“Search and rescue remains a top priority,” - FEMA

Hurricane Ian makes landfall near Ft. Myers, Florida
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell giving press an update on Hurricane Ian.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell giving press an update on Hurricane Ian.
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 3:35 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Hurricane Ian is dumping rain and threatening a historically dangerous storm surge on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday morning that it is ready to respond to the potentially devastating major hurricane.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said, “Search and rescue remains a top priority.”

Criswell said search and rescue teams are staged in Miami. She urged people to listen to local evacuation orders, but said for some it is now too late.

Criswell said, “for those people who didn’t evacuate and are now being asked to stay in place, they need to make sure that they’re getting to high ground.”

National Weather Service Director Ken Graham said that’s because Hurricane Ian could take up to 24 hours to pass over Florida, dumping up to two feet of rain in some areas and driving up to an 18 foot storm surge.

“That’s a lot of water. That’s dangerous, life threatening amount of storm surge.,” Graham said. “This is going to be a storm we talk about for many years to come.”

President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency for Florida last week, freeing up federal funds days ahead of Hurricane Ian’s arrival. Wednesday, President Biden said he spoke with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

President Biden said, “I made it clear to the governor and the mayors that the federal government is ready to help in every single way possible.”

As FEMA tracks the hurricane from Washington, DC, the agency said fuel, food, water, and more than a thousand response workers are pre-positioned in and around Florida.