Gov. Ron DeSantis said Hurricane Ian will be in the top 5 worst hurricanes to ever hit Florida.
At a 5:40 p.m. press conference, DeSantis said there were 1.1 million power outages across the state of Florida, but that number has since increased to 1.7 million outages, according to PowerOutage.us. About 42,000 linemen from across the state are ready to help restore power once the storm has passed.
Several counties in Florida, including Clay, Flagler, Nassau, St. Johns, Putnam and Sumter, have received evacuation warnings, according to the governor.
The Lee, Hendry and Glade county 911 call centers are currently down and are being rerouted to other counties. More than 10,000 first responders will be deployed when the storm passes, according to DeSantis.
Over 250 aircraft, 600 vehicles and 300 boats are ready to be deployed for rescue with 200 boats on standby. They plan on searching for people who need assistance by land, sea and air.
The governor sent a disaster declaration to President Joe Biden and is waiting for a response. This declaration calls on Biden to approve funds from FEMA to support recovery efforts for 60 days. The funds would go toward the removal of debris, warnings of risks and hazards, search and rescue efforts, food, water and mass emergency care.
Hurricane Irma, which hit Florida as a Category 4 hurricane in 2017, caused seven fatalities as a result of the storm and 77 deaths after the storm due to hazards such as downed powerlines, according to DeSantis. He urged people not to go out alone and to stay indoors.
Volunteer Florida is accepting monetary donations and volunteers. People can donate at Floridadisasterfund.org or volunteer at Volunteerflorida.org.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for further developments. Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing email@example.com.