DeSantis maintained normal schedule ahead of Sally’s impact on Panhandle

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses the impacts of Hurricane Sally in the state and its continued effects on the Panhandle as a tropical storm Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. Credit: via WINK News.

As the effects of Hurricane Sally began to slash the Panhandle on Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis was attending an event at the White House.

We reviewed the governor’s schedule for the days leading up to the storm. This was ahead of his news conference Wednesday afternoon.

The days prior, DeSantis had not held a news conference to address the storm, as Sally hit the northern Gulf Coast.

According to the governor’s office, while Florida was getting hit with a hurricane, DeSantis was in Washington D.C. at the request of the president.

The governor did issue states of emergency Monday for both Escambia and Santa Rosa counties to help get parts of Florida prepared for the hurricane.

The governor tweeted about the storm at 4:55 p.m. Tuesday, announcing he expanded the states of emergency order for the area.

As Sally moved across Southwest Florida over the past weekend as a tropical storm, it caused flooding across Sanibel Island and other parts of the region. At that time, the governor had three phone calls scheduled with the CDC and his chief of staff, nothing related to the storm or the communities.

“I also just want to say that, after this press conference, I am going to be signing an executive order declaring a state of emergency for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties,” DeSantis announced Tuesday during the press conference for the appointment of the new justice to the Florida Supreme Court.

Sally became a hurricane Monday. At the news conference for the Supreme Court nomination, DeSantis addressed the public about Hurricane Sally for the first time for a minute and 10 seconds.

“I don’t necessarily anticipate hurricane-force winds in those areas at this time,” DeSantis said. “You do have the potential to see a huge amount of raindrops over the next day, day and a half.”

That’s exactly what happened. Hurricane Sally sat right off Florida’s coast all day Tuesday, causing destruction in areas of the Panhandle, such as Pensacola, one of the hardest-hit cities.

The effects included 24 inches of rainfall and storm surge at five and a half feet.

During that time, DeSantis was being briefed behind the scenes while in Washington D.C. for an unrelated but historic peace signing ceremony with Israeli, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. His office told us that was also at the president’s request.

After the hurricane made landfall as a Category 2 in Alabama, DeSantis took time to warn Floridians. He did an interview Wednesday morning with The Weather Channel.

“This is not going to be a one- or two-day thing,” DeSantis told them. “People are going to have to be very vigilant.”

WATCH: DeSantis address Sally’s effects on Florida Wednesday afternoon

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