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DeSantis: No Confirmed Fatalities from Hurricane Idalia

Over 250,000 Floridians are currently without power, the governor said at his first press conference on the impact from the hurricane on Wednesday.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis issued an update on Hurricane Idalia after the eye of the storm moved beyond the state of Florida on Wednesday afternoon.

“The state is still being impacted by the storm’s bands and we’re seeing that particularly in the northern part of the state,” DeSantis said at a press conference.

The governor said that as of 12:30 pm, over 250,000 Floridians were without power. Fortunately, 262,000 residents have seen their electricity come back on following a power outage.

“Utility workers are currently working to restore power in affected areas. They started doing that as soon as it was safe to do so,” DeSantis said. “We do anticipate you could have those power outage numbers go higher, but the restoration numbers are going to go higher as well.”

Eight search and rescue teams have been deployed and 5,500 members of the Florida National Guard are assisting the counties most impacted by the storm, helping to clear debris off major roadways.

As of 12:30 pm, no deaths have been confirmed – but the governor pointed out that the confirmation process requires reviews from law enforcement and a medical examiner.

“That has not been done yet, where we’ve had a confirmation,” he said. “There have been unconfirmed reports of traffic fatalities. […] Those may end up becoming confirmed.”

The Tampa International Airport will reopen at 4 pm for incoming flights and fully reopen early Thursday morning. Gainesville airport will reopen Wednesday evening and Tallahassee airport will reopen early Thursday morning.

“We’re still assessing what is all going on on the ground in the places that had the initial impact,” DeSantis said, adding that he expects to travel to the hardest-hit counties later in the day. “We’ve got a lot of people going in, offering assistance from the state perspective, helping these counties be able to stabilize the situation.”

Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said the state is working to mitigate significant storm damages in Perry.

“In Perry, right now we know we have a couple of businesses that caught on fire, a few that have roofs knocked off of them,” Guthrie said. “Maybe, potentially, one collapse – we’re getting some conflicting information on that [report].”

Guthrie said roughly 99 percent of residents in Madison county are without power.

“All 9-1-1 calls have been answered,” Guthrie added. “There is no one [currently] in distress. The ones who were in distress we got folks to immediately.”

Guthrie added: “We have a lot of people calling 9-1-1 saying: ‘I’m trapped in my house. I’m okay, but I need help.’ … We’re going to get help to those folks just as soon as we can get our emergency access teams in to them.”