Hurricane Ian on track to hit Florida as major storm this week
Hurricane Ian was getting stronger as it approached Cuba’s western tip on Monday. It was on track to strike the west coast of Florida as an even more severe hurricane on Wednesday. Ian was forecast to hit Cuba as a major hurricane and then become an even stronger Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph over warm Gulf of Mexico waters before striking Florida along a stretch of coast including the Tampa Bay area.
Tampa, St. Petersburg and other areas were the most likely targets for a major hurricane’s first direct hit in a century. Governor. Ron DeSantis said.
“You still see a lot 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. Please treat this storm seriously. It’s the real thing. This is not a drill,” Hillsborough County Emergency Management director Timothy Dudley stated at a Monday news conference about storm preparations in Tampa. He said that some mandatory evacuates were made.
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 will start taking effect Monday evening. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri stated in a briefing that no one will be forced out.
” This means that we won’t come to your aid. Gualtieri stated that if you don’t do it, then you’re on your feet.”
The evacuation zone runs along Tampa Bay and the waters that feed it. It includes MacDill Air Force Base , Tampa International Airport, and well-known neighborhoods like Hyde Park, Davis Islands, and Ybor City.
At 2 p.m. EDT on Monday, Ian was moving north-northwest at 13 mph about 195 miles southeast of the western tip of Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center. Its maximum sustained winds increased to 85 mph. The storm was about 375 miles south of Key West, DeSantis said Monday afternoon.
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.
Florida residents were lining up in Tampa for hours to get sandbags, and to clear out shelves of bottled water.
Nervous anticipation caused long lines for gas, packed grocery shops, 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 station WFOR-TV.
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 move its Artemis 1 rocket back to the protection of the agency’s Vehicle Assembly Building. This was due to Ian’s slow motion, which could lead to wind, storm surge, and rain-induced flooding. A hurricane watch 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.
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 very 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, President Biden delayed a Tuesday trip to Florida.
In Cuba authorities had suspended classes in Pinar del Rio Province and planned evacuations Monday as Ian approached Cuba’s westernmost provinces. Cuba was also shutting down its train network in preparation for the worst weather.
“Cuba expects extreme hurricane force winds, as well as life-threatening storm surges and heavy rain,” Daniel Brown, a senior specialist at the National Hurricane Center, told The Associated Press.
The hurricane center stated that Ian was expected to pass close or west of Cayman Islands on Monday. The storm should then reach far-western Cuba late Monday/early Tuesday. It will hit near the country’s most famous tobacco fields.
The center of the hurricane was moving to the west coast of the Cayman islands, Premier Wayne Panton stating that the government and opposition were working together in order to keep people safe. There was no major damage reported Monday. Residents were returning to the streets after the rain stopped and the winds died down.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Atlantic Hurricane Season
- National Weather Service
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