Tropical Storm Ian forecast to become hurricane; Florida prepares

Ian was forecast to become a hurricane on Sunday and a major storm as early as late Monday.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Authorities and residents in Florida kept a wary eye on Tropical Storm Ian as it rumbled through the Caribbean Sea on Sunday and was expected to continue to gather strength and become a major hurricane in the coming days on a projected path toward the state .

Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier declared a state of emergency for all of Florida, expanding an original order that included two dozen counties. He urged residents to prepare for a storm that could sweep large parts of the state with torrential rain, high winds and rising seas.

“We encourage all Floridians to take their preparations,” DeSantis said in a statement.

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President Joe Biden also declared a state of emergency, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief and provide assistance to protect life and property. The President postponed a scheduled trip to Florida on September 27 because of the storm.

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The National Hurricane Center said Ian is expected to strengthen before moving across western Cuba and toward Florida’s west coast and the Florida Panhandle in midweek. The agency advised Floridians to have hurricane plans in place and to monitor for updates on the storm’s evolving path.

Ian was forecast to become a hurricane on Sunday and a major storm as early as late Monday. Ian had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph Saturday night as it swirled about 395 miles southeast of Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands.

A hurricane warning was in effect for the island and hurricane watches were issued for western Cuba.

“Ian was forecasting rapid intensification,” the hurricane center reported.

John Cangialosi, a senior hurricane specialist for the Miami-based center, said it’s not yet clear exactly where Ian will be hit the hardest. He said Floridians should begin preparations, including getting supplies for potential power outages.

“At this point, the really right message for those living in Florida is that you need to watch forecasts and prepare for potential impacts from this tropical system,” he said.

Elsewhere, powerful post-tropical cyclone Fiona crashed ashore in Nova Scotia in Atlantic Canada on Saturday, washing homes into the sea, ripping off roofs and knocking out power to more than 500,000 customers in two provinces.

MORE: Fiona washes away houses, turns off electricity in Canada Tropical Storm Ian forecast to become hurricane; Florida prepares

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