President Joe Biden approved a state of emergency declared for Florida as Tropical Storm Ian threatens to strike the state.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced federal aid has been made available to supplement state, tribe and local resources spent preparing for the storm since Friday, Sept. 23.
A presidential order from Biden authorizes FEMA to coordinate disaster relief efforts and to provide appropriate assistance to save lives and protect property, public health and safety and lessen or avert the threat of catastrophe.
The federal authorization is in effect in Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, and St. Lucie counties and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis had declared a state of emergency in Florida on Friday in those 24 counties, and on Saturday expanded the declaration to the entire state of Florida. He requested a federal pre-landfall declaration to make available resources and support as well as funding sources for emergency protective measures.
The Florida National Guard has been activated.
The action by the President authorized FEMA to immediately identify, mobilize and provide at the agency’s discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.
Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75% federal funding.
FEMA announced Thomas McCool as the federal coordinating office for all recovery operations for Tropical Storm Ian.
The storm is expected to become a hurricane and reach Category 4 status as it hits or passes western Cuba. Hurricane conditions are now expected early Monday in Cayman Island.
Forecasters expect the storm to system to regain strength after it heads over Cuba and then the head toward Florida. But storm models show a greater level of uncertainty than usual, according to the National Hurricane Center.
A five-day storm forecasts shows Ian could make landfall as far south as Collier County during the day on Wednesday, or in coastal Alabama early Friday.