TAMPA, FLORIDA — On Monday morning, Governor DeSantis provided an update on Hurricane Ian. “Maximum sustained winds are now 80 miles an hour, and it moves into the Gulf where it’s expected to strengthen into a major hurricane in the eastern Gulf of Mexico as early as tomorrow. It will bring heavy rains, strong winds, flash flooding, storm surge along with isolated tornado activity along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Floridians up and down the Gulf Coast should feel the impact of this,” the governor said.
DeSantis also provided information on the measures taken in preparation for Ian, including the deployment of 5,000 members of the Florida National Guard plus resources from neighboring states; extra medical personnel and 300 ambulances for the Tampa Bay area; hundreds of pumps and generators and measures to secure fuel resources by waiving weight restrictions for commercial trucks, and to ensure that pharmacies are able to prescribe 30-day emergency refills for prescriptions. Tolls have also been suspended in the Tampa area, and school closures have been announced.
The governor also stressed the importance of knowing which evacuation zone you are in, to be on the lookout for announcements of possible evacuations. Tampa has currently issued mandatory evacuation orders for residents in Zone A. Residents in Zone B are under a voluntary evacuation recommendation.
Residents who live in mobile homes or in a storm surge area should always evacuate to a public shelter or stay with relatives or friends. If you are elderly or have special needs or health concerns then you should also evacuate.
Life-threatening storm surge is possible along much of the Florida west coast, the National Hurricane Center advised on Monday morning. The highest risk according to the current projected path of hurricane Ian is from Fort Myers to the Tampa Bay region. Winds of hurricane strength are possible in west-central Florida beginning Wednesday morning. Heavy rainfall will increase across Florida Keys and South Florida starting Tuesday, spreading to central and northern parts of the state on Thursday, with potential flash flooding. Florida’s rivers are expected to flood across the central area of the state.
An incoming hurricane can be a serious, life-threatening situation. A “hurricane watch” indicates that hurricane conditions could be experienced in your area within 36 hours. Your family's disaster plan should be fully in place by this time.
A “hurricane warning” indicates that sustained hurricane winds of 74 mph or more are expected in your area within 24 hours. Once this warning is issued, you and your family should decide where you are going to stay during the storm.
Develop a Family Disaster Plan:
- Assemble a disaster supply kit.
- Find the most convenient and safe evacuation route and the location of emergency shelters.
- Keep emergency numbers readily available to all family members.
- Make sure your first aid kit is well stocked.
- Designate two contact persons: one local and one out-of-town. Help children memorize the names and numbers of your emergency contacts.
- Have a pet plan.
- Decide whether you should evacuate or stay at home during the storm. You must evacuate if you are ordered to do so. If you must work during the storm, make arrangements for your family before you report to work.
Visit Florida’s Division of Emergency Management for comprehensive announcements and coverage of Hurricane Ian. You can also follow the agency on Twitter for updates on the weather situation: https://twitter.com/FLSERT
Also see the National Hurricane Center for updated information.