Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declares emergency as storm is expected to hit Florida

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis campaigns for Republican Senate candidate JD Vance during an event hosted by Turning Point Action in Youngstown, Ohio, US, on August 19, 2022.

Gaelen Morse | Reuters

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for 24 counties as Tropical Storm Ian gathers strength over the Caribbean and is expected to bring heavy rain and hurricane-force winds next week to the state

DeSantis issued the order Friday encouraging residents and local governments to prepare as the storm moves toward the state. It has also requested a federal emergency declaration prior to landfall.

“This storm has the potential to become a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations,” 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 west of Cuba and approaching Florida next week at hurricane strength.

John Cangialosi, a senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said it’s currently unclear where Ian will affect Florida the most and said residents should start preparing for the storm, including the collection of supplies for possible power outages.

“Too early to say if it’s going to be a Southeast Florida problem or a Central Florida problem or just statewide,” he said. “So at this point, the really right message for those who live in Florida is that you need to watch the forecast and prepare for the potential impact of this tropical system.”

The governor’s proclamation applies to Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas , Polk, Sarasota and St. Lucie.

Meanwhile, heavy rain and winds are lashing the Atlantic Canada region as a powerful post-tropical cyclone made landfall there, with forecasters warning it could be one of the most severe storms in the county’s history. Fiona made landfall in Nova Scotia before dawn on Saturday.

More than 500,000 customers in Atlantic Canada have been affected by the outages. Ocean waves battered the town of Port Aux Basques on Newfoundland’s southern coast, where entire structures were washed out to sea.

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