Ron DeSantis announced Monday during a press conference at the Florida Emergency Operations Center that the Florida National Guard has activated 5,000 troops from Florida and an additional 2,000 troops from Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina in preparation for Hurricane Ian. .
The 7,000 guards are more than the 2,500 activated and announced by DeSantis on Sunday.
As of Monday, the storm is located about 600 kilometers south of Key West and has a diameter of 800 kilometers. DeSantis said it’s moving into the northwest Gulf of Mexico at 14 miles per hour with maximum winds of 80 miles per hour.
Florida National Guard Chief Jim Everett said they are “fully committed to all available resources,” and are in contact with Kentucky and Louisiana to provide additional resources.
DeSantis warned of Hurricane Ian’s expected impact on Florida’s Gulf Coast, including torrential rain, high winds, flash floods and storms, and told Gulf Coast residents they should feel the storm’s impact until 36 hours before making landfall.
“You will see a storm surge in places like southwest Florida, although the storm is expected to be between 100 and 150 miles off the coast of southwest Florida,” the governor said.
In addition to the 7,000 soldiers activated by the National Guard, five urban search and rescue teams have also been activated and the Fish and Wildlife Commission has been mobilized, DeSantis said, adding that 210 medical professionals have been assigned to Hillsborough County special needs shelters and 300 ambulances to support Special needs evacuations in the Tampa Bay area.
As part of emergency preparedness, the governor said fees will be suspended at facilities in the Tampa Bay area.
Listed areas include Polk Parkway in Polk County, Mid-Bay Bridge in Okaloosa, Spence Parkway in Okaloosa, Garcon Point Bridge in Santa Rosa, Pinellas Bayway, Sunshine Skyway, Selmon Expressway, Connector I-4 in Hillsborough, So does Crocodile Alley in Collier in Broward counties.
The governor also announced a waiver of weight restrictions for commercial trucks entering Florida to ensure the state has enough fuel and resources before the storm.
Parts of the Florida Keys, from the Seven Mile Bridge south to Key West, have received a tropical storm warning. Hurricane and tropical storm hours have been released from Inglewood south of Naples, and there are storm hours from Pinellas County to the Florida Keys.
Governor DeSantis is scheduled to hold another press conference in Largo, Florida this afternoon at 2 p.m. ET.
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