Ian strengthened into a major hurricane with sustained winds of roughly 125 mph early Tuesday morning, just before making landfall in western Cuba. The dangerous Category 3 hurricane was forecast to grow further when it passed over the island, heading for the warm seas of the Gulf of Mexico and Florida’s west coast later this week.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered Monday in low-lying areas surrounding Tampa Bay, and officials advised others in the vicinity to leave voluntarily, recognizing that moving hundreds of thousands of people out of Ian’s path might take some time. According to the National Institute of Meteorology in Cuba and the National Hurricane Center in the United States, the storm hit land early Tuesday morning.

Ian was expected to strengthen to a Category 4 hurricane with maximum gusts of 140 mph before making landfall in Florida as early as Wednesday. Tampa and St. Petersburg appeared to be prime targets for their first direct strikes by a big hurricane in a century. Even if Ian does not directly impact the area, the consequences of the storm might be felt, according to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.


The governor said that tolls in the Tampa Bay area had been suspended and that the state had recruited 5,000 National Guard personnel, with another 2,000 on standby in neighboring states. According to DeSantis, more than 27,000 power restoration personnel were placed on standby to assist following the storm. Please take this storm very seriously. It’s a genuine article. Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director Timothy Dudley stated at a Monday news conference on storm preparations in Tampa, where some mandatory evacuations have been ordered, that this is not a practice.

Administrator Bonnie Wise stated at a news conference that up to 300,000 people might be evacuated from low-lying areas in Hillsborough County alone. Shelters were set up in schools and other public places. Officials in Pinellas County, which includes St. Petersburg, issued evacuation orders that went into force Monday evening. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri stated that no one would be forced to leave but that they would do so at their own risk.

The evacuation zone extends all the way around Tampa Bay and the rivers that feed it, including MacDill Air Force Base and well-known communities like Hyde Park, Davis Islands, and Ybor City. A satellite image supplied by the National Hurricane Center shows Hurricane Ian’s eye churning into western Cuba at 2:26 a.m. Eastern on September 27, 2022. According to the National Hurricane Center, Ian was moving north at 12 mph on Tuesday morning and was just about 10 miles northeast of the city of Pinar del Rio in western Cuba. Its strongest sustained winds have risen to 125 miles per hour.

On Monday, authorities in Cuba evacuated over 50,000 people from the province of Pinar del Rio. According to state media, they had sent in medical and emergency workers as well as taken precautions to protect food and other crops stored in warehouses. The hurricane center forecast that a storm surge along Cuba’s western coast may reach 14 feet Monday night or early Tuesday. In Havana, fishermen were removing their boats from the water along the iconic Malecon, the beachside boardwalk, while city workers were unclogging storm drains in preparation for the anticipated rain. Residents of Havana’s poor El Fanguito neighborhood near the Almendares River were getting ready to leave their homes, many of which had been damaged by storms in the past.

A storm surge of up to 10 feet of ocean water and 10 inches of rain in the Tampa Bay area, with up to 15 inches in isolated spots. That much water is enough to inundate low-lying coastal settlements. Residents in Florida were preparing, waiting for hours in Tampa to collect sandbags and empty store shelves of bottled water. In preparation for Ian’s arrival, NASA took the Artemis 1 rocket off its launch pad and moved it to the safety of the agency’s Vehicle Assembly Building. This meant that the unmanned moonshot couldn’t happen before November.

DeSantis has issued a state of emergency in Florida and advised citizens to brace themselves for the storm, which is expected to hammer broad portions of the state with torrential rainfall, powerful winds, and rising waters. Flash floods and flooding in cities are likely in the Florida Keys and Florida Peninsula through the middle of the week. North Florida, the Florida Panhandle, and the southeast United States could get a lot of rain later this week.

The hurricane center has encouraged Floridians to prepare for the storm and to keep an eye on updates on the storm’s progress. President Biden also proclaimed a state of emergency, directing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to organize disaster relief and offer aid to save lives and property. Because of the storm, the president canceled a planned trip to Florida for Tuesday.

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