DeSantis declares state of emergency for almost half of Florida

Thirty-three of the state's 67 counties are under the order.

August 26, 2023, 7:15 PM

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 33 counties along the Gulf Coast on Saturday in response to a new tropical system forming off the coast of Mexico.

Leaving almost half of the state under a state of emergency, DeSantis’ said in a statement he “signed an Executive Order issuing a state of emergency out of an abundance of caution.”

The system developed into Tropical Depression Ten off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula late Saturday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical Depression Ten is forecast to gradually strengthen over the next 48 hours, likely becoming Tropical Storm Idalia on Sunday. The current forecast calls for the storm to approach Florida’s Gulf Coast later on Tuesday.

DeSantis’ statement continued, “to ensure that the Florida Division of Emergency Management can begin staging resources and Floridians have plenty of time to prepare their families for a storm next week.”

“I encourage Floridians to have a plan in place and ensure that their hurricane supply kit is stocked,” DeSantis continued.

According to the executive order, the forecast currently places a tropical storm or hurricane making landfall along Florida’s Gulf Coast early to mid-next week, with the potential for heavy rainfall, strong winds, and for isolated tornadic activity.

DeSantis, who’s running for president, is scheduled to be out of town on Monday, according to his campaign website for an event in Kershaw, South Carolina.

PHOTO: In this Nov. 7, 2022, file photo, boats piled up and destroyed by Hurricane Ian are seen on San Carlos Island in Fort Myers Beach, Fla.
In this Nov. 7, 2022, file photo, boats piled up and destroyed by Hurricane Ian are seen on San Carlos Island in Fort Myers Beach, Fla.
Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

Less than a year ago, Florida was rocked by Hurricane Ian, which barreled into the southwest coast of Florida as a major Category 4 hurricane before slowing to a crawl as it made its way across the peninsula, causing widespread damage.

When Ian made landfall it brought 150 mph winds, then made a second landfall 90 minutes later, still as a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds, just south of Punta Gorda, near Pirate Harbor.

Storm surge records were set for both Fort Myers at 7.25 feet, and Naples, at 6.28 feet, with locals reporting houses and cars floating in the influx of water.

Rainfall in Orlando broke its 24-hour rainfall record with 12.49 inches. By Friday, New Smyrna Beach was swamped with 28.60 inches of rain in just 27 hours.

According to Florida’s medical examiners commision, Hurricane Ian was responsible for 144 deaths throughout the state.

With extreme weather happening all over the country, roughly 250,000 customers remain without power in the Midwest after deadly thunderstorms ripped through Michigan and over 90 million Americans are under heat alerts on Saturday.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana hit triple digits for the 30th day this year which breaks the record for the most 100-degree or greater days in a single year.