Gov. DeSantis declares State of Emergency in South and Southwest Florida amid severe flooding

by | Jun 13, 2024

Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for five Florida counties due to severe flooding caused by heavy rainfall, authorizing emergency measures and activating the National Guard to assist with the response efforts.

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order on Wednesday night, declaring a state of emergency in response to severe flooding across South and Southwest Florida.

The emergency order applies to Broward, Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade, and Sarasota counties, which have experienced significant rainfall, resulting in widespread flooding and infrastructure disruptions.

The Executive Order designates the Director of the Division of Emergency Management as the State Coordinating Officer, tasked with executing the State’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. The Director is also authorized to invoke the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, coordinate with federal agencies, and direct state and local resources to respond to the emergency.

“As Governor of Florida, I am responsible to meet the dangers presented to Florida and its people by this emergency,” DeSantis said in the order.

The heavy rainfall began on Tuesday, producing totals of 10 to 15 inches in some areas. The weather has rendered roadways inefficacious and caused water to infiltrate homes, leading to evacuations and municipal closures.

The Florida National Guard and Florida State Guard have been activated to assist with emergency response efforts. The order also allows for the suspension of certain statutes, rules, and orders that might hinder emergency operations.

The Executive Order also permits medical professionals, social workers, and counselors from other states to offer their services in Florida free of charge during the emergency, under the auspices of the American Red Cross or the Florida Department of Health.

Critical infrastructure, including major interstates, roadways, airports, and schools, have been impacted, with the Florida Department of Highway Safety advising against driving through floodwaters. In Hallandale Beach, severe flooding submerged cars, forcing drivers to abandon their vehicles. A family briefly lost their young son during the storm but was later reunited by police.

Air travel has also faced disruptions, with Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport experiencing more than 1,200 flight cancellations or delays. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis declared a local state of emergency after the city received its average June rainfall of approximately 9.5 inches in just 24 hours.

The National Weather Service has forecasted additional heavy rainfall, which could exacerbate the flooding in already saturated areas.

The Executive Order is effective immediately and will remain in place for 60 days unless extended. Governor DeSantis has directed state agencies to ensure adequate funding from the Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund to manage the disaster.


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