Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday said the state was hit with a “500-year flood event” one day after Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida.
“We’ve never seen a flood event like this,” he said at a news briefing in the state’s capital, Tallahassee. “We’ve never seen a storm surge of this magnitude.”
Although Hurricane Ian hit southwest Florida the hardest, DeSantis said that counties in central Florida are “looking at potential major flooding.”
“The amount of water that’s been rising and will likely continue to rise today even as the storm is passing is basically a 500-year flood event,” DeSantis said.
Gov. Ron DeSantis gives an update on Hurricane Ian: “The amount of water that’s been rising … is basically a 500-year flood event.”
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) September 29, 2022
He also highlighted the influx of resources the state has received in the past day and praised Floridians for their resiliency.
“The response here and the way people have reacted has been very impressive,” DeSantis added.
Florida first lady Casey DeSantis said the state raised $2 million in 24 hours to help the hurricane’s victims.
Hurricane Ian hit Florida as a strong category-four storm on Wednesday, with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, the Hill reported.
Ian has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, but Florida officials warned that the wind and rain are still dangerous.
DeSantis also announced he spoke with President Joe Biden, who declared a major disaster for nine Florida counties. DeSantis reportedly plans to ask Biden to expand the emergency declaration to more counties, allowing Florida residents to receive individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“This storm is having broad impacts across the state and some of the flooding you’re going to see in areas hundreds of miles from where this made landfall are going to set records, and that’s going to obviously be things that will need to be responded to,” DeSantis said at his press conference.
The storm left more than 2.5 Floridians without power and caused structural damage to several vital pieces of infrastructure, including the Sanibel Causeway, which connects the Sanibel Islands to the mainland.