Hurricane Michael declared a major disaster in Florida

Posted at 1:37 PM, Oct 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-11 19:38:55-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- Following Governor Rick Scott’s request, President Donald Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Michael on Thursday.

Governor Scott is in constant communication with federal, state and local emergency management officials and state agency leaders to ensure the state is prepared to respond to Hurricane Michael. On October 7th, Governor Scott declared a state of emergency in 26 Florida counties, and expanded it to include 35 counties total on October 8th.




The State Emergency Response Team estimates that more than 375,000 Floridians were ordered to evacuate.


Currently 38 shelters are open. Visit to find information on shelters in your area. 


More than 19,000 power restoration personnel have been pre-positioned and are ready to respond.
Prior to Hurricane Michael’s impact, Governor Scott has called on every local government to immediately confirm their mutual aid agreements between investor-owned utilities, municipals and co-ops are in place and effective so there is no delay in power restoration for Floridians. These agreements allow municipal utilities to receive aid from investor-owned utilities and co-ops as they work to restore power to customers. Without these agreements in place ahead of time, power restoration will be delayed. To view the full list of Florida utilities with agreements in place, click HERE [].
The current power outage as of 9:00 a.m. is 400,666.


At Governor Scott’s direction, the Florida National Guard has activated 3,500 soldiers and airmen for pre-landfall coordination and planning, with an emphasis on high water and search and rescue operations.
Through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), the Florida National Guard has coordinated for 15 aviation assets from nine other states, including six CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the New York, Mississippi, Maryland and Ohio National Guards to augment our aviation capabilities, as well as nine UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters were also coordinated through the New York, Wisconsin, Colorado, Louisiana, Kansas National Guards.
The Florida National Guard is performing a variety of missions, including staffing 12 shelters, preparing 30 Points of Distribution (PODs), running two Logistics Staging Areas (LSAs) in Tallahassee and Eglin and staffing the State Logistics Readiness Center (SLRC) in Orlando.
The Florida National Guard has more than 1,000 high water vehicles, 13 helicopters and 16 boats and is preparing for possible missions to include humanitarian assistance, security operations, and search and rescue.
The Florida National Guard will continue to work closely with civilian partner agencies, other National Guard states and active duty counterparts.


More than 1,000 State Law Enforcement Officers have been deployed to impacted areas in the Panhandle and Big Bend.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has assembled teams with 150 officers from outside the impacted area that are deploying to Bay, Gulf and Jackson counties. They are responding with a variety of specialized equipment, including shallow draft boats, ATVs, airboats and four wheel drive vehicles. An additional team of 60 officers is being built currently to respond.
FWC staff and partners are setting up a command post in Marianna at the Jackson County Emergency Operations Center.
One FWC helicopter is up out of Milton, surveying Bay and Gulf counties.
The first wave of approximately 60 FWC officers and five support staff is currently staging at Ocala Fire College for early Thursday morning deployment to storm affected areas.
An additional force of approximately 18 FWC officers is staged in Pensacola ready to deploy to Bay County to assist with recovery and reconnaissance missions.
A second wave of approximately 60 FWC officers and five support staff are on their way to the Florida Public Safety Institute to be ready to deploy.
A 15-member FWC Special Operations Group has joined National Guard and Florida Fire Service USAR teams to create highly specialized urban search and rescue units to address immediate post-storm rescue needs in storm affected areas. These teams will deploy to Bay County.
FWC Special Operations Group (SOG) teams will be deploying to perform reconnaissance efforts to provide Emergency Operations Centers with up to date post-storm information and assessments.
The Florida Highway Patrol has activated Alpha / Bravo for field troops throughout the state. This activation will result in regular days off being cancelled and 24-Hour enhanced coverage.
The Florida Highway Patrol has 600 state troopers assigned to the Panhandle and Big Bend area of Florida to assist with response and recovery.
The Florida Highway Patrol currently has 24/7 representation within the State Emergency Operations Center coordinating preparation, response and recovery efforts. The Florida Highway Patrol is also staffing numerous County Emergency Operations Centers.
The Florida Highway Patrol has activated Alpha / Bravo for field troops throughout the state. This activation has resulted in regular days off being cancelled and 24-Hour enhanced coverage.
The Florida Highway Patrol will maintain high visibility on Interstate-10 and other roadways to assist motorists, clear roadways and will routinely check rest areas to assist residents and visitors.
The Florida Highway Patrol has deployed two MRAPs (high clearance recovery vehicles) to clear trees and debris from Interstate-10 and other main corridors.
The Florida Highway Patrol has deployed an aircraft with live streaming capabilities to assess response and recovery needs.
The Florida Highway Patrol has deployed two small unmanned aerial vehicles with livestreaming capabilities to assess road and bridge response and recovery needs.
The Florida Highway Patrol is providing security escorts to utility crews responding to the recovery area.
DHSMV’s Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobiles are on standby to assist customers impacted by the storm.
FDLE’s Mutual Aid Team is coordinating missions to assist local agencies with escort, evacuation, traffic control and security details.
FDLE and other statewide law enforcement partners are working 24-hours at SEOC and in the Pensacola and Tallahassee regions. 
10 FDLE deployment teams are assisting law enforcement following Hurricane Michael. 
Regional FDLE law enforcement coordination teams (RLECTS) are coordinating with urban search and rescue teams to get into impacted areas.


There are more than 1,000 search and rescue personnel deploying to the impacted areas. They are bringing:
11 Urban Search and Rescue teams with more than 400 personnel.
5 fire engine strike teams with 50 fire engines and 110 firefighters.
Two Reconnaissance teams.
A Florida Fire Forest Service Incident Management Gold Team.
7 swift water rescue teams.
The State of Florida has activated five urban search and rescue task forces and resources to various strategic locations to prepare for response. An additional four task forces from the states of Mississippi and Louisiana will supplement in state teams with operations in the affected areas.  
CFO Jimmy Patronis has activated or placed on alert seven out of eight state Search and Rescue task forces in preparation for Hurricane Michael’s landfall.


FDOT is currently deploying crews and equipment from around the state to assess damage to, and safety of critical infrastructure, and to clear access to affected areas as soon as possible.
Governor Scott directed the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to suspend tolls effective immediately in the Northwest Florida region. Tolls will be suspended at the following facilities: Mid-Bay Bridge and Spence Parkway (Okaloosa County), Garcon Point Bridge (Santa Rosa County), Bob Sikes Toll Bridge (Escambia County), and Orchard Pond Parkway (Leon County).
FDOT has suspended all construction operations from the roadways in the counties under the state of emergency.
FDOT is coordinating with the Florida Highway Patrol reopening bridges and roadways when clear and safe to travel.
FDOT is monitoring roadways and identifying bridge inspectors statewide.
FDOT has placed standby generators for traffic signal support.
FDOT issued an Emergency Road Use Permit letter to relieve size and weight restrictions for vehicles responding to Hurricane Michael.
FDOT issued Weigh Station Bypass letter to allow emergency response vehicles such as utility vehicles and bucket trucks to bypass all FDOT weigh stations.
Port of Pensacola and Port of Panama City have closed.
FDOT is coordinating with utility companies to coordinate post storm clean-up activities.
Roads and bridges in impacted areas have closed. Please visit for the latest information.


The state is working to ensure adequate food resources are available for Florida residents impacted by Hurricane Michael, prioritizing based upon need. Specific activities include the following:
Approximately 2 million meals ready to eat are prepared to be distributed
Approximately 1 million gallons of water is prepared to be distributed.
Approximately 40,000 10-pound bags of ice is prepared to be distributed or has been distributed.


The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) is continuing to monitor the storm and regularly sharing information with waiver support coordinators and providers to ensure the health and safety of the customers the agency serves.
APD is also checking on individuals with developmental disabilities who live in their own homes to ensure they are prepared for the hurricane.
APD has canceled all guest reservations for the week for William J. Rish Recreational Park in Gulf County. The facility will be closed beginning Tuesday.
APD is making Hawkins Park in Santa Rosa County available to utility trucks as a staging area.
The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is actively communicating with ESF-8 leadership in the counties within the area of operations.
DOH is in contact with hospitals and other health care facilities within the area of operations to determine operational status.
DOH is monitoring and supporting Special Needs Shelter operations through census reporting and resource support as requested by local emergency operations.
Critical patients within the impact zone have been air lifted from damaged health care facilities to receiving hospitals.
DOH has 20 Ambulance Strike Teams and has activated the FEMA ambulance contract for a total of 400 Advanced Life Support (ASL) ambulances to assist with rescue operations, health care facility evacuations, and local EMS augmentation. DOH also has:
50 nurses augmenting local special needs shelter staff;
Three federal Disaster Medical Assistant Teams (DMAT) with a total of105 staff;
Activated a hospital augmentation team from the International Medical Corp including 50 nurses, two hospital emergency department teams and one emergency hospital.
Ambulance strike teams are actively evacuating patients from damaged health care facilities to receiving hospitals. This will continue until all patients have been evacuated to safety.
To prepare for, respond to, and mitigate any effect of Hurricane Michael, DOH issued an emergency order allowing health care professionals with a valid, unrestricted and unencumbered license in any state, territory, and/or district to render services in Florida during a period not to exceed thirty days (unless extended).
Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced steps taken to support Florida in response to Hurricane Michael, including:
Temporarily waiving or modifying certain Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP requirements,
Making special enrollment periods available for certain individuals seeking health plans offered through the Florida Health Insurance Exchange,
Helping patients obtain access to life-saving services such as dialysis.
The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is in contact with healthcare facilities to ensure they have the resources they need.  
AHCA will hold a joint call with the Florida Health Care Association and all residential and inpatient healthcare facilities including all areas of the panhandle and east to Jacksonville. AHCA and the Florida Hospital Association will hold a joint call with all hospitals in the panhandle.
AHCA has activated the Emergency Status System (ESS) for health care facilities in the panhandle to enter their storm preparedness status including generators and utility company information, emergency contacts, and bed availability.
All nursing homes and assisted living facilities are required to keep residents in a safe environment in an emergency to ensure the protection of resident health, safety, welfare, and comfort. 
Facilities are required to have a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan approved and on file with the local emergency management agencies.
Nursing facilities all have back-up power that can power medical equipment and refrigeration for medicine and food. 
Additionally, facilities are required to have an emergency power plan in place to ensure that resident occupied area temperatures do not exceed 81 degrees. These plans include onsite generators, delivered generators, or shifting populations to locations that can maintain comfortable temperatures.
As part of licensure, facilities are responsible for the health and safety of their patients.
The State is here to serve as a resource to connect facilities to the local emergency management officials to make sure needs are being met.
AHCA staff has reached out to all hospital CEOs and all residential health care facilities in the panhandle.
The Department of Elder Affairs continues communication with directors and emergency coordinators at the affected Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs).
AAAs and Lead Agency staff assisted with getting frail and vulnerable seniors to special needs shelters and also coordinated with other clients to ensure that they were prepared in advance of the storm or had evacuated as appropriate.
Home-delivered meal recipients in affected areas were provided extra shelf-stable meals.
DOEA assists DOH with staffing and other efforts at Special Needs Shelters. The Director and Deputy Director of DOEA’s CARES Bureau are at Special Needs Shelters to assist with assessment of clients and the appropriate discharge plans following the storm.
DOEA and our partners throughout the Aging Network stand ready to identify and assist with unmet needs of seniors in the storm’s path.
The Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs (FDVA) operates six skilled nursing facilities and one assisted living facility.
Restoration efforts are underway at the Clifford C. Sims State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Panama City. Support teams from other State Veterans’ Homes are assisting in support and recovery
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports VA Outpatient Clinics in Pensacola, Panama City Beach,  Eglin AFB, Marianna, Tallahassee and Perry are closed today. Patient appointments have been rescheduled.
The following national VA hotlines are available to assist Veterans:
Veteran Disaster Hotline: 1-800-507-4571 (24/7 operations)
Pharmacy Customer Care: 1-855-574-7288 (8:00 am – 4:30 pm EST)
Veterans Benefits Administration Hotline: 1-800-827-1000
Vet Center/Counseling: 1-877-WAR-VETS
The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is working with courts in Florida Panhandle counties to sign blanket travel approvals for all foster parents to evacuate with children in foster care.
DCF has ordered an early release of food assistance benefits for those Florida residents in the 35 counties included in the emergency order who would have received normal SNAP benefits between now and October 28th.
A team from FEMA including experts from Homeland Security, the EPA, the Department of Defense, Health and Human Services, and the Army Corps of Engineers is now in Florida and providing federal assistance.


The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will begin making secondary contact with high-priority regulated facilities to conduct post storm assessments. Two emergency final orders  have been issued to ensure recovery efforts are not hampered or delayed.
DEP has activated and is closely monitoring StormTracker, a reporting tool for water and waste water facilities to provide updates on their operational status.
Silver Springs State Park in Ocala is serving as a staging area for utility crews being deployed to the impacted area.
Florida State Parks is deploying strike teams to clear debris and assist individuals in impacted state parks.
The U.S. Coast Guard in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting fly overs to assess coastal areas.  
An online tool [] for the public to report the location of storm debris in waterways has been deployed.
As soon as conditions are safe, the state’s beach assessments will begin.
235 Disaster Debris Management Sites have been pre-authorized for the counties addressed by the Governor’s Executive Order.
Florida State Park closures can be found at
DEP’s Florida Park Service has opened areas to dry camp for self-contained rigs – usually parking lots without utility connections - at some state parks for evacuees on a first come, first served basis with waived overnight fees. A list of open parks and contact information to check for availability can be found at [].  



·     The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) is in contact with school districts, state colleges and universities for updates and to determine needs before, during and after emergency events. All school districts, colleges and universities are monitoring Hurricane Michael and collaborating with local emergency preparedness officials to make decisions that ensure student and staff safety.

·         The following school districts have announced closures:

o   Baker will be closed Wednesday (10/10) and Thursday (10/11).   

o   Bay will be closed Tuesday (10/9) - Thursday (10/11).

o   Bradford will be closed Wednesday (10/10) and Thursday (10/11).

o   Calhoun will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Thursday (10/11).

o   Citrus will be closed Tuesday (10/9) - Thursday(10/11).

o   Dixie will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Thursday (10/11).

o   o   Florida A&M High will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Friday (10/12).  

o   Florida State University Schools (Florida High) will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Friday (10/12).

o   Franklin will be closed Tuesday (10/9) - Friday (10/12).

o   Gadsden will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Friday (10/12).  

o   Gilchrist will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Thursday (10/11). 

o   Gulf will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Friday (10/12) and will re-open after Fall Break, on Wednesday, 10/17.

o   Hamilton will be closed Wednesday (10/10) and Thursday (10/11).   

o   Holmes will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Thursday (10/11).

o   Jackson will be closed Tuesday (10/9) - Thursday (10/11).  

o   Lafayette will be closed Wednesday (10/10) and Thursday (10/11).

o   Leon will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Friday (10/12).

o   Levy will be closed Wednesday (10/10) and Thursday (10/11).

o   Liberty will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Thursday (10/11).  

o   Madison will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Thursday (10/11).

o   Okaloosa will be closed Tuesday (10/9) - Thursday (10/11).

o   Suwannee will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Thursday (10/11).

o   Taylor will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Thursday (10/11).

o   Union will be closed Wednesday (10/10) and Thursday (10/11).

o   Wakulla will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Friday (10/12).

o   Walton will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Thursday (10/11).

o   Washington will have early release Tuesday (10/9) and remain closed through Thursday (10/11).



The following state colleges and universities have announced closures:

o   Chipola College will be closed Tuesday (10/9) - Thursday (10/11).

o   Florida A&M University will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Friday (10/12). 

o   Florida Gateway College will be closed through Thursday (10/11).

o   Florida State University will be closed Tuesday (10/9) – Friday (10/12).  

o   Gulf Coast State College closed at 5 p.m. Monday (10/8) and remain closed Tuesday (10/9) - Thursday (10/11).

o   North Florida Community College closed at 3 p.m. Tuesday (10/9) and remain closed Wednesday (10/10) and Thursday (10/11).

o   Northwest Florida State College will be closed Tuesday (10/9) - Thursday(10/11).

o   Tallahassee Community College will be closed Tuesday (10/9) through Friday, 10/12.


The following Division of Blind Services (DBS) and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) offices are closed through Friday (10/12):

o   Alachua (DVR): 2610 NW 43rd Street, Gainesville

o   Alachua (DBS): 3620 NW 43rd Street, Gainesville  

o   Bay (DVR & DBS): 2505 West 15th Street, Panama City

o   Citrus (DVR): 204 South Apopka Avenue, Inverness

o   Columbia (DVR): 1389 U.S. Highway 90 West, Lake City

o   Dixie (DVR): 25821 SE 19 Highway, Old Town

o   Escambia (DVR & DBS): 600 University Office Boulevard, Pensacola

o   Gadsden (DVR): 305 West Crawford Street, Qunincy

o   Hernando (DVR): 7361 Forest Oaks Boulevard, Spring Hill

o   Hillsborough (DVR): 9215 North Florida Avenue, Tampa

o   Hillsborough (DVR): 510 Vonderburg Drive, Brandon

o   Hillsborough (DVR): 1702 South Alexander Street, Plant City

o   Hillsborough (DVR, DBS & Migrant Worker): 1313 Tampa Street, Tampa

o   Jackson (DVR): 4743B Highway 90 East, Marianna

o   Leon (DBS): 4972 Woodville Highway, Tallahassee

o   Leon (DVR & DBS): 1320 Executive Center Drive, Tallahassee  

o   Leon (DVR): 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee

o   Manatee (DVR & DBS): 600 8th Avenue West, Tallahassee

o   Okaloosa (DVR): 119 Beal Parkway, Fort Walton Beach

o   Pasco (DVR): 4440-5636 Trouble Creek Road, New Port Richey

o   Pasco (DVR): 15000 Citrus Country Drive, Dade City

o   Pinellas (DVR): 701 94th Avenue North, St. Petersburg

o   Pinellas (DVR): 525 Mirror Lake Drive, St. Petersburg

o   Pinellas (DVR): 11351 Ulmerton Road, Largo

o   Suwannee (DVR): 1431 North Ohio Avenue, Live Oak


       The following Office of Early Learning office is closed through Friday (10/12):

o   Leon: 250 Marriott Drive, Tallahassee


       The following Board of Governors office is closed through Friday (10/12):

o   Leon: 107 West Gaines Street, Tallahassee


Districts are opening shelters as needed; for a list of Florida shelters, visit


FDOE will be posting up-to-date information regarding closures and meeting cancellations at



The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated at a level one, which is a full-scale, 24-hours-a-day activation.
The State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) contact number is 1-800-342-3557.
The State Emergency Operations Center Media Line: 850-921-0217.
Follow @FLSert or @FLGovScott on Twitter for live updates on Hurricane Michael.
Visit to find information on shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.



Severe weather alerts on your smartphone

Scripps National Desk
2:00 PM, Nov 29, 2018

About Us

Download the Fox 4 Free Mobile Apps


Danny Odette
Elsa Peter
Grace Sam
Ida Victor
Julian Wanda


Tropical Storm WATCH: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified coastal area within 48 hours.

Tropical Storm WARNING: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within the specified coastal area within 36 hours.

Hurricane WATCH: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible somewhere within the specified coastal area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

Hurricane WARNING: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area. A hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.