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Gov. DeSantis activates Florida State Guard ahead of weekend storms

Local resident Wayne Cox and friend Irma Parrilla, visiting from Orlando, brave gusty winds and drizzling rain to visit Matheson Hammock Park in Coral Gables, Fla., Friday, Dec. 15, 2023. It's beginning to look at lot like…hurricane season, at least across much of South Florida, where it's been windy and rainy for two days and the forecast predicts more of the same this busy holiday season weekend.
Rebecca Blackwell
/
AP
Local resident Wayne Cox and friend Irma Parrilla, visiting from Orlando, brave gusty winds and drizzling rain to visit Matheson Hammock Park in Coral Gables, Fla., Friday, Dec. 15, 2023. It's beginning to look at lot like…hurricane season, at least across much of South Florida, where it's been windy and rainy for two days and the forecast predicts more of the same this busy holiday season weekend.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday activated the Florida State Guard as a storm developed in the Gulf of Mexico and was forecast to cause rain, flooding and high winds over the weekend.

In a letter (seen below), DeSantis directed State Guard Director Mark Thieme to “mobilize whatever number of Florida State Guard members you deem necessary.”

DeSantis also directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management to prepare flood response and prevention equipment and advised people along the Gulf Coast to plan for flooding, strong wind gusts and isolated tornadoes.

The National Weather Service on Friday issued a series of alerts for the Gulf Coast involving coastal flooding, winds, heavy surf and rip currents.

Also, Duke Energy Florida said it was preparing to respond to power outages. “Forecasts show the potential for strong winds and heavy rain that could result in significant power outages throughout many parts of Florida,” Duke said in a news release. “Crews will begin power restoration as soon as conditions are safe to do so.”

DeSantis revived the long-dormant Florida State Guard last year, with one of its missions to help in situations such as storms.