Rick Scott declares state of emergency, pledges funds after Escambia tornado damage
Rick Scott speaks in Green Cove Springs.

Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency and authorized the release of state money in the wake of severe tornado damage in the Escambia County city of Century last week. Wind gusts of over 150 miles per hour tore through the Panhandle town, causing severe damage to numerous houses and buildings.

Scott, in issuing Executive Order 16-54, acknowledged the emergency circumstances in Century and authorized state officials to step in to cope with the disaster.

The order names Director of the Division of Emergency Services Bryan Koon as the State Coordinating Officer in charge of the relief effort, and releases State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) funding to help finance mitigating damage to homes there.

In that capacity Koon will seek relief from the federal government and oversee state efforts in Century.

According to a survey of the damage by the National Weather Service of the storms – which hit Northwest Florida on Feb. 15 – several structures were ruined or severely damaged by the winds and rain.

“Numerous homes were damaged or destroyed,” according to the report. “A couple of homes experienced complete loss of the roof with only the walls of the small interior rooms remaining … Extensive tree damage with numerous softwood and hardwood trees either snapped or uprooted. Several power poles were also snapped.”

The Escambia County Commission declared their own state of emergency last week on Feb. 18.

Ryan Ray

Ryan Ray covers politics and public policy in North Florida and across the state. He has also worked as a legislative researcher and political campaign staffer. He can be reached at [email protected]


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