Hurricane Ian battered Florida Wednesday, a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 mph and gusts nearing 200. More than 2.5 million people were ordered to evacuate and tens of thousands were already without power before the storm even made landfall.
President Biden said he was in contact with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and mayors in the area in an attempt to coordinate the response. Biden said FEMA and the National Guard were already activated and ready to help with food, water, generators and shelters.
“The storm warnings are real, the evacuation notices are real, the danger is real and when the storm passes, the federal government is going to be there to help you recover,” Biden said Wednesday morning. “We’ll be there to help you clean up and rebuild, to help Florida get moving again, and we’ll be there at every step of the way. That’s my absolute commitment to the people of the state of Florida.”
On Wednesday morning, DeSantis said it was no longer possible for residents to safely evacuate and instead urged them “to hunker down and prepare for this storm."
“This is a powerful storm that should be treated like you would treat if a tornado was approaching your home,” he said. DeSantis encouraged residents to get off the roads and make use of the “more than 200 shelters open in just the southwest Florida region alone.”
“This is not just a 48-hour ordeal, this is something that’s going to be there for days and weeks and months,” DeSantis added. “And unfortunately, in some circumstances, even years.”
See photos of the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian below.