Wednesday, September 28, 1:15 pm
Cape Coral is bearing the brunt of Hurricane Ian as the eyewall brings winds upwards of 170 mph. The southern half of Sarasota County and all of Charlotte County are experiencing hurricane-force winds as Ian pushes onshore.
Naples has reported a storm surge of 5 feet and rising, the highest ever recorded for the city. Additionally, Sanibel and Captiva Island are reporting severe damage to the islands.
Governor DeSantis urges Floridians to stay indoors as the storm winds are strong enough to flip cars, boats, and other vehicles. He also noted that while most people along the shores of Charlotte County did evacuate, “there were still some who decided to stay and hunker down, a decision that they made on their own, knowing that they had the opportunity to evacuate,” he said.
More than 200,000 people are now without power throughout the state. Outside of southwest Florida, power crews are working to restore power quickly. The Governor said that the state has over 100 portable cell towers ready to be deployed into the southwest Florida area as soon as it is safe to do so.
Today, DeSantis declared a major disaster for all 67 counties of Florida and has called on the Biden Administration to provide upfront funds to assist in the immediate recovery of affected communities.
The state is prepared for an immediate response. Forty-two thousand linemen from twenty-seven different states are mobilized in north Florida and ready to restore power in 30 areas across the state. In addition, the Department of Defense has approved the state’s request for additional National Guard members to assist with recovery.
Wednesday, September 28, 11:15 am
Hurricane Ian’s extremely dangerous eyewall begins to move onshore just north of Ft. Myers Beach. The storm is moving north-northeast at 9 mph, and a reduction in speed is forecast today. Within the hour, catastrophic storm surges, winds, and flooding are arriving on Florida’s west coast.
Maximum sustained winds are at 155 mph, and the Category 4 storm brings hurricane-force winds extending outward more than 45 miles from the center. Tropical-force winds extend up to 175 miles.
State and local officials advise staying where you are, and shelter in place as the storm impacts the west coast of Florida.
5 Tips to Stay Safe During the Impact of Hurricane Ian
- Stay Inside & Away From Windows
Stay inside and away from any windows or doors. Shelter in an interior room, such as a closet or bathroom, on the first floor of your home. If the storm seems to have passed, it is important to stay inside and wait because the calm may be the eye of the storm, and more heavy wind and rain may be on the way.
2. Tune into Local and State Alerts
If you lose power, a battery-powered, portable radio can ensure you stay up-to-date with advisories and alerts, including the storm path and when the hurricane has safely passed.
3. Be Ready to Turn Off Main Energy Sources
If your power goes out, it’s important to turn off the main power source to your home. When power comes back on, it could send unnecessary electricity to your appliances, air conditioning, or anything else with a power source and damage them beyond repair.
4. Use Hurricane Equipment Carefully
Only use a generator after the storm has completely passed. Follow instructions and never use a generator indoors. Set it up away from doors and windows - generators release toxic carbon monoxide fumes that can become fatal if they get inside your home. Keep a carbon monoxide detector inside to monitor the air while using a generator.
5. Beware of Water Coming into Your Home
If water comes into your home from the outside, turn off your main power source immediately. Water can surge the power and cause an electrical fire. After turning off the main power source, use sandbags, towels, or other items to help prevent the water from continuing to enter your home.
For help after the storm, print or save these important phone numbers and websites in the Lee County area. For other areas of the state, visit Florida’s Division of Emergency Management for important information.
As Ian moves onshore, the forecast track predicts a move over central Florida tonight and early Thursday morning, where it is expected to emerge over the Atlantic late on Thursday. A northward turn on Friday will bring tropical storm-force winds and rain to northeast Florida.
Wednesday, September 28, 8:15 am
Early Wednesday morning Hurricane Ian strengthened into a Category 4 major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. The National Hurricane Center announced that higher wind gusts put the storm close to Category 5 status.
Ian's outer rain bands passed across South Florida overnight. Clusters of thunderstorms embedded in the outer bands brought lightning strikes and heavy winds. Tuesday night, two tornadoes formed in Broward County, confirmed by the National Weather Service. Damage included several planes that flipped over in Pembroke Pines and multiple trees uprooted in Cooper City.
“This one has just strengthened and strengthened – it’s the real deal, so people need to be prepared,” said Governor DeSantis at the 8 am emergency briefing. “As soon as the storm makes its way across any part of the state, the priority is to get personnel in there to be able to launch rescue efforts. Then obviously pave the way so that we can bring in more supplies, restore power, and clear the airports and roads,” he said.
Ian is forecast to make landfall today somewhere between Sarasota and Fort Myers. As of the 8 am forecast, the center of the storm, with the most devastating wind, is heading toward Port Charlotte. Ian is currently moving north-northeast around 10 mph but is expected to slow just before making landfall late Wednesday afternoon.
If the storm slows, it will have more time in the warm water of the Gulf to strengthen and collect water, resulting in heavier rain and more storm surge. “Life-threatening storm surge is expected along the Florida west coast and the Lower Florida Keys where a storm surge warning is in effect, with the highest risk from Naples to the Sarasota region,” the National Hurricane Center said in the 8 am briefing. “Residents in these areas should listen to advice given by local officials and follow any evacuation orders for your area.”
Tuesday, September 27, 5:30 pm
Hurricane Ian is moving slowly toward the north at 10 mph as of the 5:00 pm update from the National Hurricane Center. The storm has turned toward the north-northeast and slowed down in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.
After Ian passes west of the Florida Keys later tonight, the storm will approach the west coast of Florida within the hurricane warning area on Wednesday through Wednesday night.
Maximum sustained winds remain near 120 mph, but higher gusts are present as Ian re-strengthens in the warm gulf waters. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles.
A Hurricane Warning has been extended southward on the west coast of
Florida to Chokoloskee. The Tropical Storm Watch continues from the Suwannee River to Indian Pass, the Upper Florida Keys, and Florida Bay. Southeastern Florida from south of Boca Raton has now been upgraded to a Tropical Storm Warning.
The Storm Surge Watch from Marineland to the Flagler/Volusia County Line has now been upgraded to a Storm Surge Warning. The Storm Surge Watch from the Aucilla River to the Suwannee River has been discontinued.
As the storm approaches, Florida counties may issue more evacuation orders. Some fuel stations may temporarily run out of gas. You can use GasBuddy to find stations in your area that still have fuel.
Tuesday, September 27, 3:15 pm
Tampa Electric will proactively shut down power in specific areas to avoid damage to the underground equipment from saltwater storm surges. A power interruption is confirmed for the western end of downtown Tampa starting later today. Possible power interruptions for Davis Islands (excluding Tampa General Hospital) and Harbour Island are also expected. If you live in an evacuation zone, it is critical that you leave now.
If you are not in an evacuation zone, “Floridians must stay vigilant and make final preparations for this storm immediately. Hurricane Ian is expected to cause up to 15 inches of rainfall in parts of south Florida, isolated totals up to 24 inches of rainfall in central west Florida, and severe flooding,” said Florida’s CFO Jimmy Patronis.
Final Storm Preparation Tips and Reminders:
- Never run a generator inside or too close to your home or garage.
- Use sandbags and plastic sheeting to ward off rising water.
- Take photos of items in your home to help make the recovery process easier.
- Gather all insurance, financial and other important documents and secure them in plastic bags.
- Secure outdoor objects, such as grills and lawn furniture, so that it cannot get displaced by high winds.
Tuesday, September 27, 1:20 pm
Governor Ron DeSantis issued new updates on Hurricane Ian at the State Emergency Operations Center and the Sarasota County Emergency Operations Center.
Hurricane Ian is expected to pass west of the Florida Keys later today and approach the West Coast of Florida on Wednesday. As a result, several counties have issued mandatory Evacuation Orders for select areas, including coastal communities, mobile homes, and low-lying regions. Check to see if you are under an evacuation order, and follow local officials for updates.
Evacuation orders have been issued in the following counties:
Current Watches and Warnings in Effect:
Hurricane Warnings: Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, DeSoto, Charlotte, Lee
Tropical Storm Warnings: coastal Nassau, Duval, Clay, Putnam, St. Johns, Flagler, Levy, Alachua, Volusia, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Sumter, Lake, Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Brevard, Okeechobee, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Highlands, Glades, Hendry, Collier, Mainland Monroe, Palm Beach, Lower & Middle Keys
Hurricane Watches: Levy, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Sumter, Lake, Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Okeechobee, Highlands, Glades, Hendry, Collier
Tropical Storm Watches: coastal Franklin, coastal Wakulla, coastal Jefferson, coastal Taylor, Dixie, Gilchrist, Alachua, Union, Bradfor, Baker, inland Nassau, Broward, Miami-Dade, Upper Keys
Storm Surge Warnings: Suwannee River to Flamingo, including Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor; Dry Tortugas; Marineland to the Mouth of the St. Marys River; the St. Johns River
Storm Surge Watches:
Florida Keys; Aucilla River to Suwannee River; Marineland to Volusia/Flagler Line
Anclote River to Bonita Beach, including Tampa Bay… 5–10 ft
Suwanee River to Anclote River… 5–8 ft
Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee... 4–7 ft
Chokoloskee to East Cape Sable, FL... 3–5 ft
Flagler/Volusia County Line to Altamaha Sound, including the St. Johns River… 2–4 ft
East Cape Sable to Card Sound Bridge, including Florida Bay... 2–4 ft
Aucilla River to Suwannee River... 2–4 ft
The Florida Keys including the Dry Tortugas... 2–4 ft
Indian Pass to Aucilla River... 1–3 ft
Tampa International Airport will suspend operations at 5 pm Tues Sept 27
St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport will close at 2 pm Tues Sept 27
Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport – Currently open and continuing storm preparations
Tallahassee International Airport – Currently open and continuing storm preparations
Pensacola International Airport – Currently open and continuing storm preparations
Punta Gorda Airport – Currently open and continuing storm preparations
Tuesday, September 27, 11:56 am
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has provided information and resources for those who have coverage through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and who might be affected by Hurricane Ian.
There are several resources available for homeowners to prepare for possible claims. The NFIP offers flood insurance to help mitigate the impact of flooding on businesses, property owners and renters.
For people who have flood insurance policies through FEMA and its federal flood insurance program, the Department of Financial Services encourages consumers to reach out to their insurance agents for more information about filing a claim. For general information for consumers, go to https://www.floodsmart.gov/. Consumers may also reach FEMA directly at 1-800-621-3362.
Here are some useful links from the Florida Department of Financial Services:
Filing Your Claim:
- How To Start Filing Your Claim
- How To File Your Flood Insurance Claim
- Starting Your Recovery: FEMA’s Flood Insurance Claims Process
- How To Document Damage
Recovering from a flood:
- How To Document Damage And Begin Clean-Up
- NFIP Claims Handbook
- Build Back Safer & Stronger
- Salvaging Water-Damaged Family Valuables and Heirlooms
- Reducing Future Flood Damage
Tuesday, September 27, 11:30 am
Hurricane Ian landed over western Cuba at 4:30 am as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph. The storm is moving north and is expected to strengthen throughout the day, reaching 140 mph and developing into a Category 4 storm later tonight.
The National Hurricane Center reports in their 11:00 am update that Ian's track has shifted southeast. A tropical storm warning is now in effect for Palm Beach County north to southern Georgia. A tropical storm warning means tropical storm-force winds are expected in the area within 36 hours.
Ian is still a Category 3 hurricane. But the storm's wind speeds decreased to 115 mph. It is currently 125 miles south-southwest of the Dry Tortugas and 305 miles south-southwest of Sarasota.
With a shift in the forecast track to the southeast, the center of the cone shows Ian making landfall in Sarasota as a 125 mph Category 3 hurricane.
The National Weather Service in Miami issued a tornado watch for South Florida through 5 pm today. Rain squalls are moving up the coast from the Florida Keys with rain expected to intensify throughout the day.