Governor Ron DeSantis initially declared a state of emergency on Friday (September 23) and decided to expand the order on Saturday (September 24), citing “foregoing conditions, which are projected to constitute a major disaster.”
“The Florida Division of Emergency Management, working together with the National Hurricane Center to evaluate weather predictions, has determined there is a continuing risk of dangerous storm surge, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, strong winds, hazardous seas, and isolated tornadic activity for Florida’s Peninsula and portions of the Florida Big Bend, North Florida, and Northeast Florida,” the order states.
The tropical storm was located in Jamaica on Saturday and is expected to become “a major hurricane over the eastern Gulf when it is approaching the west coast of Florida,” according to the National Hurricane Center via CNN.
Varying forecast models showed that Ian was expected to make landfall on Florida’s coast between Wednesday (September 28) afternoon and early Friday (September 30) morning, however, tropical storm-force winds may be present in southwest Florida as early as Tuesday (September 27).
“Ian is likely to be near major hurricane intensity when it approaches western Cuba,” the National Hurricane Center said via CNN. “Since Ian is not expected to remain over Cuba long, little weakening is expected due to that land interaction.”
Ian would become the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Hurricane Michael in 2018 should it strengthen to a Category 3 or higher.