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President Trump signs emergency declaration for 35 Florida counties

President Donald Trump has signed a declaration of a pre-landfall emergency for Florida, setting the stage for federal agencies to mobilize into the Panhandle and north Florida and assure federal funding for preparations and recovery before Hurricane Michael arrives.

Trump’s action, requested by Florida Gov. Rick Scott and supported by Florida’s U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to identify, mobilize, and provide, at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.

The order also authorizes federal support for debris removal and emergency protective measures in 14 counties, and emergency protective measures to another 21 counties, according to an announcement released Tuesday by the White House.

Debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding in the counties of Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla, according to the release.

Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance will be provided at 75 percent funding in the counties of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Escambia, Gilchrist, Hernando, Hillsborough, Holmes, Lafayette, Levy, Manatee, Okaloosa, Pasco, Pinellas, Santa Rosa, Union, Walton, and Washington, according to the release.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long, Administrator named Thomas J. McCool as the federal coordinating officer for affected areas.

Scott’s office expressed the importance of those federal resources to help Florida prepare for anticipated impacts from Hurricane Michael, including the threat posed by the forecasted 12 feet of storm surge.

On Sunday Scott declared a state of emergency in 26 Florida counties and expanded it to include 35 counties total Monday.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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