Governor Rick Scott loves tropical weather. It gives the not-so-native Floridian who had just relocated to our state permanently in time for the 2004 and 2005 Hurricane season’s an opportunity for face time in front of a statewide audience. The rapid development of Tropical Storm Emily which hovered over the state Monday gave Scott an opportunity for face time while he failed to acknowledge the environment that makes such rapid formation and in the case of other storms, rapid intensification possible in this era.
While Scott and other Republican leaders are spendthrifts when it comes to money for health care or social services, the Governor is willing to waste money when it comes to storms. As has been the case since Scott’s very first Hurricane season in 2011, at the very drop of the hate he will declare a “state of emergency,” you know something reserved for true emergencies, not simply 45-mph maximum sustained wind Tropical Storm’s which in Emily’s case simply bring more sustained intense rainfall than your average afternoon summer thunderstorm anywhere in the Sunshine State.
Scott’s declaration of an emergency for 31 counties was the height of irresponsibility, but it’s a continuing pattern with this Governor who sees the summer Hurricane season as his one chance to look “Gubernatorial” especially when it comes in and around elections. Much like weak Tropical Storm Erika in 2015 and countless other storms in the past Scott’s media presence does more to panic residents and those around the state, particularly northern transplants who don’t understand tropical weather quite as well as Florida natives or long-term residents do into taking action- like buying goods from Home Depot, Loews, Publix, Wal-Mart and other merchants who contribute to Republican campaigns.
Or perhaps the rationale is simple – Scott has proven he doesn’t understand science. Maybe he doesn’t understand basic meteorology either and for seven years as Governor has misunderstood and misinterpreted the strength and impact of these types of passing storms. Nonetheless, Scott’s premature declarations of State’s of Emergency of the last several years has cost taxpayers millions and forced workers at the county level to put in extra hours for no good reasons. Maybe, just maybe someday we’ll have a Governor that actually understands this state down to the tropical weather patterns? We can all only hope…