As Floridians keep an eye out for the storm inching closer to the state, the National Hurricane Center upgraded Tropical Storm Ian to hurricane status early Monday morning.
“Regardless of Ian’s exact track and intensity, there is a risk of a life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall along the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by the middle of this week,” the NHC warned in a 5 a.m. advisory. “Tropical Storm and Hurricane Watches have been issued for a portion of the west coast of Florida and additional watches may be required later today.”
While southeast Florida is no longer in Ian’s projected trajectory (we’re talking to you Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach), and forecasters are still unsure of where exactly Ian could make landfall within the state, one thing is for sure and that’s that we can expect heavy rains and possible tropical storm winds.
Ian is expected to rapidly intensify to at least a Category 3 hurricane by the time it reaches western Cuba or in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday. Miami will likely see rainy weather and thunderstorms in the next several days, which could lead to flooding concerns. This is also a time when tides are especially high because it is King Tide season.
In other parts of Florida, however, Ian poses a huge threat. A storm surge has been issued for the Anclote River to the Florida Keys, meaning flooding is possible through midweek, and a tropical storm warning is also in effect for the lower Florida Keys, which means that tropical storm conditions are expected there Monday night or Tuesday. For parts of Florida’s west coast, a hurricane watch has been in effect, from north of Englewood to the Anclote River, including Tampa Bay.
Over the weekend, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all of the state, extending his initial order that covered 24 counties. He urged residents to take precautions and prepare for the possibility of severe weather like heavy rains, high winds and rising seas.
“It really is important to stress the degree of uncertainty that still exists,” DeSantis said in a news conference. “Even if you’re not necessarily right in the eye of the path of the storm, there’s going to be pretty broad impacts throughout the state.”
President Joe Biden also declared a state of emergency in Florida Saturday, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief and provide assistance to protect lives and property.
In case you’re in need of sandbags, they are currently being distributed by the City of Miami in the following parks today, September 26, until 5 p.m.:
- Grapeland Park, 1550 NW 37th Ave., Miami, FL 33125
- Little Haiti Soccer Park, 6301 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33138
- Douglas Park, 2755 SW 37 Ave., Miami, FL 33133
Despite the forecast being subject to change, Hurricane Ian looks to still produce significant impacts through much of the state throughout this week. For more information on hurricane preparedness for Miami-Dade County, click here. Stay safe, Miami.