Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for 24 counties as the National Weather Service told Floridians to brace for the impacts of Tropical Storm Ian, which is expected to bring heavy rain, hurricane-force winds, and flooding.
DeSantis issued the order on Sept. 23, urging residents and local governments to prepare as the storm gathers strength over the Caribbean before potentially hitting Florida next week.
“This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations,” DeSantis said in a statement. “We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”
The governor encouraged Florida residents to ensure they have emergency supply kits ready and stocked with food, water, and medicine.
DeSantis’s emergency declaration applies to Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, and St. Lucie counties.
The governor said in a separate statement on Twitter that, while the storm’s track is uncertain, “Floridians should remain vigilant and ensure their households are prepared for a potential impact.”
The National Weather Service (NWS) said in a statement on Sept. 24 that the storm is expected to rapidly strengthen over the weekend and approach the west coast of the Florida Peninsula early next week.
“There is increasing confidence in multiple life-threatening hazards: storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and flooding,” NWS said.
In an 11 a.m. Sept. 24 advisory, NWS Miami said it was still too soon to determine the exact path of the storm and the magnitude of its impacts, but Floridians should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and monitor weather forecasts.
Tropical Storm Ian is on track to hit Cuba as a Category 2 hurricane or stronger, according to AccuWeather forecasters.
The terrain in parts of Cuba over which the storm is expected to pass is relatively flat so the weather system is likely to continue to get stronger, according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.
“Because of very warm waters and a forecast minimal amount of disruptive winds, there is the potential for the system to undergo rapid strengthening anytime from this weekend to midweek,” Pastelok said.
The rapid pace of the weather system’s development means it will tend to track more to the east, according to AccuWeather forecasters, who said that the storm could strike either the east or west coast of Florida, though a track into Texas or Louisiana is “highly unlikely.”
As part of their hurricane preparedness, Floridians living in hurricane evacuation zones should develop evacuation plans, which include multiple options for where to go and how to get there, NWS Miami said.
“Be prepared to leave immediately if ordered to evacuate,” the agency said.
From The Epoch Times