Last Updated: September 29, 2022

People on High Alert as Hurricane Ian Rapidly Approaches Florida

On Tuesday, as Hurricane Ian made its way toward the west coast of Florida after knocking out electricity across all of Cuba, more than 2.5 million Floridians were under some type of evacuation notice.  

Millions of people living along the Gulf Coast of Florida, which has been hit by and destroyed by major hurricanes in the past, were nervously watching forecasts, stocking up on food, and doing what they could to get ready for Hurricane Ian.  

The government told people in low-lying areas to start getting ready to leave because dangerous storm surges, flooding, and strong winds are coming in the next few days. 

Insurance companies are also urging homeowners to hurricane shutters as Ian inches ever closer. Insurance policies may specifically require shutters to be installed during an impending hurricane. People don’t realize that not putting up shutters could lead to them fighting their insurance company.  

The center of the Category 3 storm was about 180 miles south-southwest of the city of Punta Gorda on Tuesday night. This is close to where it is expected to hit land in less than 24 hours. The city’s leaders said Tuesday night that all emergency services, including police and fire response, will be put on hold until the storm is over and it is safe to do so again. 

Forecasters and Florida officials have been warning for days that this storm will be a dangerous one with a storm surge, flooding, and strong winds that could kill people. The National Hurricane Center says that Ian’s hurricane-force winds went out 40 miles from its center, and its tropical storm-force winds went out about 140 miles. Some parts of the Florida Keys reported wind gusts of more than 50 mph. 

Storm surges of up to four feet are predicted for the Tampa Bay area, according to forecasters following the hurricane. Mobile houses might be completely wiped out, and even permanent structures could be damaged. Roads may become impassable due to large debris, and power outages may hinder communication. 

Everybody who has been told to leave an evacuation zone should do so immediately. There is an immediate need for you to leave the building. Director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management Kevin Guthrie cautioned during a press conference on Tuesday night that there will come a moment when it will be unsafe to go on the roadways. 

At some point, local law enforcement won’t be able to come to your aid if you call for help. He continued, “You might be on your own.” 

The damage isn’t confined to southwest Florida. 

During a press conference on Tuesday night, Governor Ron DeSantis warned that the effects of the hurricane would be felt “far and wide” across Florida. As the storm approaches, people in the interior of our state and on the east coast may issue evacuation directives for low-lying communities that are at risk of flooding. 

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