Florida tracks tropical storm Ian developing in the Caribbean

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during the welcome segment of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, February 26, 2021.

Joe Skipper | Reuters

Authorities and residents in Florida are keeping a watchful eye on Tropical Storm Ian as it makes landfall in the Caribbean on Sunday, expected to continue to strengthen and become a major hurricane within days. coming on a forecast line toward the state.

Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all of Florida the day before, expanding the original order to include two dozen counties. He urged residents to prepare for a storm that can cause heavy rain, high winds and sea level rise.

“We encourage all Floridians to prepare,” DeSantis said in a statement.

President Joe Biden also declare a state of emergency, authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to coordinate disaster relief and provide assistance to protect life and property. The president postponed his trip scheduled for September 27 to Florida due to a hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center said Ian is expected to strengthen before moving over western Cuba and towards the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by midweek. The agency advises Floridians to have hurricane plans in place and Follow for updates about the path of the storm.

The Center issued an updated notice at 5 a.m. Sunday, noting that the tropical storm is forecast to begin “rapidly strengthening later today” with a “risk of impact from wind and rising tides over western Cuba.”

Ian is forecast to become a hurricane on Sunday and a major hurricane as early as late Monday. The storm had peak winds of 50 mph on Sunday morning as it swirled about 345 miles southeast of Grand Cayman, in the Cayman Islands.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for the island, and storm watches have been issued for western Cuba.

John Cangialosi, a senior hurricane expert at the Miami-based center, said it’s still unclear exactly where Ian will be hardest hit. He said Floridians should start preparing, including gathering supplies for potential blackouts.

“At this point, the really relevant message for people living in Florida is that you have to watch the forecasts and be mentally prepared for the potential impact from this tropical system,” he said.

In Pinellas Park, near Tampa, people waited in line at the Family Archives when it opened at 6 a.m. Saturday, Tampa Bay Times report. Manager Wendy Macrini said by early afternoon the store had sold 600 barrels of water and ran out of generators.

People also buy plywood to stick on their windows: “It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it,” Matt Beaver, of Pinellas Park, told the Times.

Elsewhere, strong after tropical cyclone Fiona crashed on Saturday in Nova Scotia in Atlantic Canada, washing homes into the sea, tearing roofs off and knocking out power to more than 500,000 customers in two provinces.

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