Kay Ivey pledges aid to Florida as Hurricane Ian approaches coast

Hurricane Michael damage
An American flag flies amidst destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. [Photo Credit: AP Photo | Gerald Herbert]

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey phoned Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday to promise aid as Hurricane Ian is about to make landfall on the Florida Peninsula as a strong Category 4 Hurricane. Ivey called the storm “unprecedented” and told DeSantis, “that if they need, and we got it, then we’re going to send it.”

Earlier in the week, Alabama had been expected to possibly be impacted by Hurricane Ian, so Ivey and the Alabama emergency management team have been monitoring the storm’s progress. Ian took a more easterly track than expected and is now barreling down on Florida’s gulf coast. The storm has also strengthened and is now expected to make landfall as a strong Category 4 hurricane.

“Today, I expressed to Governor DeSantis that Alabama is committed to helping our friends in Florida,” Gov Ivey said in a statement. “Us Gulf Coast states are far too familiar with the wrath of Mother Nature, but this storm will, no doubt, be unprecedented. We continue taking steps to ensure we are offering our helping hand however we can. I pray for the people of Florida and anyone in the storm’s path. I told Governor DeSantis today that if they need it and we’ve got it, then we’re going to send it.”

Already, Governor Ivey approved emergency response vehicles such as, but not limited to, utility vehicles, bucket trucks and supply trucks responding to Hurricane Ian to have authority to bypass all ALDOT weigh station facilities through October 24, 2022. 17 electric co-ops and Alabama Power teams stand ready to assist. There are also three standby shelters, which would open in a capacity-triggered fashion. Any evacuees in the state are encouraged to dial 2-1-1 for information. Governor Ivey also shared that the Alabama Department of Tourism has established a QR code that evacuees can use to assist in locating available hotel rooms.

The White House reports that President Joe Biden has also spoken with Gov. DeSantis on Wednesday and is promising federal aid. The President has also held separate calls on Tuesday with Mayor Jane Castor of Tampa, Mayor Ken Welch of St. Petersburg, and Mayor Frank Hibbard of Clearwater to discuss preparations for the potential impacts from Hurricane Ian.

Biden said that he has directed FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell to ensure that all available federal support is available to prepare in advance and to respond in the aftermath of the storm to augment state and local emergency response efforts, and emphasized the importance of encouraging families to heed evacuation orders.

Biden stated on social media, “FEMA Administrator Criswell and I just called Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch, and Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard to discuss preparations for Hurricane Ian including the efforts we’re taking to encourage evacuations and pre-position resources for Florida. I’ve approved a Federal Emergency Declaration and have instructed Administrator Criswell to ensure that all available federal support is surged to Florida to prepare and respond to the Hurricane. I encourage Florida families to heed evacuation orders.”

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandonmreporter@gmail.com