FEMA Director Deanne Criswell joined the White House Press Briefing today to discuss the latest with Hurricane Ian. 

The National Hurricane Center upgraded Hurricane Ian to a Category 3 storm this morning, predicting the storm will make landfall on the West Coast of Florida as a major hurricane, with winds up to 125 miles per hour. Some areas are expected to see up to 25 inches of rainfall, 10-foot storm surge, and post-landfall tornados. 

As of 1pm ET Tuesday, Ian was 200 miles off the coast of Sarasota, FL. 

Biden Calls Mayors, Not DeSantis
Director Criswell has been in communication with Governor DeSantis while Biden has been in direct communication with three Florida mayors in the projected path of the storm. Reporters’ questions about why Biden and DeSantis haven’t spoken were brushed off by Criswell, though reporters in the room did not let her easily off the hook, asking multiple follow up questions. 

Criswell assured reporters that, despite the obvious deviation from standard protocol, the response is well connected and collaborative. When asked what impact the Biden/DeSantis relationship would have on FEMA’s work, Criswell responded, “Zero.”

Concerns About the Storm Delay J6 Hearing
Perhaps the most unexpected impact of this storm is that the House (un)Select Committee on January 6 postponed its scheduled Wednesday hearing. 

“In light of Hurricane Ian bearing down on parts of Florida, we have decided to postpone tomorrow’s proceedings,” Reps Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney said in a joint statement. “We’re praying for the safety of all those in the storm’s path. The Select Committee’s investigation goes forward and we will soon announce a date for the postponed proceedings.”

Wednesday’s hearing would allegedly reveal new information, but the Committees’ Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) represents Central Floridians, which gave them a reason to postpone. 

Awesome – let’s drag this circus out even longer. 

Floridians are Hurricane Complacent
Central to Criswell’s remarks were concerns about complacency among Florida residents. 

“Get ready and do not underestimate the potential this storm can bring,” Criswell said, adding, “We’re talking about impacts in parts of Florida that haven't seen a direct impact in nearly 100 years.” 

Florida residents are definitely complacent when it comes to hurricanes. As a Florida resident for over a decade, and as a Colorado observer of the storm whose parents are currently hunkering down in Sarasota, the “it won’t happen to me” mentality is real. 

“If people are told to evacuate by their local officials, please listen to them. The decision you choose to make may be the difference between life and death,” Criswell said.

Prayers for everyone in the path of this storm.

We are praying for everyone in the path of this storm. For the latest updates on the hurricane, refer to the National Hurricane Center.