Hurricane

Gov. Ron DeSantis expands state of emergency to include all 67 counties

Gov. Ron DeSantis extended the state of emergency Thursday to include all 67 counties ahead of Hurricane Dorian’s expected landfall. The storm is churning north and is currently projected to make landfall on Labor Day in Florida as a Category 4 storm.

The governor announced a state of emergency in 26 counties on Wednesday, which he said would likely expand in lieu of recent forecasts. The order allows him to deploy the National Guard, but “with a track like this, it’s uncertain where to deploy them,” DeSantis said.

“You can make the case for places like Miami and the Keys to get impacted. You could make the case for it to be northern Florida,” he added.

In a gubernatorial rite of passage, DeSantis made his first visit to the National Hurricane Center in Miami earlier in the day, where he was briefed by forecasters.

At a press conference shortly after the briefing, the governor announced that he is requesting a pre-landfall disaster declaration from the federal government and is mobilizing the National Guard.

Wednesday saw the storm clear Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. On Thursday, Dorian was in the warm Atlantic waters steadily moving northwest at 13 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

DeSantis told reporters that Florida will be getting plenty of support in the form of federal aid, despite President Donald Trump’s decision to transfer $155 million of FEMA funds to the southwest border as Hurricane Dorian approaches.

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DeSantis spoke with the president Wednesday night about the impending storm.

“He assured me that the federal government would be with us every step of the way,” DeSantis said. “They’ll be supporting us in any way that they can.”

The governor said the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee would be fully activated Friday, including staff and administration from FEMA’s southeast region.

DeSantis was scheduled to visit emergency operations centers in Brevard and Duval counties later Thursday. In a departure from former Gov. Rick Scott’s signature rolled-up sleeves and Navy cap, DeSantis donned an official state jacket and cowboy boots.

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The governor also shared a variety of online resources the public should use to make hurricane plans and said the Department of Transportation will be waiving fees and tolls when evacuation orders are made.

Some resources include:

Florida 511 Travel Information system, which drivers can use to keep informed about the state’s roadways during severe weather. Visit fl511.com or call 511 for updates.

Updates on state office closures

An Emergency Status System for healthcare facilities statewide to enter their storm preparedness status, including generators and utility company information, emergency contacts and bed availability:

A boil order notice webpage, which will be updated in real time by the Department of Health. Find the low-bandwidth version here.

A recovery tool kit by the Agency for Persons With Disabilities will provide the latest information about the hurricane, disaster preparations and resources after the storm.

A disaster preparedness tip sheet for businesses has been posted by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

VISIT Florida’s Expedia/VISIT Florida Hotel Accommodation Web Portal can help support evacuation orders with hotel listings in safe zones.

An updated hurricane guide has been posted by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Up-to-date school closures will be posted on the Florida Department of Education website.

DeSantis had initially come to Miami to announce the appointment of four new judges to the 11th Circuit Court.

Miami-Dade County judges William Altfield, Gina Beovides, Laura Shearon Cruz, and assistant attorney for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos were appointed.

Herald staff writer Alex Harris contributed to this report.

Samantha J. Gross is a politics and policy reporter for the Miami Herald. Before she moved to the Sunshine State, she covered breaking news at the Boston Globe and the Dallas Morning News.
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