Every year Floridians have to look forward (they actually don’t) to the start of the dreaded hurricane season. The 2023 hurricane season started on June 1st and will last until November 30th, and while the season is expected to be mild, hurricanes are unpredictable and even a mild season can produce a storm making landfall. Florida appears to be ready for the next big storm.
Florida lawmakers like Sen. Rick Scott have been front and center, reminding residents to prepare for the season and to remember that Florida always finds itself to be in the path of these storms.
The Division of Emergency Management (DEM), which is led by Director Kevin Guthrie, is the state agency that is tasked with preparing and responding to storms.
The State of Florida is prepared to assist in the event that another storm like Hurricane Ian makes landfall anywhere in the state, and has partnered up with firms like KPMG support the state’s Division of Emergency Management (DEM).
The Floridian spoke to Chad Poppell, who served in both the Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis administrations and the managing director at KPMG, who said that his firm is a” long-term partner with DEM” and is currently “monitoring the rebuild process” that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is currently managing,
So there's a couple of storms (Hurricanes Ian and Michael), you know, the storms, as I said, rebuild takes a while and so there are programs ongoing at DEO to try to get the money and the homeowners made as whole as possible,” said Poppell. “And so our involvement is we really support those operations. We try to help them innovate where we can. They've done a lot of really neat things.”
As we mentioned, Florida of late has been hit by several hurricanes, and as Poppell says, “it's unfortunate that we get a lot of practice” when it comes to recovery efforts after a storm makes landfall.
Does practice make perfect?
Not really when it comes to hurricanes but the state has improved in its efforts to keep Floridians safe, before, during, and after a storm like Ian hits. Poppell also praised the efforts of Gov. Ron DeSantis and DEM Director Guthrie, calling their restoration of the Sanibel Island bridge “historic.”
“The stuff director Guthrie pulled off after the last storm. Yeah, again, again, I highlight the bridge, but that was kind of a historic kind of turnaround. It was really impressive,” he said.
“I gotta say that response efforts are getting faster, they're getting better, you know, for instance, the bridge being put back to Sanibel Island in such a short period of time. I mean the state's getting really good at that sort of immediate response and aid. And that's, you know, total of course of time which keeps kind of sharpening the saw there,” added Poppell.
But even with the state being better at helping Floridians recover from a storm, the overall recovery process is lengthy, and as Poppell points out, getting back to “a normal life” does not happen overnight, in a couple of weeks, or even a few months.
“And as you know, if you've been to some of these places a little later, it's not like they get rebuilt right away. It turns into contractors and building projects and all that sort of thing. And it's a ways down the line before people can kind of return to a normal life and so it's my hope that we're all getting a continue to get a little better, a little more sophisticated about how things work. As the storms are coming in,” concluded Poppell.
With their already being one named storm days into the 2023 hurricane season, could the expected quiet season turn out to be a lot more active than anticipated?