DeSantis Declares State Of Emergency For 33 Florida Counties To Prepare For Tropical Storm

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. (Photo by PEDRO UGARTE/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
1:06 PM – Sunday, August 27, 2023

Florida Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis issued a state of emergency for a large portion of The Sunshine State on Saturday as a potential tropical storm brewed in the Gulf of Mexico.

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According to the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm “Idalia” developed on Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico and could make landfall in the southern United States.

To prepare for the storm, DeSantis signed an executive order along with an emergency declaration for 33 counties, stating that it was predicted to intensify into a tropical storm over the next several days.

The governor and the Division of Emergency Management in Florida “are taking timely precautions to ensure Florida’s communities, infrastructure, and resources are prepared, including those communities that are still recovering following Hurricane Ian,” the governor’s office stated.

“I signed an Executive Order issuing a state of emergency out of an abundance of caution to ensure that the Florida Division of Emergency Management can begin staging resources and Floridians have plenty of time to prepare their families for a storm next week,” DeSantis said. “I encourage Floridians to have a plan in place and ensure that their hurricane supply kit is stocked.”

The storm was 80 miles east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, at 11:15 a.m. on Sunday, moving east at 2 mph with a top sustained wind speed of 40 mph, according to forecasts.

Hurricane winds reach at least 74 mph or higher.

Idalia is anticipated to intensify into a hurricane on Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico before veering northeast toward the west coast of Florida, according to forecasters.

The governor’s office said on Saturday that a tropical storm or hurricane is presently expected to make landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast between early and mid-next week, “with the potential for heavy rainfall, strong winds, and for isolated tornadic activity.”

The 33 Florida counties that were referenced in the declaration are: Bay, Calhoun, Charlotte, Citrus, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Alachua, Hamilton, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla.

Forecasters have also issued warnings for potential landslides and flash flooding in western Cuba and the eastern Yucatan Peninsula.

By midweek, the system may bring severe storm surge, torrential rain, and powerful winds to Florida’s Gulf Coast and Panhandle, the National Hurricane Center said on Saturday.

Additionally, the hurricane center estimates that there is a 90% likelihood overall and a 70% chance that the system will develop into a tropical storm by Monday.

The storm’s core is not predicted to reach the southwest Florida regions that were hit by Hurricane Ian last year.

According to forecast models, the storm is also expected to curve northeast into Florida, make landfall along the Gulf coast north of Tampa around the Big Bend region, and then travel diagonally across the state before reemerging in the Atlantic Ocean close to southeast Georgia.

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