Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday said he is asking the federal government for a major disaster declaration in all 67 counties, as massive Hurricane Ian pounded the Gulf Coast and was poised to move across the state.
The state will seek 100 percent reimbursement from the federal government for storm-recovery costs over the next 60 days, DeSantis said during a briefing at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.
“This is a really, really significant storm,” DeSantis said. “It will be one of the storms people always remember when they think about Southwest Florida. It will probably be the big one they always remember. If you know anything about our state, if you go to Panama City, (Hurricane) Michael is part of the DNA of the community. Homestead, Hurricane Andrew is part of the DNA of the community. This Ian is going to rank up there with that.”
President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration for the state Saturday. The National Hurricane Center said the storm could continue to carry hurricane winds when it reaches the East Coast around Daytona Beach.
“Ian is likely to remain more intact as it crosses the Florida peninsula — due to both its stronger initial wind speed and its faster forecast forward speed, and this now increases the threat of hurricane-force winds on the East Coast of Florida,” the center said. “This necessitates the issuance of a hurricane warning on the East Coast of Central Florida.”
Around midday, Ian was packing 155 mph sustained winds, just short of a category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. More than 200,000 power outages had been reported across Florida.