11 a.m. notice; follow the path of the storm in Florida

The latest forecast for Hurricane Ian suggests the massive and powerful storm will make landfall in Florida’s Sarasota County, further south than previous forecasts but still threatening statewide devastation, it said Tuesday. authorities.

Ian crashed into Cuba earlier on Tuesday, a Category 3 monster battering the island with 125mph winds. As Ian approaches Florida, Ian’s eastward move put the city of Venice in the storm’s sights on Wednesday, though high winds and storm surge are still expected further north in the region. of Tampa Bay previously targeted, said state emergency management director Kevin Guthrie.

Hundreds of thousands of Floridians faced mandatory evacuation orders as the National Hurricane Center extended the hurricane warning to more than 150 miles of the state’s Gulf Coast. Power outages can be expected across the state, Florida Power & Light warned.

Along with howling winds, parts of central Florida could see 12 to 16 inches of rain with 2 feet possible in isolated areas, the hurricane center said. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said there was potential for “historic” storm surge and flooding.

“In some areas there will be catastrophic flooding and life-threatening storm surges,” DeSantis said Tuesday. “Because of the size of the storm, there are a lot of waves. The Gulf is going to be very angry as this happens.”

DeSantis warned that flooding was likely across much of West Florida. He also raised the possibility that after landing, a weakened Ian continued to walk through central Florida before emerging somewhere along the state’s Atlantic coast.

WHAT IS STORM SURGE? Explaining the Deadliest and Most Destructive Threat of a Hurricane

Storm will slow down, linger over Florida ‘for a long time’

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, speaking at a White House briefing, said the storm would make landfall somewhere between Tampa and Fort Myers. The entire state will be affected and “everyone needs to stay focused,” she said. By the time Ian reaches Florida, the storm will slow to about 5 miles per hour, which means storm surge is the biggest concern, she said.

“It’s important because what it means is Floridians are going to be impacted by this storm for a very long time,” she said.

Evacuees don’t need to go too far

Guthrie said those looking to get out of the storm’s path may not have to go far.

“A lot of people in the Southwest Florida area, your best bet will be to evacuate across the state,” Guthrie said. “Just go across the state to Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach.”

DeSantis said that, for some evacuees, moving to a nearby building on higher ground might be enough.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to evacuate to another state,” DeSantis said. “When we say evacuate, we don’t mean keep traveling until you have no chance of getting in the rain.”

Florida theme parks prepare to close

Florida theme parks are hastily preparing for its arrival. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is located a few miles from the stretch of Florida’s Gulf Coast where Ian might make landfall. It was the first park to temporarily close before the storm. LEGOLAND Florida will also be closing. Other precautionary measures are underway elsewhere, including at Walt Disney World, which has announced several closures.

“It’s all about the safety of our guests and team members,” Universal Orlando Resort said in a statement to USA TODAY.

Waiting for the storm on Sarasota County’s Siesta Key

Andrew and Pam Trapani resigned themselves to weathering Hurricane Ian at their Siesta Key home on Tuesday. They thought of leaving as the forecast deteriorated, but by the time the Trapanis considered evacuating they could not find a hotel. They decided their home — built in 2017 at 17 feet above sea level with hurricane-proof windows and a whole-house generator — was safe enough. It sits on 55 pilings sunk 35 feet into the ground and has a lower floor designed so that floodwaters can drain away.

Andrew Trapani said he still felt the area was protected from big storms. But he’s not overconfident.

“I’m not a big drinker, but I’ll probably have a few scotches in the next few days,” he said.

Sanibel companies come on board; preparing stores for Ian

Nick Ticich and his family have owned the T-Shirt Hut in Sanibel, about 80 miles south of Venice, since the 1950s. Over the past 50 years, the family has fought off a handful of hurricanes and won almost to every time. Yet after his family nearly lost the store when Hurricane Charley devastated the small town in 2004, he said he still felt the need to prepare for every impending disaster.

“It could fall on us,” Ticich said as he boarded his shop. “We can lose the building. We can lose everything.”

Ian’s storm surge, winds blow over Cuba

Ian made landfall on the western tip of Cuba, where officials set up shelters, rushed emergency personnel and worked to protect crops in Cuba’s tobacco-growing region.

“Significant wind and storm surge impacts (are occurring) over Cuba,” said Daniel Brown, senior hurricane specialist and meteorologist in charge of warning coordination at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The storm was expected to roll off Cuba and strengthen into a Category 4 storm over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Winds from the storm could reach 140 mph before reaching Florida as early as Wednesday.

Hurricane Ian tracking

Ian will slow over the Gulf, becoming wider and stronger, “which will have the potential to produce significant wind and storm surge impacts along the west coast of Florida,” the center said. hurricanes.

Ian was expected to emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday and approach the west coast of Florida on Wednesday and Wednesday evening. The storm is expected to slow during this time, the National Hurricane Center warned in an advisory.

“This would likely prolong the effects of storm surges, wind, and precipitation along affected portions of Florida’s west coast,” the advisory said.

RAPID INTENSIFICATION:What does that mean?

LANDING IN CUBA:Hurricane Ian is getting stronger

Tampa is gearing up for the hit; ongoing evacuations

A surge of up to 10 feet of seawater and 12 to 16 inches of rain was forecast for the Tampa Bay area, with up to 24 inches in isolated areas – enough water to inundate coastal communities. Evacuations were underway and up to 300,000 people could flee from Hillsborough County alone.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said she and local officials in her area fear “a near-worst-case scenario” following the National Hurricane Center’s latest report.

“We could handle the wind if it passed quickly, but … we’re already saturated in the Tampa Bay area,” Castor told CNN. “And we have a unique geographical location, the bay being very shallow.”

Heavy rains and floods forecast for southeast

Heavy rain is expected to affect the southeast on Friday and Saturday, the weather service said. “Wide and extensive” flash and urban flooding is expected mid to late this week in central and northern Florida, southern Georgia and coastal South Carolina. Significant and prolonged riverine flooding is expected from central to northern Florida.

Limited flash and riverine flooding is expected over parts of the southeast through the middle of the mid-Atlantic week.

WHAT IS STORM SURGE? :It is often the deadliest and most destructive threat of a hurricane

Florida National Guard called up for duty

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who declared a statewide state of emergency, said 5,000 members of the Florida National Guard were called to duty and another 2,000 were sent to Florida from neighboring states. The state is working to load 360 trailers with more than 2 million meals and more than 1 million gallons of water to prepare for distribution. Urban search and rescue teams are ready to mobilize if needed, DeSantis said.

“There’s going to be a power outage, so plan for that,” DeSantis said. “The impacts are going to be very significant.”

Hurricane categories, explained:Hurricane Saffir-Simpson Wind Speed ​​Scale Decomposition

What is “rapid scaling up”?

“Rapid intensification” is a process in which a storm undergoes accelerated growth: the phenomenon is generally defined as a tropical cyclone (whether a tropical storm or a hurricane) intensifying from at least 35 mph in 24 hours. Ian should fit that definition. Winds from the storm were expected to approach 140 mph on Tuesday evening.

Rapid intensification occurs when a tropical storm or hurricane encounters an “extremely favorable environment,” said Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University. This typically includes very warm water, low vertical wind shear, and high levels of mid-level humidity. Of the nine hurricanes with winds of 150 mph or more that have hit the continental United States in 103 years, all but one have seen the burst of strength and power known as rapid intensification.

Category 4 storms can cause ‘catastrophic’ damage

If the storm hits as a Category 4 hurricane, it could cause “catastrophic” damage, and power outages could last for weeks or months, according to the National Weather Service’s description of such strong storms. Areas can be uninhabitable for weeks or months, depending on the weather service.

“Even if you’re not necessarily in the eye of the storm’s path, there will be fairly broad impacts across the state,” DeSantis warned.

Contributor: Zac Anderson and Steven Walker, Sarasota Herald-Tribune; Samantha Neely of Fort Myers News-Press; John Kennedy, USA TODAY Network; Celina Tebor, Doyle Rice and Eve Chen, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

Lisa Bromfield and Mike Sernett work to place a sheet of plywood on the windows of a store in downtown Gulfport in preparation for the landfall of Hurricane Ian, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022 in South Pasadena, Florida.

USA Today

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