The Trump administration has agreed to Florida’s request for aid in preparing for Hurricane Isaias, including expenses associated with storm shelters, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Saturday morning as the storm appeared likely to brush against the state’s east coast.
“Even if the eye of the storm stays off the coast, there of course are going to be impacts when you’re talking about a hurricane or tropical storm-force winds, so folks need to be prepared for that, and if you’re in an evacuation zone and you get those orders to evacuate please heed that call,” the governor said during a news conference at the state’s Emergency Operations Center.
DeSantis has declared a hurricane state of emergency in 19 counties up and down the east coast, from Miami-Dade to Nassau even as public health agencies continue to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hurricane warnings were in effect from Boca Raton the Volusia-Flagler county line, the governor said, and the National Weather Service has predicted storm surges of two to four feet along areas of the coast.
The state has sent kits to shelters containing personal protective equipment against COVID-19 transmission, DeSantis said, and was organizing staging areas for utility crews to restore power if necessary.
“We don’t anticipate hospitals needing to evacuate patients at this time,” he said.
He did urge people to closely monitor weather conditions and said there’s still time to gather seven-day supplies of water and food.
As of this morning, the state had not needed to shelter people with COVID symptoms in “noncongregate” shelters, meaning hotel rooms, he said.
As of 8 a.m. E.T., the category 1 storm was approaching Andros Island in the Bahamas on a course likely to take it near Florida’s east coast Saturday night through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Reconnaissance aircraft clocked windspeeds near 85 miles per hour.