Hurricane Ian was gaining strength as it approached the western tip of Cuba on Monday and is on track to hit Florida’s west coast as a major hurricane on Wednesday.It was predicted to hit Cuba as a major hurricane, then become a stronger Category 4 hurricane, with strong winds of 140 mph in the warm Gulf of Mexico waters, and hit coastal Florida, including the Tampa Bay area.
Tampa and St. Petersburg appeared to be among the most likely targets to be hit by a major hurricane in 100 years.
“Take this storm seriously. This is real. This is not a drill,” Hillsborough County Emergency Management Chief Timothy Dudley said at a news conference Monday in Tampa. rice field. forced evacuation Ordered.
County administrator Bonnie Wise said at a press conference that 300,000 people in the county alone could be displaced from the lowlands. Schools and other places were open as shelters.
Pinellas County, Florida, which includes St. Petersburg, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, said at a briefing that no one will be forced to evict, but that mandatory evacuation orders are expected to begin on Tuesday.
“What that means is we’re not coming to help you. If you don’t do that, you’re on your own,” Gualtieri said.
The evacuation zone is along Tampa Bay and the rivers that flow into it, McDill Air Force BaseTampa International Airport, and famous neighborhoods such as Hyde Park, the Davis Islands, and parts of Ybor City.
At 11 a.m. EDT Monday, Ian was about 375 miles south of Key West, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference. The storm was about 240 miles southeast of the western tip of Cuba and was moving northwest at 13 miles per hour. National Hurricane CenterIts maximum sustained wind speed has been increased to 80 mph.
Up to 10 feet of sea level rise and 10 inches of rain were projected for the Tampa Bay region, and up to 15 inches of rain in isolated areas. This is enough to flood low-lying coastal areas.
Florida residents lined up for hours in Tampa to prepare by collecting sandbags and clearing bottled water from store shelves.
CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca from Clearwater, Fla., reports that nervous anticipation has led to long lines at gas stations, packed grocery stores and empty shelves.
‘I’ve tried to get water, but not more than that at the moment,’ South Florida woman told CBS station WFOR-TV.
Ian’s imminent arrival also prompted NASA to deliver it.Away from the launch pad and back to protecting the agency’s vehicle assembly building, the possibility of launching an unpiloted Moonshot by November is gone.
“Many people on the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Panhandle are at risk and must be ready to act quickly,” Rick Nubb, a hurricane specialist for the Weather Channel, said to Ian. Expect slow motion. Means flooding from wind, storm surges and rain is possible. ”
A hurricane advisory has been issued for Florida’s central west coast, including the Tampa Bay area where Hillsborough County has suspended classes through Thursday. Watches were shipped from the Florida Keys to Lake Okeechobee on Monday as strong winds from a tropical storm stretched 115 miles from the center.
DeSantis declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida and urged residents to prepare for storms that will strike large swaths of the state with heavy rains, high winds and rising sea levels.
“We will continue to monitor the trajectory of this storm, but it’s really important to highlight the degree of uncertainty that still exists,” DeSantis said at a press conference on Sunday. is not limited,” he warned. Looking at the course of the storm, it will have fairly widespread effects across the state. ”
Flash floods and urban flooding are possible in the Florida Keys and Peninsula through midweek, followed by heavy rainfall in northern Florida, the Florida Panhandle, and the southeastern United States later this week.
The Hurricane Center advises Florida residents to develop hurricane plans and monitor the latest information on the hurricane’s path.
President Biden also declared a state of emergency, empowering the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief and provide assistance to protect life and property. The president postponed a planned trip to Florida on Tuesday because of the storm.
In Cuba, authorities suspended classes in Pinar del Rio province and planned an evacuation on Monday as Ian approached the island’s westernmost province. Cuba had also closed its rail network ahead of the worst weather.
“Cuba is expecting extreme hurricane force winds, life-threatening storm surges and heavy rains,” Daniel Brown, senior specialist at the National Hurricane Center, told The Associated Press.
The Hurricane Center said Ian is expected to pass near or west of the Cayman Islands on Monday, with the storm reaching the far west of Cuba late Monday or early Tuesday, hitting near the country’s most famous tobacco fields. Stated.
Cayman Islands Prime Minister Wayne Panton said in a video posted on Sunday that members of the government and the opposition are working together to “ensure our people are as safe as possible – supplies , plywood and sometimes sandbags are being distributed.” We can weather this storm safely…we must prepare for the worst, pray absolutely, and do our best. ”
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hurricane-ian-track-path-2022-09-26/ Hurricane Ian is rapidly gaining strength and is expected to hit Florida as a major storm this week.