Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Saturday that President Donald Trump has approved his request for a pre-landfall emergency declaration for the counties in Hurricane Isaias’s path.
“We just got word this morning that that has been approved and will contain reimbursement for direct federal assistance as well as all the mass care,” DeSantis said. “So, the feeding and sheltering will be eligible for federal reimbursement through FEMA which we very much appreciate.”
In his letter to Trump, DeSantis cited Florida’s recent hurricane activity and the COVID-19 pandemic as reason, in part, for his request.
“The response to Hurricane Isaias comes after five consecutive hurricane season in which the State has been impacted by multiple million, and in some cases, multiple billion-dollar storms, all the while in the midsts of the largest disaster event managed by FEMA and the State of Florida, the COVID-19 Pandemic/Public Health Emergency,” DeSantis wrote.
The federal help comes as Hurricane Isaias continues its path toward Florida’s east coast, where it is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane as early as Saturday night.
DeSantis on Friday declared a state of emergency for every coastal county on Florida’s east coast from Miami-Dade to Nassau County. Overnight, a dozen more counties declared local state of emergencies.
Those counties include Palm Beach, Monroe, Volusia, Osceola, Seminole, Brevard, Indian River, Martin, Orange, Okeechobee, Glades and Flagler.
In response to potential COVID-19 challenges, DeSantis said the Department of Emergency Management has sent 25 shelters kits with personal protective equipment to counties inside of the storm’s path. Each kit, he said, contains enough PPE for 400 people for 96 hours.
“We can send more if necessary,” he added.
As of 8 a.m., the National Hurricane Center reported Hurricane Isaias to be approximately 20 miles east of the Andros Islands and traveling toward Florida at a speed of 12 mph.
Forecaster said the storm will produce heavy rains, storm surge and maximum sustained winds of 85 mph that extend 35 miles from the storm’s center.
“Hurricane conditions are expected along portions of the Florida east coast late Saturday and Saturday night, and a Hurricane Warning is in effect,” the NHC advised. “Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
The Governor encouraged residents to listen to local authorities and reiterated that the state is “fully prepared” for Hurricane Isaias and the 2020 hurricane season.
Here is the text of the Emergency Declaration Request: