October 2022

Lessons from Hurricane Ian --

Be prepared. Ensure resilient infrastructure.

Over the past couple weeks, all of us have been horrified by the shear devastation wrought by Hurricane Ian across the state. In addition to the unprecedented loss of life, it will take months – if not years – before many communities fully recover from the damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure. 

Fortunately, Fort Lauderdale and the rest of southeastern Florida was spared. We also have quickly mobilized to help those areas in need. We deployed fire-rescue personnel and equipment as requested by the state emergency management system and are ready to send building inspectors or other staff as necessary to help in any way possible. 

Hurricane Ian should stand a lesson to us of the importance to be prepared each year for tropical storms as well as the need to harden our infrastructure to be as resilient as possible in the face of an increasingly volatile climate. 

Because such a long time has passed since hurricanes Wilma and Irma struck our area, many residents have forgotten how powerful and devastating a storm can be with high winds and heavy rain. And, we have many new residents who have never experienced a storm and its potential for disaster. 

I urge everyone to make sure they are well-prepared each hurricane season – from June 1 through Nov. 30. Learn from the experiences of Florida's West Coast, and please don’t wait for a storm to develop before undertaking preparations to protect your home, your family and yourself. 

Follow the weather forecasts closely and realize that a storm can make sudden and dramatic changes in directions that meteorologists cannot always predict. If you live in one of the evacuation zones, be prepared to leave -- particularly if ordered to do so. 

Create an emergency plan at the start of each season and assemble a hurricane supply kit. 

Remember to have a three- to five-day supply of food and water, including at least one gallon of water per person per day. You also should have non-perishable food that is ready to eat, a battery-powered flashlight, a battery-powered radio, a first-aid kit and a reserve of prescription medicine.

The decisions you make can save your life and the lives of your loved ones. The city offers a Quick Tips Guide for preparing for an emergency. Click here. And, you can stay informed and receive emergency alerts from the city by signing up at www.fortlauderdale.gov/alertftl.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Ian makes many of the city’s ongoing infrastructure initiatives even more important. 

As I recently mentioned in my State of the City remarks, the city is in the process of making its largest investment ever in stormwater and flood control. We launched a five-year, $200 million plan to alleviate vulnerabilities, focusing on our most flood-prone areas. 

We are already in construction in the first two neighborhoods.

We’re installing more tidal-control valves and drainage pipes, building new outfall connections and drainage structures, creating new catch basins, rebuilding swales, and constructing stormwater reserves. We are also raising seawalls.

Two critical municipal buildings are in line for replacement. 

We will soon begin construction of a state-of-the-art police station. After more than 60 years of use, the current headquarters is obsolete and – most concerning – it would not withstand a major hurricane.

We face a similar situation with our Fiveash Water Treatment Plant, which supplies drinking water not just to Fort Lauderdale but several surrounding communities. Given its age and condition, it also would not survive a storm like Ian. 

To expedite its replacement, we are exploring ways to quickly build a new plant. It’s our hope that a new water treatment plant can come online by 2026. 

We are also investigating the construction of a new City Hall.

Built in the late 1960s, it’s too small to house all of our operations and that requires us to pay rent for additional space elsewhere. Also, there are major problems with City Hall's HVAC system and elevators. Most significantly, security cannot be improved to today’s standards and the building is not up to par to survive a hurricane very well.

South Florida is a great place to live and work. Still, it is important for us to plan for the future and address the world’s changing climate. It’s also important for each and every one of us to remember the brute force that Mother Nature can unleash and be as prepared as possible. 



Mayor Trantalis, Commissioner Glassman and city staff break ground on the Hendricks Isle seawall replacement project.

Mayor Trantalis signs the Book of Honors at the City Hall in Duisburg, Germany, during a visit to our sister city as part of an Urban Diplomacy Exchange program regarding climate change and resilient infrastructure.

Mayor Trantalis and city battalion chief Gabriel Zahora meet with André Odenbreit Carvalho, the new consul general of Brazil for South Florida.

Mayor Trantalis meets with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the Washington Summit hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Trantalis, Commissioner Glassman and Fire Chief Kerr lay a wreath for the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Mayor Trantalis presents U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch with a token of appreciation during Rep. Deutch's farewell reception.

Mayor Trantalis meets with the chairman of the board of Informa Markets during the Monaco International Boat Show.

Mayor Trantalis meets with U.S. diplomats in Greece while in Thessaloniki to formalize a business and cultural relationship. 

Mayor Trantalis and Mayor Zervas of Thessaloniki, Greece, solidify a sister-city partnership during an official joint-city signing ceremony. 

Mayor Trantalis helps to open the Mystic Lobster Roll Company on SE 17th Street.

Mayor Trantalis, city staff, and members of the District 1 neighborhoods help to reopen the new boat ramps at George English Park. 

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