Gov. Ron DeSantis described Florida’s near miss from Tropical Storm Isaias as a “good trial run” for what is forecasted to be an above normal 2020 hurricane season.
“We did not get the major impact that we were prepared for, which is a very good thing, but we did get a good trial run for what will likely be a busy hurricane season,” DeSantis said.
Speaking Monday alongside Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, the Governor said the offshore storm provided state leaders a chance to “beta-test” Florida’s new shelter strategy.
The new strategy, birthed out of the COVID-19 pandemic, seeks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus while also protecting Floridians during an emergency or a natural disaster.
DeSantis said personal protective equipment and thermometers were successfully delivered to shelters standing in the storm’s path and non-congregate sheltering was arranged for those with COVID-19 or COVID-19 like symptoms. On Saturday, he told reporters that 25 kits were delivered, each of which contained enough PPE for 400 people for 96 hours.
DeSantis also cited a shelter in Palm Beach, where evacuees who were infected with the novel coronavirus or who failed the temperature screening were redirected to a designated hotel.
“It all proved to be very helpful,” he lauded.
While Isaias only grazed Florida’s East Coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has warned of an above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.
This season, NOAA forecasts 13 to 19 named storms, 6 to 10 of which could become hurricanes. NOAA also estimates three to six of the storms could be major hurricanes producing winds of 111 mph or higher.
DeSantis urged Florida residents to prepare themselves ahead of time.
“There’s been a lot of activity up to this point in the season,” he said. “We do anticipate more storms developing, so make sure that you have a plan. We’ll hope for the best on this, but we absolutely need to be prepared for more storms.”
The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 through Nov. 30.