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Hurricane Ian updates: Florida counties face Category 2 storm evacuations if winds reach 100 mph

Hurricane Ian updates: Florida counties face Category 2 storm evacuations if winds reach 100 mph
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Central Florida stores are struggling to keep water on their shelves ahead of Tropical Storm Ian

Mandatory evacuations are underway in parts of Florida amid warnings of life-threatening conditions from Hurricane Ian in the coming days.

The powerful system will hit the Cayman Islands and western Cuba on Monday and is expected to hit Florida as a severe Category 4 hurricane by midweek. Conditions in western Cuba will worsen tonight with significant winds and storm surges of up to 14 feet.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has warned people to prepare but not to panic. “This is a really, really big hurricane at this point,” Gov. said DeSantis.

About 300,000 people are being evacuated in parts of Hillsborough County, which includes the city of Tampa and Manatee and Hernando counties. Pinellas County, which includes the cities of Clearwater and St. Petersburg, will begin mandatory evacuations at 6 p.m. Monday night.

There is a risk of flash flooding, strong winds, storm surges of up to 10 feet, and possible isolated tornadoes along Florida’s Gulf Coast with impacts beginning up to 36 hours before the peak.

While Florida prepares, Atlantic Canada and parts of the Caribbean including Puerto Rico are still recovering from it Hurricane Fiona last week.

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Florida State cancels classes when Ian approaches

The state of Florida has canceled classes for its more than 30,000 students as Hurricane Ian continues to gain strength.

Classes will be canceled Tuesday through Friday, while campus will remain closed Thursday through Friday, the university said in an update Monday.

“As we continue to monitor Hurricane Ian, the safety of our FSU family remains our top priority,” said University President Richard McCullough said in an opinion.

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Hurricane Ian now Category 2 as winds reach 100mph

Hurricane Ian is now a Category 2 storm with sustained winds up to 100 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center update at 5 p.m. EDT.

“It’s really starting to build and it’s getting impressive, which portends a storm that’s only going to get stronger,” said NHC’s Jamie Rhome.

Forecasts showed the storm was moving across the Florida Keys as early as Wednesday morning before hitting the rest of Florida later in the day, with coastal areas “very, very vulnerable to storm surges,” Mr Rhome added.

The NHC also said in a statement that “life-threatening storm surges, hurricanes, flash floods and possible mudslides are expected in parts of western Cuba beginning this evening.”

A prediction of the projected path of Hurricane Ian

(National Hurricane Center)

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Hurricane Ian evacuations underway as Florida prepares for impact: ‘Get out now’

Mandatory evacuations have also been issued for hundreds of thousands of people Hurricane Ian draws a path towards the west coast of Florida with strong winds, flash floodsStorm surge and possible tornadoes.

governor Ron DeSantis warned Floridians to prepare during a Monday briefing but not to panic after the storm was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane.

“This is a really, really big hurricane at this point,” Gov. DeSantis said. He added that the hurricane’s path is still uncertain, meaning it could “wobble” in or out of the peninsula.

Florida’s Gulf Coast is expected to be badly impacted as conditions worsen up to 36 hours before the peak. Meteorologists are reporting Ian will be boosted by warmer waters in the Gulf of Mexico and could hit Florida as a Category 4 monster hurricane with peak winds of 140 mph.

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7,000 National Guard soldiers were mobilized for storm response

As Hurricane Ian heads toward the Caribbean and Florida, 7,000 National Guard troops have been mobilized to assist Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in responding to the storm said on Monday.

Speaking at the state’s Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee, he said 5,000 guard members had arrived from Florida and were being supported by an additional force of 2,000 from Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina.

The governor added that five city search and rescue teams as well as the US Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are standing at attention.

All 67 Florida counties are in a state of emergency.

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Hurricane Ian strengthens on approach to Cuba but major damage to Cayman Islands

Hurricane Ian intensified as it approached the western tip of Cuba, only to hit the west coast of Florida as a major hurricane on Wednesday.

According to state media, Cuban authorities suspended classes in Pinar del Rio province, dispatched medical workers and emergency personnel, planned to evacuate 20 communities “in the shortest possible time” and took steps to protect food and other crops in warehouses.

“Cuba expects extreme hurricane-force winds, including life-threatening storm surges and heavy rains,” senior US National Hurricane Center specialist Daniel Brown told The Associated Press early Monday.

The hurricane center forecast that areas on Cuba’s west coast could see up to 15 feet (4.3 meters) of storm surge Monday night or early Tuesday.

A local resident uses plastic as a shelter from rain Monday in Batabano, Cuba, as Hurricane Ian approaches

(AP)

In Havana, fishermen were hauling their boats out of the water along the famous Malecon, and city workers were busy clearing storm drains ahead of the expected rain.

Havana resident Adyz Ladron, 35, said he was worried about the potential for rising waters from the storm.

“I’m very scared because my house is going to be completely flooded, with water reaching here,” he said, pointing to his chest.

On Monday afternoon, Ian was moving northwest at 20 km/h, about 310 kilometers southeast of the western tip of Cuba, with sustained peak winds increasing to 135 km/h.

The center of the hurricane passed west of the Cayman Islands. But major damage was reported there on Monday, and residents took to the streets again when the wind died down.

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Floridians brace for Hurricane Ian amid warnings of a storm surge several feet high

Orange County residents fill sandbags in Baldwin Park to protect their homes in preparation for Hurricane Ian Monday, September 26, 2022, in Orlando, Florida.

Orange County residents fill sandbags in Baldwin Park to protect their homes in preparation for Hurricane Ian Monday, September 26, 2022, in Orlando, Florida

(AP)

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National Hurricane Center – Last update at 2:00 p.m

The National Hurricane Center released its latest update on Hurricane Ian at 2 p.m. EST.

The Cayman Islands government has changed the hurricane warning for Grand Cayman to a tropical storm warning.

A hurricane warning applies to:

– Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa

A tropical storm warning applies to:

– Cuban provinces of La Habana, Mayabeque and Matanzas

– Lower Florida Keys from the Seven Mile Bridge west to Key West

A storm surge warning applies to:

– Florida Keys from the Card Sound Bridge west to Key West

– Anclote River south to the Card Sound Bridge

A hurricane watch applies to:

– Englewood to the Anclote River, including Tampa Bay

A tropical storm watch applies to:

– Little Cayman and Cayman Brac

– Englewood south to Flamingo

– Florida Keys from the Seven Mile Bridge to the Channel 5 Bridge

A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within 24 to 36 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be completed as soon as possible

A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours

A storm surge warning means there is a potential for life-threatening flooding in the specified locations over the next 48 hours from rising waters moving inland from the coast

A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is normally posted 48 hours before the expected first occurrence of tropical gale force winds, conditions that make preparations outdoors difficult or dangerous

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours

Source: NOAA/National Hurricane Center

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Hurricane Ian approaches Cuba

Hurricane Ian intensified as it approached the western tip of Cuba in a path to hit the west coast of Florida a big hurricane already on Wednesday.

It was predicted that as a major hurricane, Ian would hit the western tip of Cuba and then become one even stronger Category 4 with peak winds of 225 km/h over warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico before reaching Florida.

As of Monday, Tampa and St. Petersburg seemed like one of the most likely destinations for them first direct hit by a major hurricane since 1921.

“Please take this storm seriously. It’s the real deal. This is not an exercise,” Hillsborough County emergency management director Timothy Dudley said at a news conference about storm preparations in Tampa.

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‘Get out now’

As Pinellas County begins mandatory evacuations Monday night ahead of Hurricane Ian, a senior law enforcement official has been outspoken in his assessment of the risk.

“Get out now,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Monday.

The county, which includes the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, is expected to suffer some of the hurricane’s worst effects.

Hurricane Ian is expected to intensify to Category 4 as it turns towards Florida’s Gulf Coast. Pinellas County and neighboring areas could see up to 10 feet of storm surge.

At a news conference, the sheriff said that while residents will not be forced to leave, they are being urged to take calls for mandatory evacuations seriously.

“That means we won’t help you. If you don’t, you’re on your own,” he said. For more information on Florida’s evacuation zones, click here.

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Pinellas County will begin mandatory evacuations Monday night

Mandatory evacuations for portions of Pinellas County, Fla., will go into effect at 6 p.m. local time Monday.

“All residents of Evacuation Zone A (including all mobile home residents) are subject to mandatory evacuation orders. Mandatory orders for evacuation zones B and C will go into effect at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning,” the Pinellas County Department of Emergency Management tweeted.

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