DeSantis Declares State of Emergency for South Florida Flooding

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
June 12, 2024Weather
DeSantis Declares State of Emergency for South Florida Flooding
A driver blinks their hazard lights as heavy rain falls over parts of South Florida in Hollywood, Fla., on June 12, 2024. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald via AP)

Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in five counties on Wednesday following severe flooding and rainfall across southern Florida.

Dangerous flooding from a tropical disturbance dubbed Invest 90L by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) inundated much of the state, blocking roads and floating vehicles. An invest is a naming convention used during hurricane season.

“I have declared a state of emergency for Broward, Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade, and Sarasota counties due to major flooding from Invest 90L,” Mr. DeSantis wrote on the social media platform X.

Invest 90L swept across the Florida Peninsula in the early hours of June 11. According to the order, the weather system brought 10 to 15 inches of rain, impacting critical infrastructure such as major interstates, state and county roadways, airports, and schools.

The Miami branch of the NWS issued strong warnings to residents on Wednesday on X.

“Life-threatening flooding is now ongoing,” the agency said. “Please stay off the roadways and get to higher ground.”

At the time of publishing, the NHC’s latest outlook reported that an elongated area of low pressure currently over the Florida Peninsula is producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms.

The storm system was pushing across Florida from the Gulf of Mexico at roughly the same time as the start of hurricane season in early June.

The weather system hasn’t formed into a cyclone at this stage. The NHC reported that there was only a slight chance that it may form into a tropical system once it pushes into the Atlantic Ocean after crossing Florida.

“Regardless of development, heavy rainfall is forecast to continue across portions of the Florida peninsula during the next few days,” the NHC reported on Wednesday.

Mr. DeSantis said in the order that the situation is anticipated to worsen in the coming days, with additional rounds of heavy rain and thunderstorms expected.

NTD Photo
Water seeps into Sam Demarco’s home as a heavy downpour floods his neighborhood in Hollywood, Fla., on June 12, 2024. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald via AP)

The National Weather Service in Miami issued a warning of “life-threatening flooding” in the area on Wednesday afternoon. Residents were advised to seek higher ground, and drivers were urged to get off the roads.

To manage the emergency response, Mr. DeSantis appointed Kevin Guthrie, the director of the Division of Emergency Management, to coordinate the state’s response.

The declaration also authorizes the activation of the Florida National Guard and the Florida State Guard to aid in emergency response efforts.

According to the executive order, state agencies have the authority to suspend regulatory statutes and rules that might impede necessary actions to address the crisis.

NTD Photo
A bicyclist goes through flooded streets on Stirling Road near Federal Highway in Hollywood, Fla., on June 12, 2024. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

The Florida Division of Emergency Management has actively deployed requested resources to impacted communities, it announced on X.

“It’s never safe to enter floodwaters—and they’re especially dangerous at night. Turn around, don’t drown! Listen to all orders from local officials and have multiple ways to receive emergency alerts,” it said.

The executive order also allows medical professionals with valid licenses from other states to provide free services in Florida during the emergency, under the auspices of the American Red Cross or the Florida Department of Health.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that many people were stranded in their cars while traveling on flooded roads, while others experienced airport delays at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times