Hurricane Ian Nears the Florida Coast, Threatening Floods

9/28/2022 11:03:00 AM

Hurricane Ian nears the Florida coast, threatening floods

Hurricane Ian nears the Florida coast, threatening floods

The storm could become a Category 4 hurricane before roaring ashore on Florida's southwest coast on Wednesday afternoon

This GOES-East GeoCcolor satellite image taken at 12:41 a.Image caption, Florida resident Barbara Schueler fills sandbags in preparation for the storm Residents in Florida are anxiously bracing for life-threatening tidal surges, floods and winds as Hurricane Ian approaches.Listen to this article Loading audio.Column: We Can’t Have a Stable Climate If We Keep Destroying Nature The current hurricane season had been uncharacteristically mild until about a week ago because of dry air in the Atlantic.

m.EDT on Wednesday, Sept.The Tampa Bay region, which is home to more than 3 million people, is among the most vulnerable places in the US for severe flooding.28, 2022, and provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows Hurricane Ian over the Gulf of Mexico.The hurricane is expected to get even stronger over the warm Gulf of Mexico, reaching top winds of 130mph as it approaches the southwestern coast of Florida, where 2.NOAA via AP CURT ANDERSON/AP September 28, 2022 3:02 AM EDT ST."It's been around 100 years since Tampa had a direct hit.PETERSBURG, Fla.Their often unpredictable nature can cause major problems for coastal residents, emergency planners and forecasters.

— Florida residents rushed to board up their homes, stash precious belongings on upper floors and flee from oncoming Hurricane Ian, fearing the monstrous storm that knocked out power to all of Cuba and left 11 million people without power would slam into their state’s west coast with catastrophic winds and flooding on Wednesday.Low elevation, rising sea levels, and a large population increase the risk of a catastrophic tidal surge.A Category 4 storm - on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale - carries winds of up to 130 miles per hour.“You can’t do anything about natural disasters,” said Vinod Nair, who drove inland from the Tampa area Tuesday with his wife, son, dog and two kittens seeking a hotel in the tourist district of Orlando.“We live in a high risk zone, so we thought it best to evacuate.If hit directly, the region may be "unrecognisable" in the next couple of days, Mr Salna told the BBC.” Nair and his family were among at least 2.Get on the road," Florida's director of emergency management, Kevin Guthrie, said during a news briefing on Tuesday evening, urging residents to escape while they could.5 million Florida residents ordered to evacuate in anticipation of a powerful storm surge, high winds and flooding rains." Hurricane Ian - currently a category three storm - is likely to gain strength as it moves northbound into Florida, passing over the Gulf of Mexico's warm water on the way.“What used to be a very, very rare event obviously has not been rare lately.

Fueled by warm offshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Ian was gaining strength after plowing over western Cuba’s prized tobacco-growing region as a Category 3 storm on Tuesday.The U.It is expected to do so late on Wednesday.Picture: Alamy Governor Ron DeSantis warned late Tuesday night that evacuation would become difficult for those who waited much longer to flee because increasing winds would soon force authorities to close highway bridges.S.National Hurricane Center predicted Ian could become a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 130 mph (209 kph) before roaring ashore on Florida’s southwest coast on Wednesday afternoon.6ft) of rain in some areas.Hurricane-force winds were expected in Florida well in advance of the storm’s eyewall moving inland.S.

Workers board up the windows on the historical Henry B.Over the last 50 years, development has surged along the Tampa region's nearly 700 miles (1,126km) of shoreline, with people and buildings scattered along the mostly low-lying beach.Plant Hall on the campus of the University of Tampa ahead of Hurricane Ian Tuesday, Sept.27, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.This is, in its own way, a human nature trainwreck," said Richard Olson, director of the extreme events institute at Florida International University (FIU).Officials have since set up 55 shelters, evacuated 50,000 people, and took steps to protect crops, especially tobacco.AP Photo/Chris O'Meara “It is a big storm, it is going to kick up a lot of water as it comes in,” Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis said in Sarasota, a coastal city of 57,000 in the storm’s projected path.Tampa Bay Mayor Jane Castor said on Tuesday that the city would also be implementing a curfew for remaining residents.

He warned at a news conference: “This the kind of storm surge that is life threatening.As the storm's centre moved into the Gulf, scenes of destruction emerged in Cuba.” Ian’s forward movement slowed over the Gulf, enabling the hurricane to grow wider and stronger."People say they're going to stay there and wait it out, it just scares me.A hurricane warning covering roughly 220 miles (350 kilometers) of the state’s included Fort Myers as well as Tampa and St.Petersburg, which could get their first direct hit by a major hurricane since 1921.Residents have been buying water bottles in bulk, boarding up windows and moving garden furniture inside.The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Wednesday at 2 a.

m.Image source, Image caption, Residents are buying supplies as they brace for the storm "This is not a drill," Mayor Castor said.that the storm is moving closer to the west coast of Florida, moving north-northeast about 10 mph (17 kph) toward Naples.Maximum winds are about 120 mph (193 kph) with higher gusts." On one flight to Tampa on Tuesday, returning residents discussed the approaching storm.Forecasters said the storm surge could reach 12 feet (3.6 meters) if it peaks at high tide.As flights landed, mobile phone alerts blared notifying residents of mandatory evacuation orders across the region.

Rainfall near the area of landfall could top 18 inches (46 centimeters).Read More: These Six Places Will Face Extreme Climate Change Threats Gil Gonzalez wasn’t taking any chances."It's the calm before the storm," he said.He boarded the windows of his Tampa home with plywood and laid down sandbags to guard against any flooding.He and his wife packed their car with bottled water, flashlights, battery packs for their cellphones and a camp stove before evacuating."I toyed with the idea of writing a disaster movie - a storm goes across Cuba, becomes intense, goes up the west coast of Florida - you know how those movies go," said Hugh Willoughby, a meteorology professor at FIU.“All the prized possessions, we’ve put them upstairs in a friend’s house,” Gonzalez said.

Airports in Tampa, St."It's probably not going to be the worst case scenario, but it's potentially a really bad situation.Petersburg and Key West closed.Disney World theme parks and Sea World in Orland all closed ahead of the storm.A couple from England on vacation in Tampa found themselves faced with riding out the storm at a shelter.Glyn and Christine Williams of London were told to leave their hotel near the beach when evacuations were ordered.

Because the airport shut down, they could get no flight home.“Unfortunately, all the hotels are full or closed, so it looks as though we’re going to be in one of the shelters,” Christine Williams said.Her husband insisted all would be fine.“You know, you got to go with the flow,” Glyn Williams said.“So we’re quite happy doing what we’re doing.

” With Ian’s tropical storm-force winds extending 140 miles (225 kilometers) from its center, damage was expected across a wide area of Florida.Flash floods were possible across the whole state, and portions of its east coast faced a potential storm surge threat as Ian’s bands approach the Atlantic ocean.The approach of the storm also kicked up warnings of isolated tornados.Traffic builds along Interstate 4 in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, Sept.

27, 2022, as Hurricane Ian approaches.Willie J.Allen Jr./Orlando Sentinel via AP Meanwhile, there was still uncertainty over precisely where landfall would occur.Florida Power and Light warned those in Ian’s path to brace for days without electricity.

As a precaution, hundreds of residents were being evacuated from several nursing homes in the Tampa area, where hospitals also were moving some patients.Parts of Georgia and South Carolina also could see flooding rains and some coastal surge Friday into Saturday.Georgia Gov.Brian Kemp pre-emptively declared a state of emergency, ordering 500 National Guard troops onto standby to respond as needed.Before turning toward Florida, Ian made landfall early Tuesday in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province, striking with sustained top winds of 125 mph (205 kmh) and causing destruction in the island nation’s world-famous tobacco belt.

Local government station TelePinar reported heavy damage at the main hospital in Pinar del Rio city, tweeting photos of collapsed ceilings, widely flung debris and toppled trees.No deaths were reported.Some left the stricken area on foot, carrying their children, while buses tried to evacuated others through waterlogged streets.Others opted to stay at their damaged houses.“It was horrible,” said Yusimi Palacios, a 49-years-old resident of Pinar del Rio inside her damaged house.

“But here we are alive, and I only ask the Cuban revolution to help me with the roof and the mattress.” —Associated Press contributors include Christina Mesquita in Havana, Cuba; Cody Jackson in Tampa, Florida; Freida Frisaro in Miami; Anthony Izaguirre in Tallahassee, Florida; Mike Schneider in Orlando, Florida; Seth Borenstein in Washington and Bobby Caina Calvan in New York.More Must-Read Stories From TIME.

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