DeSantis declares statewide emergency as Tropical Storm Ian moves toward Florida – NBC10 Philadelphia

Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for Florida on Saturday as Tropical Storm Ian strengthens over the Caribbean and is expected to bring heavy rain and intense hurricane winds to the state next week.

On Friday, DeSantis initially issued the emergency order for two dozen counties, but extended the warning to the entire state, encouraging residents and local governments to prepare for a storm that could hit from large swathes of Florida.

“This storm has the potential to develop into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to be prepared,” DeSantis said in a statement. “We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to monitor the potential impacts of this storm.”

The National Hurricane Center said Ian is expected to strengthen rapidly in the coming days before moving into western Cuba and making landfall in Florida mid-next week with major hurricane strength.

John Cangialosi, senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said it was currently unclear where Ian would hit hardest in Florida and said residents should start preparing for the storm, including by gathering supplies for possible power outages.

“Too early to tell if this will be a Southeast Florida or Central Florida problem or just statewide,” he said. “So at this point, the right message for those living in Florida is that you need to watch the forecast and be prepared and prepared for the potential impact of this tropical system.”

The governor’s statement releases emergency protection funding and activates members of the Florida National Guard, his office said. His order emphasizes that there is a risk of storm surge, flooding, dangerous winds and other weather conditions throughout the state.

Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for Florida on Saturday as Tropical Storm Ian strengthens over the Caribbean and is expected to bring heavy rain and intense hurricane winds to the state next week.

At a Friday press conference, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said it was time to prepare.

“No reason to panic but we want everyone to be ready,” said Levine Cava during the briefing. “Now is the time to make sure you have a hurricane plan in place.”

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez also spoke about the preparedness during a Friday afternoon briefing.

“As Miamians, we know being prepared is key,” Suarez said. “We want you to make sure you get through your hurricane supplies.”

The Florida Division of Emergency Management said Friday it was monitoring the system and also urged residents to prepare.

“The Division is working closely with our federal, state and local partners to ensure that we are prepared to provide assistance to affected areas if Tropical Depression Nine makes landfall in Florida next week,” said the director of the Emergency Management Division Kevin Guthrie in a statement. It’s critical that Floridians stay alert and prepared – it only takes one storm to cause costly or irreversible damage to your home or business.”

National Weather Service meteorologist Kelly Godsey said the storm could reach the Gulf of Mexico by late Monday or early Tuesday.

“It’s a great time to take advantage of the calm weather that’s out there now, before any tropical systems arrive, to make sure you have supplies for yourself, for your family,” Godsey said. “Know what you will do if the storm approaches your area.”

Officials from the South Florida Region of the American Red Cross said they were also preparing for the impacts.

“Our teams are coordinating with partners, reviewing our response plans, mobilizing volunteers and preparing supplies, to be ready to provide assistance, if needed,” said Florida Red Cross CEO of the South, Josett Valdez. “And we urge our neighbors to watch the storm closely and take the time to prepare.”

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AP reporter Julie Walker contributed to this report from New York.

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