Tropical Storm Ian – live updates: Florida warned to ‘be ready’ as Ian expected to rapidly intensify into hurricane

Central Florida stores struggle to keep water on shelves ahead of Tropical Storm Ian

Floridians have been warned to “be ready” for a potential hurricane this week, as Tropical Storm Ian continues to strengthen while charting a path towards the Sunshine State.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts that by mid-week, Ian will have reached Florida as a major hurricane.

The Florida governor said that he “appreciates the quick action” from President Joe Biden who granted the state’s request to issue a federal emergency declaration. “We appreciate it, we’re thankful,” he said at Sunday morning’s press conference.

Meanwhile, the authorities in Cuba have suspended classes in Pinar del Rio province and said they will begin evacuations today. Tropical Storm Ian is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane before reaching the western part of the island on its way to Florida.

As Florida prepares for the incoming weather event, Canada is starting to assess the damage and begin recovery efforts after being hammered by post-tropical cyclone Fiona on Saturday. It has also mobilized its army for rescue and assessment of the damage.

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Florida prepares to send 2m meals and 1m gallons of water to affected areas

The Florida government is taking stock of two million meals and one million gallons of water which it will be able to distribute to affected areas when the time comes.

Officials said at Sunday’s press conference that the impact of the storm will be far-reaching across the state and it is preparing now to have essential goods in place.

Governor Ron DeSantis said that Tropical Storm Ian will be a hurricane within the next 24 hours and will likely be a major hurricane “very soon”.

Mr. DeSantis urged residents to ensure they have enough food, water, batteries, medicine and fuel as he warned that power outages are to be expected.

“Make preparations now,” he said.

“Listen to local officials and just prepare that with a hurricane of this magnitude those things are likely to happen.”

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Floridians wait for sandbags to protect themselves from Ian

Floridians in certain areas that are in the path of Ian are bracing for the landfall with sandbags.

7News Miami reported that there was a long line of cars at Macfarlane Park in West Tampa as they waited for sandbags to protect themselves from the heavy rain.

One of the residents was quoted as saying that “this is a first. I’m a little concerned, but I feel better now that we’ve got these [sandbags].” She said she had to wait for more than two hours to receive them.

She added: “Well, now I know where the flood zones are and what you need to do if something severe happens, just go do it.”

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DeSantis says he ‘appreciates’ Biden’s ‘quick action’

The Florida governor said that he “appreciates the quick action” from President Joe Biden who granted the state’s request to issue a federal emergency declaration on Saturday.

“We appreciate it, we’re thankful,” he said at Sunday morning’s press conference.

Mr. Biden declared a state of emergency in Florida on Saturday, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide assistance if or when Ian makes landfall on the SunShine State.

Mr. DeSantis also extended the state of emergency from 24 counties to the entire state on Saturday.

Officials said on Sunday that they had also received calls from every state in the southeast region, saying that they were “ready and willing to help in our time of need”.

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Authorities in Florida are ready with meals and water for residents

As Florida braces for Ian, Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management said on Sunday that the division had 360 trailers loaded with meals and water ready to distribute to residents.

Tropical storm Ian is expected to pass near or west of the Cayman Islands early on Monday, forecasters have predicted.

The National Hurricane Center said that the storm is expected to generate three to six inches of rain in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Mr. Guthrie said: “We could see a situation where we have a Category 4 storm surge, and potentially a Category 1 or 2 landfall.”

Both Mr. Guthrie, and Governor Ron DeSantis warned those living on the coast of Florida’s western peninsula to prepare for the landfall of a major hurricane.

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When will Ian reach Florida?

Forecasts show that Tropical Storm Ian will strengthen into a hurricane by the end of Sunday as it charts a path across the Caribbean.

Jamaica and Grand Cayman are expected to be affected by heavy rain, possible flash flooding and storm surge within the next 24 hours.

On Monday night, Ian could move over western Cuba, where several hurricane warnings are in place.

The hurricane is then forecast to make landfall on the west coast or panhandle of Florida around the middle of the week.

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Cuba to begin evacuations today

The authorities in Cuba have suspended classes in Pinar del Rio province and said they will begin evacuations Monday, the Associated Press reports.

Tropical Storm Ian is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane before reaching the western part of the island on its way to Florida.

Local media reported that Cuban authorities are beginning evacuations from vulnerable areas starting Monday.

On Sunday night, Ian was moving northwest at 13 mph, about 140 miles south of Grand Cayman in Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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Tourists evacuated as Ian hurtles toward Cuba

Tropical Storm Ian hurtled toward western Cuba on Sunday, prompting the government to evacuate tourists amid fears of potentially life-threatening storm surges as Ian becomes a hurricane on Monday, Reuters reported.

Cuba evacuated tourists on Sunday from Isla de la Juventud, off the island’s southwestern coast, as well as workers from nearby Cayo Largo, one of the country’s top tourist destinations, according to local media.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Ian had begun to “strengthen over the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea late on Sunday, as it moved slowly northwestward toward Cuba, with sustained winds of 60 miles per hour.”

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Nasa in two minds over the Artemis I rocket launch because of Ian

On Sunday, as the world watches tropical storm Ian’s path towards Florida, Nasa said that it has not decided whether to leave its Artemis I rocket on the launchpad.

The decision shall be taken after discussions among senior officials that are scheduled to take on Monday, he said.

Artemis I was scheduled to launch on September 27. And because of the weather, Nasa postponed its launch.

It was reported that engineers will decide if the rocket needs to roll back off the launch pad and if they do not roll it back, the next possible launch date will be October 2.

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Residents in southeast Florida told to brace for heavy rains and gusty squalls

Jamie Rhone, acting director of the hurricane center in Florida, warned residents in the southeast to brace for heavy rains and gusty squalls.

“You can’t be too fixated on this cone and it moves around a little bit,” he said. “The track has now shifted just enough that you’re out of the damaging wind potential, but I still need you to prepare for heavy rains and some of the gusty squalls.”

The hurricane center predicts the system could begin to weaken before it makes landfall, possibly as a Category 1 along the Big Bend on Friday, but heavy rain and winds could be felt throughout the state next week, according to Miami Herald.

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NYC Mayor Adams visits Puerto Rico

New York City Mayor Eric Adams visited Puerto Rico on Sunday morning to tour the damage wrought by Hurricane Fiona this week.

Mr. Adams first met with the Emergency Management Department, which is leading recovery efforts, before meeting Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi and San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero.

The visit came as the mayor called on New Yorkers to donate to organizations focused on helping with the relief effort in Puerto Rico.

While Florida is bracing for a potential hurricane in the coming days, the US territory was hammered by Hurricane Fiona at the beginning of the week. Six days on, half of the population is still without power.

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