Hurricane Ian on track to hit Florida as major storm this week
Hurricane Ian was expected to continue strengthening into a major hurricane and pass over the western tip of Cuba on a track for the Gulf of Mexico, with Florida in its path. Mandatory evacuations were ordered Monday for low-lying areas around Tampa Bay. Officials asked other residents to evacuate as it could take some time to move hundreds and thousands of people out from Ian’s path.
The Category 2 storm was forecast to become an even stronger Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph before striking Florida as early as Wednesday.
Tampa, and St. Petersburg were the most likely targets for their first direct hurricane strike in over a century. Florida Governor. Ron DeSantis said.
” You’re still seeing a significant amount of rain, wind, and storm surge. So, follow that track. But don’t assume that because it’s not in your area, you won’t see impacts. DeSantis stated during a Monday afternoon press conference. “You will see significant impacts. “
The governor said the state has suspended tolls around the Tampa Bay area and mobilized 5,000 National Guard troops, with another 2,000 on standby in neighboring states.
More than 27,000 power restoration personnel are on standby to help after the storm, DeSantis said. Please treat this storm seriously. It’s the real thing. This is not a drill,” Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director Timothy Dudley said at a Monday news conference on storm preparations in Tampa, where some mandatory evacuations were ordered.
As many as 300,000 people may be evacuated from low-lying areas in the county alone, County Administrator Bonnie Wise said at a news conference. Schools and other locations were made available as shelters.
In Pinellas County, which includes St. Petersburg, officials issued evacuation orders that start taking effect Monday evening. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri stated in a briefing that no one will be forced out.
” This means that we are not going to help you. Gualtieri stated that if you don’t do it you’re on your feet.”
” For all practical purposes, get out. Right now. Gualtieri said Monday that everyone needs to evacuate.
The evacuation zone is all along Tampa Bay and the rivers that feed it, encompassing MacDill Air Force Base and well-known neighborhoods such as parts of Hyde Park, Davis Islands and Ybor City.
At 11 p.m. ET on Monday, Ian was moving north-northwest at 13 mph and was located about 105 miles east-southeast of the western tip of Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center. Its maximum sustained winds increased to 105 mph.
A surge of up to 10 feet of ocean water and 10 inches of rain, with as much as 15 inches in isolated areas, was predicted for the Tampa Bay area. This is enough water to flood low-lying coastal areas.
A hurricane advisory was in effect from Englewood (Florida) to the Anclote River. This area includes Tampa.
Florida residents gathered in Tampa for hours to get sandbags, and to clear out the shelves of bottled water stores.
” We are going to put these sandbags in the garage, the garage doors, and the front door… and pray that we’re good,” Gabriel Alley told CBS News. Alley moved from California to Clearwater.
Nervous anticipation caused long lines at gas stations, packed grocery stores, and empty shelves. Omar Villafranca, CBS News correspondent, reports from Clearwater.
“I tried to get water, but it’s no more, not too much at this moment,” a south Florida woman told CBS Miami.
Ian’s impending arrival also prompted NASA to haul its Artemis 1 rocket off its launch pad and back to the protection of the agency’s Vehicle Assembly Building, likely ending any chance of launching the unpiloted moonshot before November. “A lot of people in the Florida Peninsula and into Florida Panhandle are at danger and need to take action quickly,” Rick Knabb, a hurricane specialist, said. NASA also had to haul its Artemis 1 rocket back to the protection of the agency’s Vehicle Assembly Building. This means that there could be wind, storm surge, and rain-induced flooding. A hurricane warning was issued for Florida’s western coast. This includes the Tampa Bay area. Hillsborough County had to suspend classes from Thursday. With tropical storm force winds extending 115 miles from its center, watches were issued Monday from the Florida Keys to Lake Okeechobee. On Monday night, HCA Florida Pasadena Hospital in St. Petersburg announced that it would be closing and would be transferring all patients. Tampa General Hospital announced that various locations, including radiation therapy and all clinics would close early Tuesday and will remain closed until at least Thursday.
DeSantis declared a state emergency in Florida and asked residents to be prepared for the storm that will batter large swathes of the state with heavy rainfalls, high winds, and rising seas.
” We will continue to monitor the track of this storm. It is vital to stress the uncertainty that still exists,” DeSantis stated at a Sunday news conference, warning that “even though you may not be right in the eye, there will be broad impacts across the state. “
Flash and urban flooding is possible in the Florida Keys and Florida Peninsula through midweek, and then heavy rainfall was possible for north Florida, the Florida Panhandle and the southeast United States later this week. The hurricane center has advised Floridians that they should have hurricane plans in place. They also recommend that they keep an eye on the storm’s progress and keep up to date with any updates.
President Biden also declared an emergency, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to coordinate disaster relief and provide assistance to protect lives and property. Due to the storm, the president delayed a Tuesday trip to Florida.
Authorities in Cuba were evacuating 50,000 people in Pinar del Rio province, sent in medical and emergency personnel, and took steps to protect food and other crops in warehouses, according to state media. Cuba is anticipating extreme hurricane-force winds and also life-threatening storm surges and heavy rain,” Daniel Brown, senior specialist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center, told The Associated Press.
The hurricane center predicted areas of Cuba’s western coast could see as much as 14 feet (4.3 meters) of storm surge Monday night or early Tuesday.
In Havana fishermen were taking out their boats along the famous Malecon, a seaside boardwalk. City workers were clearing storm drains in preparation for the rain.
Havana resident Adyz Ladron, 35, said the potential for rising water from the storm worries him. He said that he was very afraid because his house would be completely flooded.
In Havana’s El Fanguito neighborhood, which is a poor area near the Almendares River in Havana, residents were packing what they could to move out of their homes. Many of these homes are damaged from previous storms.
” I hope we escape this storm because it would be the end for us. We already have so little,” health worker Abel Rodrigues, 54, said.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Atlantic Hurricane Season
- National Weather Service
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