Gov. Ron DeSantis provides update on state flood response

by | Jun 14, 2024

Gov. Ron DeSantis provided an update on Florida’s response to severe flooding in South and Southwest Florida, detailing coordinated state and local efforts, including the deployment of nearly 100 water pumps, activation of the State Emergency Operations Center, and infrastructure support through the Resilient Florida program.

Gov. Ron DeSantis provided an update Friday on Florida’s response to severe weather affecting South and Southwest Florida, detailing the coordinated efforts of state and local agencies to manage the flooding and heavy rains that began on June 12.

DeSantis noted the deployment of nearly 100 water pumps across the affected areas, coordinated through the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM), the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which he says has “been crucial” in managing the floodwaters and restoring affected communities.

“The State has about 90 water pumps that are either being in use or are available for use,” DeSantis said. “And there’s also pumps at the municipal and county level. All told, I think there’s about 100 pumps that are actually in use right now.”

Kevin Guthrie, Executive Director of DEM, drew attention to the rapid deployment of state resources.

“The State Emergency Operations Center activated to level two at 8 p.m. on June 12 and moved to level one the next morning,” Guthrie said. “Over 11,000 feet of flood protection systems were deployed, along with 10 pallets of food and 14 pallets of water.”

Guthrie also advised residents to exercise caution in flooded areas, reminding them to avoid driving through standing water and to document any flood damage for insurance purposes.

Jared Perdue, Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation, discussed the department’s role in addressing road closures and coordinating with local agencies.

“We had teams from our Broward Operation Center working with the city and county,” Perdue said. “One of the biggest challenges was the closure of I-95 at the 595 interchange, which lasted five to six hours. We immediately deployed crews and pumps to address the flooding.”

DeSantis remarked that additional rain is expected over the weekend, but it is anticipated to be “typical South Florida afternoon showers” rather than severe storms.

The governor also addressed Florida’s infrastructure and emergency preparedness, citing the Resilient Florida program, which provides grants to local governments for infrastructure improvements aimed at mitigating future flooding and storm impacts.

“This is something that impacts the entire state, so we now have put billions of dollars into Resilient Florida,” DeSantis said. “Local governments can get grants to make necessary improvements.”

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 experienced significant rainfall, resulting in widespread flooding and infrastructure disruptions. The heavy rainfall began on Tuesday, producing totals of 10 to 15 inches in some areas. The weather rendered roadways inefficacious and caused water to infiltrate homes, leading to evacuations and municipal closures.

Air travel also faced disruptions, with Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reporting 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.


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