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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

7,000 members of the Florida National Guard ordered to report for duty

Now that Hurricane Irma is a Category 5 storm, here's tips to prepare your home: Make an evacuation plan, have enough food, take a photo tour of essential belongings for insurance.


As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, Gov. Rick Scott mobilized the National Guard and spoke with President Donald Trump.
-- Scott asked the president to to declare a pre-landfall emergency in Florida. That declaration would free up federal resources and funding to provide emergency measures such as raising beach dunes, building berms along canals and planning for evacuations. Trump has not yet officially declared an emergency, but Scott said that Trump “offered the full resources of the federal government as we get ready for this major storm” in the phone call late Monday.
-- All 7,000 members of the Florida National Guard were ordered to report for duty Friday. One hundred were activated Tuesday to begin preparations for landfall. The Florida National Guard is coordinating with guard units in other states to identify about 30,000 troops, 4,000 trucks and 100 helicopters that will be on standby to offer support in Hurricane Irma’s wake.
-- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission employees and assets sent to Texas to help with Hurricane Harvey have already returned or are in the process of returning. The FWC is now preparing search and rescue teams.
-- The Department of Economic Opportunity has activated its Private Sector Hotline at 850-815-4925. Businesses can call with questions about storm preparedness and information on what to do after Irma passes.
-- Scott has waived all weight restrictions on highways so emergency supplies can reach anywhere in the state.
-- Tolls are still in effect. The governor’s emergency declaration gives Department of Transportation Secretary Mike Dew the ability to waive tolls on roads in Florida, and several South Florida state lawmakers have asked that he do so.
-- The Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Department of Agriculture are running computer models to determine where to offer food and shelter based on a major hurricane hitting the state.
-- The South Florida Water Management District has started sending water south through its flood control system to lower water levels ahead of the storm. Additionally, inspections of the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee are ongoing. More inspections will begin when the lake reaches 17 feet. It’s currently just over 13.5 feet.
-- The Florida Department of Education is coordinating with school districts to determine whether to close schools and when to open as shelters.