Thousands of Residents Flee South Florida as Hurricane Ian Bears Down

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As Hurricane Ian advanced towards the coast, thousands of South Florida residents were forced to evacuate and packed up on Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning Governor Ron DeSantis gave an update and urged Floridians not to ignore Ian, which could hit the Gulf Coast as a Category-4 hurricane.

DeSantis stated that there is still uncertainty as to where exactly the storm will make landfall, but it is important to understand that the impact of the storms will go far beyond where the eye of the hurricane makes landfall. “If you’re dealing with storm surges of 5-10 feet, this is something you don’t want to be part of. Mother Nature is a formidable adversary so be aware of those warnings.”

Residents should be prepared for the impact of Ian, a Category 3 storm, as water pours over Key West’s sea walls. High wind gusts of up to 70 mph and rows of cars creating traffic jams for 40 minutes before leaving Tampa Bay are some of the reasons residents need to brace for.

According to the National Weather Service, storm winds will intensify Tuesday night in the Florida Keys and the storm will surge later in the week.

Jon Rizzo, National Weather Service-Key West’s warning coordination meteorologist, said that “after the winds subside there will still be strong rainfall squalls through the Florida Keys and that’s where the water is expected to rise.” “We expect water to rise to its maximum on Thursday, and will continue to flood streets and bay sides all the way through Friday,” said Jon Rizzo, the National Weather Service-Key West warning coordination meteorologist.

WESH 2 reported that Ian had reached maximum winds of 120 mph by 5 p.m. just 230 miles south of Sarasota (Florida) and 50 miles south-southwest at the Dry Tortugas.

The large and powerful system was measured by meteorologists at 500 miles with a clearly defined eye.

Daytona City businessmen who were severely affected by Hurricane Irma 2017 in 2017, began to board their windows and place sandbags at entrances.

On Tuesday morning, mandatory evacuation orders were in effect for Charlotte, Hillsborough, and Lee counties. These areas include Tampa, which is the largest city in the county, as well as other coastal cities.

According to local media, meteorologists are comparing Ian with Hurricane Charley (2004), a major Category 4 hurricane that showed a similar path to the United States and was recorded to have been one of the most destructive hurricanes to hit the country.

In preparation for Ian, the governor declared a state emergency in all 67 Florida counties. To help low-lying areas evacuate more quickly, the governor has temporarily suspended all tolls in Tampa Bay.

President Joe Biden also approved a Saturday emergency declaration for Florida in response to the increasing hurricane threat.

On Monday, Hurricane Ian struck Cuba and began its journey toward Florida. More than 50,000 people have been evacuated by authorities, and 55 shelters were set up on the island.