Hurricane Ian Nears Cuba On Path To Strike Florida As Category 4


HAVANA (AP) — Hurricane Ian moved near the Cayman Islands and nearer to western Cuba early Monday on a observe to hit Florida as a significant hurricane this week.

Ian was forecast to accentuate quickly and hit Cuba as a significant hurricane late Monday, after which grow to be a fair stronger Category Four hurricane over heat Gulf of Mexico waters earlier than placing the west central coast of Florida on Wednesday.

Authorities in Cuba suspended lessons in Pinar del Rio province and deliberate evacuations Monday as Ian gained power on approach to Grand Cayman and the Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa.

“Cuba is expecting extreme hurricane force winds, also life threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall,” U.S. National Hurricane Center senior specialist Daniel Brown advised The Associated Press early Monday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center stated Ian ought to reach far-western Cuba late Monday or early Tuesday, hitting near the nation’s most famed tobacco fields.

At eight a.m. EDT on Monday, Ian was transferring northwest at 14 mph (22 kph), about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west-southwest of Grand Cayman, sustaining high winds of 75 mph (120 kph).

In the Cayman Islands, members of the federal government and opposition have been working collectively “to ensure that our people are made as safe as possible ― the supplies, plywood, in some cases sandbags, are distributed so that they can safely weather this storm,” Premier Wayne Panton stated in a video posted Sunday. “We must prepare for the worst and absolutely pray and hope for the best.”

“Ian is not expected to spend much time over western Cuba, and additional strengthening is likely over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday,” the middle stated. “Ian is likely to have an expanding wind field and will be slowing down by that time, which will have the potential to produce significant wind and storm surge impacts along the west coast of Florida.”

A surge of as much as eight ft (2.Four meters) of ocean water and 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain, with as a lot as 15 inches (38 centimeters) inches in remoted areas, was predicted for the Tampa Bay space. That’s sufficient water to inundate low-lying coastal communities.

Florida residents have been preparing, lining up for hours in Tampa to gather baggage of sand and clearing retailer cabinets of bottled water.

A hurricane watch was issued for Florida’s central western coast together with the Tampa Bay space, the place Hillsborough County suspended lessons by means of Thursday to arrange colleges to function shelters for evacuees. Additional watches for extra northern areas alongside the peninsula’s west coast could also be issued, Brown stated.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency all through Florida and urged residents to arrange for the storm to lash massive swaths of the state with heavy rains, excessive winds and rising seas.

“We’re going to keep monitoring the track of this storm. But it really is important to stress the degree of uncertainty that still exists,” DeSantis stated at a information convention Sunday, cautioning that “even if you’re not necessarily right in the eye of the path of the storm, there’s going to be pretty broad impacts throughout the state.”

Flash and concrete flooding is feasible within the Florida Keys and Florida peninsula by means of midweek, after which heavy rainfall was doable for north Florida, the Florida panhandle and the southeast United States later this week.

The company has suggested Floridians to have hurricane plans in place and monitor updates of the storm’s evolving path.

President Joe Biden additionally declared an emergency, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to coordinate catastrophe reduction and supply help to guard lives and property. The president postponed a scheduled Sept. 27 journey to Florida due to the storm.


Associated Press author Julie Walker contributed to this report from New York.