Hurricane Ian prompts state of emergency

September 27, 2022

Land Line Staff


Hurricane Ian strengthened into a Category 3 storm as it made landfall in Cuba early Tuesday morning.

The storm could affect the Florida Keys and South Florida as early as tonight, said a news release from the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

An emergency declaration authorizing FEMA to support the state’s response efforts was enacted on Sept. 23. In addition, Florida activated 2,500 National Guard members to help with response efforts.

Within that state order was the suspension of tolls, registration requirements, permit requirements, and size and weight restrictions for commercial motor vehicles. The executive director of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles also may waive the hours-of-service requirements for vehicles assisting emergency relief efforts.

The Alabama DOT has authorized supply trucks responding to the Hurricane Ian emergency to bypass weigh station facilities through Oct. 24. The authorization does not include vehicles that require permits to operate on Alabama highways. It also does not ease size and weight restrictions.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency issued its own emergency in preparation of potential effects.

FEMA is positioning supplies – including 1 million liters of water, 480,000 meals and over 7,000 cots – in strategic locations in Florida and Alabama. The National Response Coordination Center and Region 4 Response Coordination Center have been activated, while three Incident Management Teams have been deployed to Atlanta by FEMA.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers power restoration team has been deployed ahead of the storm and a contract for 52 ambulances and 100 paratransit seats are activated and will be staged at the Orange County Convention Center.

Evacuation orders have been issued for the Tampa area, the Port of Key West has closed and Tampa International Airport planned to suspend operations at 5 p.m. Eastern on Sept. 27.

Illinois waiver

Outside of the southeast, Illinois was among the first states to issue a transportation waiver for those assisting with Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

According to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, “Vehicles traveling in convoys to Florida in response to the restoration of electric, water or other utility services critical to life and safety as a result of Hurricane Ian, may bypass all open weigh stations within the state of Illinois.”

The lead vehicle in the convoy must pull into the scale and advise the truck weighing inspector or Illinois State Police officer at the scale of the convoy and their intended destination.

Vehicles exceeding legal size and weight limits must comply with Illinois permitting requirements and order a permit online through the Illinois Transportation Automated Permits system.

Additional states could issue similar orders. Land Line will update its coverage as those details become available. LL

More Land Line coverage of Florida.