Gov. DeSantis activates Florida State Guard ahead of tropical storm-like weekend weather

The State Guard graduated its first troops the better part of a century in July.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is activating the Florida State Guard to help localities deal with harsh weather this weekend.

In a Friday letter to State Guard Director Mark Thieme, DeSantis said to mobilize “whatever number” of guard members is necessary to handle the coming tropical storm-like conditions expected to sweep the state.

“The Florida State Guard plays an essential role in Florida’s preparation for and swift response to severe weather,” the Governor said in a statement. “We thank them for their willingness to mobilize on short notice as we prepare for potential severe weather impacts this weekend.”

The rough weather anticipated to begin in South Florida and roll upward toward the northern parts of the state through Sunday is due to low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico, according to WBPF Chief Meteorologist Chris Martinez.

Strong wind gusts of tropical storm force — 35 to 50 mph — are likely to start Friday along with coastal flooding and on-the-water conditions dangerous for boaters, the West Palm Beach-based news outlet said. Isolated tornadoes may also occur.

According to Winter Park-based WESH, parts of Central Florida will be under a level 2 out of 5 severe weather threat, with tornadoes being the biggest concern starting Saturday and continuing through Sunday morning.

Areas higher up in the state, including North Florida and the Big Bend, are projected to experience similar downpours and gusts through Monday, the National Weather Service said.

The Florida State Guard is to assist the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM) and other state agencies ahead of the weather impacts. DeSantis also directed DEM to prepare flood response and prevention equipment and instructed Floridians to plan accordingly.

DeSantis called for bringing back the State Guard, which disbanded in the late 1940s, in early December 2021 as a supplemental force to the National Guard in hurricane, natural disaster and other state-specific emergency response operations.

He pitched it as a force unencumbered by the federal government that could be nimbler and more versatile than the 12,000-member Florida National Guard. And unlike the Florida National Guard, the State Guard answers solely to the Governor.

The force graduated its first troops in July. One month later, it conducted its first storm recovery effort in 76 years following Hurricane Idalia.

Thieme is the third person to serve as State Guard director in less than a year and a half, after retired Marine Lt. Col. Chris Graham, who died by suicide last October, and U.S. Navy Reserve Capt. Luis Soler, who quit earlier this year for “personal reasons.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Impeach Biden

    December 15, 2023 at 8:57 pm

    Thanks to our fine Governor looking out for his citizens of Florida. Unlike that feeble, senile, old fool President currently destroying the United States with his ridiculous policy at the Southern Border and the free for all going on down there.

    • Dont Say FLA

      December 16, 2023 at 1:23 pm

      IBS, the topic is political posturing based upon the wind blowing. And you respond with something about Biden’s Southern Border. You claim to respond on topic and say I can’t read. Please explain the connection between your reply and this post. For me. Thank you.

      • Rick Whitaker

        December 16, 2023 at 1:37 pm

        don’t sat fla, once again that impeach biden ahole made himself look stupid, i guess he is.

  • My Take

    December 15, 2023 at 9:08 pm

    “Prepare to savagely club any black people found in business areas. They are obviously looters. Even if they own or work at a business, they are looking to loot. You know their type. We will èxcuse the savage beating by saying they really should have been shot. DO shoot the black people you find in white neighborhoods. Their excuse that they are just trying to get to shelters is a convenient lie. Looking to loot! The governor’s got your back!”

  • Sonja Fitch

    December 16, 2023 at 5:32 am

    Desantis is the fascist dictator ! The Floridians in southwest Florida ARE STILL waiting for the governor DeSantis to provide aide! But pervert Desantis puts our tax dollars on a fake group of citizens!
    WHY! Trump, Desantis hero, has declared he will take over just like a dictator! Get out of Florida Desantis and Russian backed Trump !

  • Dont Say FLA

    December 16, 2023 at 12:57 pm

    “Whatever number” of guard members … is that 2? or 3? ‘Cause I heard most of them resigned upon learning the reality of Rhonda’s plans for them.

    Only means girls stayed: Heather, another Heather, and possibly a third Heather. Freakin’ Heathers are the absolute worst.

    While Rhonda is of course worse than any one Heather, overall, Heathers as a group are the worst people on Earth.

    • Rick Whitaker

      December 16, 2023 at 1:39 pm

      don’t say fla, what is a heather? is it a butch karen?

      • Dont Say FLA

        December 16, 2023 at 2:21 pm

        Nah it’s just people named Heather. There’s something about that name. I don’t what or why, but when someone’s name is “Heather,” it’s nearly always (100% IME) a hideous, vile type you definitely want to avoid. And no, I don’t have any ex-es named Heather, lol.

Comments are closed.


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