Gov. DeSantis defends SWFL evacuation orders

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis continued Saturday to defend the timing of evacuation orders by Southwest Florida officials amid lingering questions about whether they came too late for many residents. 

“They were following the data,” DeSantis said in Fort Myers, about Lee County emergency managers who ordered evacuations Tuesday morning, a day before the deadly storm raced into the county with what he had described as “biblical storm surge.” 

DeSantis recounted the shifting path of Hurricane Ian, which was seen as likely targeting Tampa Bay shortly before an eastward turn brought it further south along the Gulf Coast. 

“When we went to bed Monday night, people were saying this is a direct hit on Tampa Bay, worst case scenario for the state,” DeSantis said, adding that state and county officials have been reviewing how they evaluated the storm’s course. 

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