Hurricane Ian is expected to slam into Florida this week as it strengthens to a Category 4 hurricane, with wind speeds between 130 and 156 mph that are capable of causing “catastrophic damage.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a State of Emergency for all 67 Florida counties.
Jamie Rhome, acting director of the National Hurricane Center, said during a briefing on Sunday that Hurricane Ian “is going to be a large and powerful hurricane in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and spread its impacts over a large portion of the Florida peninsula.”
“Catastrophic damage” can occur during Category 4 hurricanes, according to the National Hurricane Center and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
“Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months,” the centers’ joint website explains.
Gov. DeSantis warned on Monday that Hurricane Ian appears to be a “really big hurricane at this point” with a diameter that “is about 500 miles wide,” CNN reported.
“It’s important to point out to folks that the path of this is still uncertain,” DeSantis said Sunday during a press conference in Tallahassee. “The impacts will be broad throughout the state of Florida.”
“The models are not in agreement,” DeSantis continued. “They have moved it west, I think, over the past two days and so maybe that will continue but just don’t think if you’re not in that eye that somehow you don’t have to make preparations, because the last thing we want to see is see it start to really bare east quickly and then have folks who are not prepared. So it’s better to be prepared and then not have to use those preparations than the opposite.”
“Tropical Storm Ian is expected to become a hurricane and reach major hurricane strength before making landfall on Florida’s west coast. In preparation for the storm’s landfall Governor DeSantis declared a State of Emergency in all 67 counties and the State Emergency Operations Center is activated at Level One,” the update states.