Florida on red alert as Hurricane Ian goes Category 2 overnight, 300k people ordered to evacuate

Florida on red alert as Hurricane Ian goes Category 2 overnight, 300k people ordered to evacuate
As Hurricane Ian grows stronger, at least 300,000 residents were given mandatory evacuation orders and at least 15 million people are expected to be hit by the same. (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)

FLORIDA: Hurricane Ian is coming and the Florida officials have already issued mandatory evacuations for several counties on Monday, September 26. The National Weather Service (NWS) explained that the natural disaster phenomenon had reached 100mph winds by 5 pm on Monday already and the Florida Keys were already dealing with rains and storms from Ian’s most outer bands. So far, many places have recorded 2-3 inches of rain.

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"An additional 4-6 inches of rain with isolated totals to 8 inches is possible through Wednesday morning," as per NWS. Hillsborough County, including Tampa and Fort Myers are expected to be the worst hit area by Hurricane Ian with flash floods and heavy rainfall being common outcomes. Hurricane-force winds are expected in west-central Florida beginning Wednesday morning, September 28. High speed winds are expected to reach 120 mph. More than 300,000 people mainly living in Pinellas, Sarasota, Charlotte, Hillsborough, and Hernando counties have been hit by the evacuation order. Almost 15 million people in Florida are expected to be affected by Hurricane Ian as Orlando, Tallahassee and Jacksonville are places of interest too. The hurricane will level up to Category 3 according to the wind speeds and is expected to become Category 4 this week. Cuba is expected to be severely hit as well.

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Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) shows Florida's imminent battle with the hurricane. (National Weather Service)
Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) shows Florida's imminent battle with the hurricane. (National Weather Service)

The University of Florida has canceled all their classes, including online, saying, "Classes and all academic and student-related activities, including online classes, will be canceled from Wednesday, Sept. 28 through Friday, Sept. 30. UF continues to monitor Hurricane Ian." Hillsborough County Emergency Management also issued a warning saying, "A MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDER FOR LEVEL A, and VOLUNTARY EVACUATION ORDER FOR LEVEL B has been issued by Hillsborough County including all low-lying areas, mobile and manufactured homes. Evacuation started at 2 p.m. on September 26, 2022, due to Hurricane Ian."

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In this NOAA handout image taken by the GOES satellite at 16:56 UTC: shows Hurricane Ian as it moves toward western Cuba on September 26, 2022 in the Caribbean Sea.  The storm is expected to bring a potentially life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds. Meteorologists expect Ian to peak at Category 4 strength over the Gulf of Mexico later this week, then weaken before reaching Florida.
In this NOAA handout image taken by the GOES satellite at 16:56 UTC: shows Hurricane Ian as it moves toward western Cuba on September 26, 2022 in the Caribbean Sea. (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)

Other counties like Sarasota, Charlotte, and Manatee are expected to be hit by the hurricane as well. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor told CNN, "Mother nature always wins. And this storm is going to be a very impactful storm … If you can leave, just leave now. And we will take care of your personal property. You certainly could replace personal possessions. You can’t bring anyone back to life." Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said during a brief on Monday, "This is a really, really big hurricane." As heavy flooding and damage are expected, he explained that additional medical personnel, ambulances, generators, and water pumps have been deployed in Tampa. With an expected 10 to 15 inches of rain, the condition's severity is pretty clear which is why 5,000 Florida National Guard members have been activated, along with 2,000 additional troops from nearby states including Georgia and Tennessee. Check out the evacuation zones below:

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