Friday, June 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Feds turn tables on Florida Gov. Rick Scott, deny storm money

TALLAHASSEE — Time after time since taking office, Gov. Rick Scott has boasted of rejecting billions of dollars from the federal government. Now, Washington has turned the tables, shutting down Scott's plea for financial aid in a move that almost instantly took on political tones.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency refused Scott's request for a presidential declaration of disaster for damages caused by Tropical Storm Isaac, declining to provide $26.9 million in aid to hard-hit counties.

Scott moved this week to appeal the decision, but not before the issue was cast in a political light, highlighting Florida's importance in the presidential election and the rocky relationship between Washington and the Sunshine State.

"Today, I asked the Division of Emergency Management to appeal the denial to ensure Florida communities have the full capability to recover from Isaac's damage," Scott wrote to FEMA's director, Craig Fugate, this week. The letter states that the damage to Monroe, Broward, Palm Beach, Collier, Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Franklin and Martin counties is actually about $10 million worse than originally thought, or about $36.6 million.

The Republican Party of Florida quickly blasted President Barack Obama for not "redistributing" money to storm victims.

Scott originally wrote to Obama and Fugate to request aid about two weeks after Isaac — which became a hurricane days after sideswiping Florida — caused flooding in Palm Beach County and the Panhandle. Fugate, who served as director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management from 2001-09, this week let Scott know his request had been denied.

Fugate's letter stated that the damage was not severe enough to require federal aid, and basically argued that Florida could handle the costs on its own.

The rejection is the latest dust-up in a tenuous relationship between Scott and the federal government.

Shortly after coming into office, Scott rejected more than $2 billion in federal funds aimed at building a high-speed rail line. Obama criticized Scott for the snub, saying he thought it was "wrong."

Scott helped support the U.S. Supreme Court challenge to Obama's federal health care reform this year. When the Supreme Court upheld most of the law in June, Scott said Florida would not accept billions of federal dollars to expand Florida's Medicaid rolls.

Scott also has battled Washington over early voting changes and purging noncitizens from the voter rolls.

The Republican Party of Florida quickly parlayed Scott's spat with FEMA into a critique of Obama, who could effectively seal his re-election bid by winning Florida's 29 electoral votes.

"Earlier this week we learned that President Obama 'believes in redistribution,' but this doesn't seem to apply to Florida or the victims of Hurricane Isaac," state GOP chairman Lenny Curry said in a statement.

Scott spokeswoman Melissa Sellers chimed in as well: "It is disappointing that the president would reject one-time disaster assistance for those who sustained losses from Isaac, which has the bipartisan support from officials across the state."

Scott has pointed out that U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, both Democrats, supported the request for federal aid.

Asked if politics played a role in the decision, FEMA would only say that it determined Florida had the resources to pay for the damages on its own.

FEMA did provide disaster aid for Louisiana and Mississippi, which had significant flooding after Isaac. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal objected that the approved funding was not sufficient. On Friday, FEMA announced that it had approved a disaster declaration for Alabama, which also was hit by Isaac.

It's the second time since June that FEMA has turned down Scott's request for aid. After heavy rains caused flooding in the Florida Panhandle in early June, Scott wrote letters to FEMA and Obama requesting federal intervention.

FEMA turned down the request, prompting an appeal from Scott. That, also, was rejected.

Comments
Romano: You better hope Iím wrong about flood insurance

Romano: You better hope Iím wrong about flood insurance

Chances are, Iíll go down as the Boy Who Cried Flood.You might have noticed, Iíve been shouting about the imminent calamity of flood waters for quite a few years now. If I wasnít trying to frighten you into buying flood insurance, I was worrying you ...
Published: 06/22/18

Forecast: Muggy and hot with a chance of rain for Pride festivities

As the first weekend of summer swings in, it appears Tampa Bay should expect more heat, humidity and a chance of afternoon showers.Increased moisture in the Gulf of Mexico will result in scattered showers and isolated storms for coastal areas of Tamp...
Published: 06/22/18
Forecast: Hot and humid on summerís eve across Tampa Bay, with rain chances increasing

Forecast: Hot and humid on summerís eve across Tampa Bay, with rain chances increasing

Wednesday will be the longest day of the year, literally, as the day before the official start of summer yields the most amount of sunshine.Tampa Bay has already seen lots of sunshine, heat and humidity this year, and while that sunshine may be obscu...
Published: 06/20/18
Forecast: High humidity, searing temperatures and little rain across Tampa Bay

Forecast: High humidity, searing temperatures and little rain across Tampa Bay

Dry air will keep rain chances down Tuesday, which could be a good or bad thing depending on your afternoon plans.While showers will be at a minimum, the searing heat wonít be as high humidity and mostly sunny skies will push the heat index at ar nea...
Published: 06/19/18
Forecast: Hot and humid across Tampa Bay, with potentially wet weekend

Forecast: Hot and humid across Tampa Bay, with potentially wet weekend

Summer officially doesn’t start for another three days, but that won’t stop the searing temperatures and stifling humidity from making for a hot and sticky week across Tampa Bay. Temperatures will climb well into the 90s — and feel...
Published: 06/18/18
Forecast: Plenty of sunshine for Fatherís Day with small chances of isolated showers

Forecast: Plenty of sunshine for Fatherís Day with small chances of isolated showers

As the week comes to a close, Tampa Bay can expect some pretty standard summer-like days with highs near the 90s and afternoon showers popping up around the bay.Friday morning, Tampa Bay will rise with a lot of sunshine. Some scattered showers may dr...
Published: 06/15/18
Strong winds from Tropical Storm Bud hit Mexicoís Los Cabos

Strong winds from Tropical Storm Bud hit Mexicoís Los Cabos

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, Mexico ó Tropical Storm Bud lashed the southern end of Mexicoís Baja California Peninsula, home to the popular beach resorts of Los Cabos, with heavy winds Thursday as locals and tourists braced for an expected landfall later in th...
Published: 06/14/18
Check out this waterspout that formed in waters off Egmont Key

Check out this waterspout that formed in waters off Egmont Key

ST. PETERSBURG ó While the chance for an isolated shower or thunderstorm along the coast will remain just that this week, that doesnít preclude the possibility a strong cell could form in the morning.That exact scenario occurred Thursday morning as T...
Published: 06/14/18
Forecast: Early taste of summer for Fatherís Day across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Early taste of summer for Fatherís Day across Tampa Bay

Summer officially starts one week from today, but the familiar summertime pattern is firmly intact across Tampa Bay.That means warm days, high humidity and a small chance for an isolated popup afternoon storm. In other words, a great opportunity to h...
Published: 06/14/18
Forecast: Hot days, scattered showers are still the rule across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Hot days, scattered showers are still the rule across Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay should continue seeing summer-like days through the rest of the week with sunny, partly cloudy skies and a chance for pop-up afternoon showers.A light westerly flow off the Gulf of Mexico will help push coastal breezes further inland, carry...
Published: 06/13/18