DeSantis urges all Floridians to prepare

DeSantis urges all Floridians to prepare
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South Florida remains outside of current paths for a direct hit from Tropical Storm Ian, but all Floridians should prepare for a major storm, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Sunday.

Tropical Storm Ian is expected to strengthen into a hurricane on Sunday and become the second major hurricane of the season by midweek.

An update from the National Hurricane Center at 2:00 p.m. said Ian would begin “rapid strengthening” Sunday night, with significant wind and storm surge expected west of Cuba. Models show a possible direct hit to the Tampa area or the Florida Panhandle

“Don’t get too married to these cones,” DeSantis said at a news conference Sunday at the Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee. “Even if you’re not necessarily right in the eye of the storm’s path, there’s going to be pretty broad impacts across the state.”

According to him, severe flooding is possible on the east coast of Florida. There is no guarantee that the storm’s path will continue to move westward as it has for the past two days.

“There is uncertainty. Models disagree,” he said. “Just don’t think that if you’re not in that eye, you don’t need to prepare. The last thing we want is for this to go east quickly and then have people who aren’t ready. It is better to be prepared and not to use those preparations.”

This includes having an adequate supply of food, water, batteries, medicine and fuel, he said.

The National Hurricane Center's forecast track for Tropical Storm Ian as of 2 p.m.  Sunday update.

But most residents will not need to be evacuated, emergency officials said. People should look first to find out if they are in the evacuation zone. Otherwise, they should assess whether their home can withstand tropical storm or hurricane force winds.

“During Hurricane Irma, we had nearly two million residents evacuate,” said Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Department of Emergency Management.

DeSantis said he expects heavy rain, strong winds, flooding, storm surges and even isolated tornadoes. He declared a state of emergency for all 67 states “given the uncertainty of the storm.” Previously, the state of emergency was in effect for only 24 counties, including Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach.

President Biden also approved a federal emergency declaration for Florida, allowing access to FEMA’s resources.

The state imposed restrictions on commercial trucks and allowed prescriptions to be filled immediately or within 30 days. DeSantis said he has also activated 2,500 members of the Florida National Guard to help with the emergency.

Ian’s center is expected to pass well southwest of Jamaica on Sunday evening and pass near or west of the Cayman Islands by 2:00 p.m. Monday morning. Ian will then move near or over western Cuba on Monday night and Tuesday morning and exit over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.

If Yan makes landfall in Cuba, it is expected to be a major hurricane (at least 111 mph sustained winds).

It will then exit over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.

Shawn Bhatti, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in South Florida, is outside the scope of the forecast uncertainty, which is about two-thirds of the time the hurricane will be centered. But subtle changes in track can make a big difference, and the warm waters of the Gulf and possible land interactions with Cuba can create those changes.

“Make all preparations for the potential worst case scenario this weekend,” Bhatti said.

A “reasonable” worst-case scenario still includes all the impacts associated with a major hurricane. But if the storm continues to move west, South Florida could see only high waves and strong winds.

The storm’s path will become clearer as the weekend progresses. By Sunday night into Monday morning, forecasters say they’ll have a better idea of ​​what’s to come and whether South Florida will survive the storm.


Former tropical storm Hermine continued to bring rain to the Canary Islands on Sunday and was poised to become a remnant low, forecasters said.

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Hurricane Fiona weakened to a post-tropical cyclone early Sunday, and the National Hurricane Center was no longer issuing storm advisories.

Fiona was the first major hurricane of the 2022 season, meaning Category 3 and above.

Forecasters are also watching a broad area of ​​low pressure in the Atlantic that has a 20% chance of developing over the next five days, although Ian is the biggest concern.

“The thing to watch is certainly a system moving into the southeast Caribbean,” said Eric Blake, a forecaster with the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical Storm Gaston continues to weaken and is expected to become a post-tropical cyclone on Sunday.

Hurricane season ends in November. 30. Julia will be the next named storm after Ian.

Staff writer Shira Moolten contributed to this report.

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