After brutal storms, Gov. DeSantis declares state of emergency, activates Florida National Guard
Image via AP.

FSU tent Florida State storm
Nearly 189,000 properties in the state were without power by 3 p.m.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has activated the Florida National Guard and declared a state of emergency in 15 counties in the aftermath of severe storms that began ripping across the Peninsula Friday morning.

The original counties covered by the order included Baker, Columbia, Gadsden, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor and Wakulla. On Monday, days after the original storm, DeSantis amended the order to also cover Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties.

Thousands of households lost power immediately following Friday’s storm, according to the Public Service Commission, which reported at 3 p.m. that nearly 189,000 properties in the state await reconnections.

To deal with the post-storm tumult, DeSantis called on Maj. Gen. John Haas, the state’s Adjutant General, to activate the Florida National Guard.

He also ordered the Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie to execute the state’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and other response, recovery and mitigation plans to deal with the crisis. That authorizes Guthrie to:

— Invoke Florida’s compacts and agreements with other states to accelerate recovery efforts.

— Seek assistance from federal agencies.

— Direct all state, regional and local government agencies, including law enforcement, to identify and place under Guthrie’s command to meet the needs of the emergency.

— Designate deputy administrators “as necessary.”

— Suspend the effect of any laws, rules or order that would prevent, hinder or delay mitigation, response and recovery actions.

DeSantis extended that last provision to all other state agencies as well. He also called for “sufficient funds” to be supplied through the state’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund to finance necessary operations.

Powerful storms packing winds near hurricane force struck the South on Friday, uprooting trees, crumbling chimneys and mangling structures from Mississippi to North Carolina and down to the Sunshine State.

At least one woman in Florida died after a tree fell on her family’s home, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office told the Associated Press. Hers was at least the fourth death from heavy weather this week; two people were killed in Tennessee on Wednesday, when another storm death was reported in North Carolina.

Since Monday, 39 states have been under threat of severe weather, which placed about 220 million people at risk by Thursday.

The hardest-hit county in Florida, outage-wise, was Leon. As of 3 p.m., more than 58% of its 152,432 properties were in the dark. More than half the homes in Lafayette and Suwannee and 41% of Hamilton County’s accounts were similarly situated.


Material from The Associated Press was used in this report. Republished with permission.

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.


  • rick whitaker

    May 10, 2024 at 6:45 pm

    i feel real bad about poor floridians not able to leave the state. having bad weather on top of such a bad government has to be even harder. i’m not a christian, so i don’t think that god is punishing florida because of desantis, scott, and rubio. having 3 real powerful and evil leaders, has to be bad in the middle of hard times.

    • Impeach Biden

      May 10, 2024 at 8:03 pm

      Tennessee took some shots from tornadoes. Funny how you don’t mention that. Is that another thing the liberal media you watch won’t report? We have an excellent Governor in Florida. He can actually communicate to people without cue cards, teleprompters, handlers and such. Every day he sticks his foot in his mouth. He needs to be in memory care, like you.

      • rick whitaker

        May 10, 2024 at 9:54 pm

        HOWLER MONKEY, the fact that you can’t see biden as the best man running for the job is telling. you must have a mental block. BTW desantis is a horrible man and governor. yes tennessee has a few storms, but over the years none of my properties have ever been damaged by weather. now my mother’s house in florida, wiped completely out, twice. she moved to tennessee before she died. ft. myers is the hellhole she got wiped out in.

        • Impeach Biden

          May 11, 2024 at 6:02 am

          Only people that think Jimmy Carter was a good President think the same of Biden. Biden has been a complete disaster. Look at our Southern Border. Nearly 8 million illegals now. Look at our foreign policy. We have Putin invading Ukraine. We have Hamas attacking Israel. We have Iran launching strikes into Israel. There isn’t a world leader out there that fears or respects Joe Biden. “Nope” as a foreign policy message ain’t working. Then there is the economy and inflation. Fuel prices, groceries, etc. the administration which once embraced the term “Bidenomics” no longer says that. I will leave you with this. It was I that started the term Howler Monkey on this site. You, with not a single original thought in that pea size brain stole it. Now come up with your own material. Stop plagiarizing like Slo Joe did to get through college.

          • rick whitaker

            May 11, 2024 at 12:46 pm

            HOWLER MONKEY, first of all carter is my favorite president. you seem to judge him by the huge amount of trouble the gop gave him. your logic says that a president is bad if the gop hates them. with all the problems going on at once we need a strong wise president like biden. i can’t imagine how bad trump would make things. i have many years left to live, i want a decent world to do that in. trump will be safe in his florida mansion as long as the mcdonald’s deliveries can get in. i remember how obama straightened things out all the time the gop were trying to sabotage him. obama is my second favorite president. LBJ is my third favorite. of course i don’t even count trump of having ever being presidential by nature. he”s a lying crook, not president material. you just don’t have the ability to see the forest for the trees.

      • Ocean Joe

        May 11, 2024 at 5:13 am

        IB, I see you didn’t bother to defend the indefensible Rick Scott. Smart move.

        Scott’s outside the Trump trial telling folks the federal investigation of “his” company, which led to the largest fines and restitution up to that date ($1,700,000,000) was political. What a tool.

        • rick whitaker

          May 11, 2024 at 12:51 pm

          OJ, it was laughable when i saw scott there at the ny courthouse. he looked like the type guy you wouldn’t want vouching for you. scott must lose the election for everyone’s sake.

  • Red widow

    May 11, 2024 at 12:00 pm

    It must have been that interview. Saying if you don’t like. Ok I didn’t like

  • You can do better Ron

    May 12, 2024 at 8:11 am

    I saw Desantis carrying supplies in Tallahassee after the storm and for one second it made me like our governor. If this was the case for how the governor treated all Floridians I would believe it. My message to our governor: treat all Floridians with compassion no matter what the storm is that is affecting them. Sometimes you are the storm!

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 13, 2024 at 2:31 pm

    Did the FNG make the drive back from Texas okay?

    Or did they get caught up in that next storm that blew through and won’t be making it home to help with Florida’s actual problems?

  • FN G

    May 16, 2024 at 10:43 am

    Such a long drive from Texas to Florida.

    Are we there yet, Rhonda? How much lonnngerrrrrrrrrr?

Comments are closed.


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