to the state in order to support response and recovery.
by Mitch Perry, Florida Phoenix
September 28, 2022
Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.