National Hurricane Center director calls Ian forecast a “near worst-case scenario” for the Tampa area

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. (CNN)

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor held a press conference Monday afternoon to address the city’s preparation for Hurricane Ian.

Castor spoke about the potential dangers of storm surge, saying “we’re looking at the possibility of a 10- to 15-foot storm surge.”

“Clearly, this would be very devastating to our community,” Castor said.

Castor advised residents to heed the warnings and not “make last-minute decisions.”

“We can never predict these storms accurately. It’s mother nature, and the only thing that wins 100 percent of the time is mother nature,” Castor said.

“Right now, the prediction is that we’re going to get hit by Hurricane Ian,” Castor added.

Earlier in the day, evacuation orders were announced for parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Castor said there are 49 shelters open, including some that accept pets and others that do residents with special needs.

“The city of Tampa is ready and we want to make sure all of our citizens are ready,” Castor said.

Castor advised the public to stay informed by signing up for update alerts as “things can change by the minute.”

On Monday, the City of Tampa’s Citizen Information Line was activated to assist residents with “urgent questions about the storm.” Residents can call the center for immediate assistance until 8 p.m. ET Monday and every other day from 8 a.m. ET until midnight until further notice.

“This is going to be a storm like we’ve never seen in the past,” Castor said, adding, “I want everyone to understand the gravity of this situation.”

“We’re not trying to instill fear. We’re just asking everyone to be responsible, to be aware of what this storm can bring,” said Castor.

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