Gov. Ron DeSantis "no confirmed fatalities" from Hurricane Idalia in Florida
At a 12:30 p.m. press conference Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the eye of Hurricane Idalia had left the state of Florida with “no confirmed fatalities” as a direct result of the storm, so far.
He said this, in spite of two reported deadly car crashes — one in Gainesville and one in Pasco County. He said those two incidents have not gone through the confirmation process and might not be deemed storm related.
“Of course, we deal with this in every storm. What is a fatality that is a direct result of the storm, versus what would be something where, you know, you have a fatality that’s unfortunate but may not necessarily have a causal factor with the storm," the governor said.
He also said there are currently over 250,000 power outages being addressed, while another 262,000 accounts that have already been restored. Most of these cases are in the storm's main path, with some of the hardest-hit counties being Dixie, Levy, Taylor, Suwannee, Madison, Pasco, Jefferson, and Columbia.
At this point, Florida emergency teams leaders said they are focusing on assessing the aftermath of Idalia and responding to calls for assistance and rescue, but, so far, nothing they've seen is "even close" to what they saw last year after Hurricane Ian.
Major General John Haas said the Florida National Guard is "fully mobilized with approximately 5,500 soldiers and airmen supporting hurricane response."
On the traffic and roads side of the disaster, the Florida Department of Transportation Secretary, Jared Perdue, said there is still a lot of area to cover before final estimations on damages and needs can be made.
"We've been moving these resources into the impacted areas, so that we can quickly address the needs, get the cut and toss operations taken care of, and support the life safety mission," Haas said. "We have nearly 1,000 bridges that need to be inspected."
Perdue said they expect to be done with bridge and most traffic signal assessments today and that generators will be provided for traffic signals with outages to keep traffic flowing.
Lillian Hernández Caraballo is a Report for America corps member.