Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is sending backup to Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Laura’s expected landfall later this week.
Patronis, who doubles as the state Fire Marshall, said he will deploy Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 4 to bring lifesaving equipment and resources to the Pelican State.
“As we closely monitor the threat of Hurricane Laura and the impacts of Tropical Storm Marco, I’ve been in close contact with Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning and I’ve mobilized Florida’s Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 4 in support of the recovery efforts following these storms,” Patronis said.
“These dedicated and elite first responders will bring lifesaving equipment and resources to support the people of Louisiana and surrounding areas. With these two storms making landfall days apart, it’s our duty to aid our fellow gulf coast states and ensure they safely recover
from the possible devastating impacts of these storms.”
Hurricane Laura is currently a Category 1 storm, though forecasters predict it will strengthen to a Category 3 with 115 mph winds by the time it hits the Gulf Coast on Thursday morning.
In anticipation of the storm, officials in Louisiana and Texas have ordered nearly 600,000 residents to evacuate. In Louisiana, experts predict 13 feet of storm surge — enough to submerge the low-lying communities on the state’s coastline.
Patronis isn’t the only one sending aid to the Gulf Coast.
Florida Power & Light announced Tuesday that it’s mobilizing 300 employees and contractors to help Entergy Louisiana and Entergy Texas get the power back on after the storm blows over the region.
Many of the FPL workers are already en route.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to our Gulf Coast neighbors as they prepare for the damage and destruction that will likely follow being hit by a tropical storm and then a hurricane in the same week,” FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy said.
“Earlier this month, 600 FPL lineworkers and contractors helped restore power to our fellow citizens in New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaias. As the tropics continue to produce storms that affect other areas of the country, we stand at the ready to assist our fellow Americans. These storms are a reminder that we must not let our guard down as we reach the peak of what is forecast to be a very active hurricane season.”
The mobilization comes a day ahead of Florida’s Lineworker Appreciation Day, which FPL Senior Vice President Manny Miranda said was “a time to recognize the vital work our men and women do every day.”
He added, “Severe weather events provide an opportunity for our lineworkers to show their commitment to safety, to their profession and to those who seek their help. Our team is ready to face the challenges posed in the aftermath of these storms and the pandemic, taking extra measures to ensure their and the public’s safety.”
— 599,176 FL residents (+2,665 since Monday)
— 6,326 Non-FL residents (+8 since Monday)
— 4,565 Travel related
— 195,224 Contact with a confirmed case
— 4,798 Both
— 394,589 Under investigation
— 37,038 in FL
— 10,717 in FL
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