Governor DeSantis commemorates 5th anniversary of Hurricane Irma
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Governor Ron DeSantis acknowledges the strength of communities impacted by Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Hurricane Irma is on record as the strongest hurricane ever observed in the open Atlantic Ocean and the “longest-lived” Category 5 hurricane.
DeSantis also shares urgency that all Floridians remain prepared as Florida enters its historical peak of hurricane season.
“Hurricanes can destroy people’s homes and businesses in an instant, which is why we’ve prioritized helping Florida’s communities rebuild stronger in the aftermath of disasters,” said Governor DeSantis. “On the anniversary of Hurricane Irma, I’m proud of the work that we’ve accomplished to improve the resiliency of our communities and equip them to face future storms.”
Florida Division of Emergency Management Director, Kevin Guthrie, says that the division will make sure to provide necessary funding to impacted Florida regions.
“We will continue to support cities and counties throughout their recovery and stand ready to respond to potential storms this hurricane season that may threaten the State of Florida,” said Guthrie.
Dane Eagle, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary, praises Governor DeSantis’s initiative on funding to support impacted communities.
“Since Hurricane Irma made landfall, DEO has awarded $430 million to more than 4,100 Florida homeowners and an additional $240 million to impacted communities, and all Rebuild Florida’s Hurricane Irma programs are slated to be completed on time by August 2023,” said Eagle.
On the morning of September 10, 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall near Cudjoe Key, Florida. The Category 4 storm had maximum winds of 130 mph.
To date, Hurricane Irma is the costliest storm to impact the State of Florida.
At this time, 6.8 million residents were ordered to evacuate during Hurricane Irma causing major traffic congestion and fuel shortages. About 6.7 million homes and businesses across the state were left without power immediately after Irma’s landfall. Personnel and resources from 28 states and Washington, D.C. deployed to Florida to assist in Hurricane Irma response and recovery efforts.
The State of Florida was immediately granted a Major Disaster Declaration, authorizing assistance for all 67 counties under teh Federal Emergency Management Agency, Public Assistance program, and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
The Florida Division continues to support long-term mitigation and recovery efforts for communities impacted by Hurricane Irma. These projects include:
- $27 million obligated to the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners for the construction of a new Monroe County Emergency Operations Center, including backup emergency power, at the Florida Keys/Marathon International Airport.
- $11 million distributed to the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative to increase the resiliency of transmission infrastructure and mitigate against the direct loss of electrical service to more than 48,000 residents during an extreme weather event.
- $9.6 million obligated to the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority to install two generators, including an enclosure to protect the generators from wind debris, at the Stock Island Reverse Osmosis Facility to provide emergency power during a storm. This allows continuous service of safe drinking water to residents, hospitals and other emergency facilities in the Lower Florida Keys.
The Division has distributed nearly $7.6 billion in critical disaster recovery funding to support long-term recovery efforts for communities rebuilding from recent disasters since 2018.
The 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season ends November 30th with its historical peak in September. Although the season has been relatively calm, disasters can strike at any moment. The Division encourages Floridians to stay prepared and take advantage of low to no cost preparedness activities, including:
- Make a Plan – Every household should have a disaster plan specific to the needs of their household. Every individual in the household should assist in developing the emergency plan and understand the plan. Visit FloridaDisaster.org/Family-Plan for more information.
- Know Your Zone, Know Your Home – It’s important for residents to know if they live in an evacuation zone, a low-lying, flood-prone area, a mobile home or an unsafe structure during hurricane season. It is also very important for residents to know their home and its ability to withstand strong winds and heavy rain. This information will help residents better understand orders from local officials during a storm. Visit FloridaDisaster.org/Know for more information.
- Keep Gas Tanks Half Full – Residents should keep their gas tanks at least half full during hurricane season to ensure they have enough fuel to evacuate as soon as possible without worrying about long lines at gas stations and to avoid gas shortages prior to a storm.
For more safety and preparedness tips, visit FloridaDisaster.org/PlanPrepare.
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