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DeSantis praises hurricane response, 'cautiously optimistic' for less devastation than 2022's Ian

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis joined "Hannity" to discuss Florida's response to Hurricane Idalia with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis – standing beside an 100-year-old oak tree that Hurricane Idalia felled onto the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee – said his state was well-prepared for the storm, and that despite its near-Category-4 status there were markedly fewer casualties than last year's Hurricane Ian.

DeSantis told Fox News that Idalia made landfall in the state's Big Bend as a very strong Category-3. He said the storm had been at Category-4 status until within 15 miles of the coast.

The cyclone ultimately made landfall near remote Keaton Beach in Taylor County, just southwest of the crossroads city of Perry. That area is known for its thick cedar swamps that line US-98 for many miles from Sopchoppy down toward Cedar Key.

DeSantis said that characteristic likely led to Idalia causing major debris to be strewn along in its path, adding that the affected areas typically rely on smaller or municipal power companies with less resources than bigger entities like Florida Power & Light.


"We've got a lot of linemen that are there to help with the – and a lot of this part of Florida that's without power," he said. "There are going to be some areas because there's massive amounts of debris with all the forests and everything like that. Some of the power lines got chopped up pretty good."

"So some of it's going to take a little bit more time than others will. But the bottom line is we have an overwhelming number of personnel that are on the ground working to restore everybody across the board."

On "Hannity," host Sean Hannity contrasted DeSantis' response to that of President Biden's to this and recent crises like the fires in Maui that destroyed the city of Lahaina, Hawaii and left more than 100 dead.

He said DeSantis "showed up," unlike Biden, who he criticized for preparing to spend yet another long weekend on vacation at the beach in Sussex County, Del. 


Biden was notably ridiculed for responding "no comment" when asked initially about the Maui fires earlier this month. Prior to DeSantis' appearance, Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, further criticized the president for having yet to fulfill his promise to visit the community of East Palestine, Ohio. 

It has been more than a year-and-a-half since a Norfolk-Southern train derailment created a toxic situation in Columbiana County, Ohio and neighboring Beaver County, Pa. – where Vance said long-term, dangerous effects remain.

"We were ready for this," DeSantis later told Fox News, reporting that the state government staged the Florida National Guard and had 1.2 million emergency gallons of gasoline on-hand in case there are shortages.


He said there has not been the sizable loss of life as seen after Hurricane Ian ravaged Sanibel Island and Fort Myers on the Gulf Coast mainland last year.

Most of the people did evacuate. And so we're cautiously optimistic that we're going to end up OK on that."

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis confirmed earlier on X, formerly known as Twitter, that she and the rest of the first family were at home at the time the oak tree struck the governor's mansion, but were unscathed.

"Mason, Madison, Mamie and I were home at the time, but thankfully no one was injured. Our prayers are with everyone impacted by the storm," Mrs. DeSantis said.

The cyclone later crossed through Georgia and is now affecting South Carolina as a tropical storm. Some models project it moving out into the Atlantic, potentially eventually affecting Hamilton, BM.

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