Live updates will be posted here regarding the impacts of Hurricane Ian on our region.
Check here for our hurricane preparedness stories to get ready for the storm. Get the latest updates on Hurricane
Walt Disney World theme and water parks will be closed Wednesday and Thursday. Additional information will be shared soon on DisneyWorld.com/weather.
Central Florida hospitals are gathering supplies to ensure they can continue to provide service as Hurricane Ian inches closer to the region.
AdventHealth Central Florida has stockpiled thousands of gallons of water and has generators ready to power its hospitals in the event power is lost, said spokesperson Jeff Grainger.
“We do not anticipate any service interruptions,” he said. “Family members of patients can rest assured that the hospital will be a safe place for their loved ones during the storm. We will be fully staffed and continue to deliver our excellent standard of care.”
Orlando Health is also making preparations to ensure sufficient staffing and medical supplies, said spokesperson Sabrina Childress.
“Orlando Health takes each hurricane event seriously and prepares accordingly. Preparedness measures are underway and will continue to evolve in response to weather changes,” Childress said. “During inclement weather events, our priority remains the safety and care of all patients.”
HCA Florida Healthcare, too, will have adequate staffing, medications, medical supplies, food and water during the storm for its five Central Florida hospitals, as well as backup generator power, said Richard Hammett, president of the HCA Healthcare North Florida Division.
“We continue to monitor Hurricane Ian as it progresses and will be ready for any changes that may take place in the next 24-48 hours. With the support of HCA Healthcare’s National Command Center, HCA Florida Healthcare hospitals have access to information, resources, and support from a network of experts and care sites across the state and nation,” Hammett said in a statement.
Florida residents should only come to hospitals if they need medical attention. They are not equipped to serve as emergency shelters. Seminole County opening emergency shelters Wednesday | 3:36 p.m. Tuesday
Seminole County will open eight emergency shelters at 8 a.m. on Wednesday at area public schools for residents looking for refuge from Hurricane Ian.
The county will then announce an evacuation order for residents who live in flood-prone areas, mobile homes and persons with disabilities.
At the 3 p.m. press conference, however, county emergency officials held off naming the shelters and locations until they have them fully prepared for the influx of residents.
But residents should first try to find shelter in other areas — such as at a family member’s home or friend’s house — before deciding on a county emergency shelter, officials said.
“Shelters are places of last resort,” said Alan Harris, Seminole director of the county’s office for emergency services.
Residents with special needs should call the county’s hurricane hotline at 407-665-0000 if they need to stay at a shelter.
“Seminole County is planning for extremely high winds, heavy rains and possible tornadoes,” Harris said.
Sheriff Dennis Lemma urged residents to stay off the roads during the storm because of the danger of flying debris and flooded roads.
Lemma noted that his office has increased the number of deputies, along with city police officers, who will be patrolling the county.
“Any person committing a crime during a state of emergency will be dealt with appropriately,” Lemma said.
Shoppers looking for last-minute supplies and groceries from Publix in south Lake County as well as west of Kissimmee still have some time, but face a deadline as Hurricane Ian approaches.
While the Lakeland-based grocer hasn’t revealed changed hours for many of its Orlando area stores yet, at least nine stores in Clermont, Groveland, Minneola, and Kissimmee are expected to close at 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to the grocer’s website as of Tuesday afternoon. They are currently set to reopen Friday.
The stores were earlier listed as closing on Tuesday, and Publix has since updated its site with them closing Wednesday. Customers can check for updates on their stores at publix.com.
Even more stores west and southwest of Kissimmee, including in Davenport, are also expected to temporarily shutter.
Universal Orlando Resort, including CityWalk, will close on Wednesday and Thursday, with tentative plans to reopen on Friday as conditions permit.
Universal Orlando said its hotels are currently at full capacity and will remain operational.
The park planned two of its Halloween Horror Nights events on Wednesday and Thursday, both of which will be canceled. For more information and FAQs, visit https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/plan-your-visit/weather-updates/severe-weather.html.
Data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicated Hurricane Ian’s minimum pressure has decreased to 952 MB. It is now located about 255 south of Sarasota.’
The next full update will be at 5 p.m.
At Osceola County Heritage Park sandbag distribution, the line snakes around the entire park.
Osceola County maintenance worker, Thomas Compton, hands out bundles of 25 bags to cars stopping at his pickup truck with a large blue tarp set up just behind.
“It’s been a steady stream of cars the whole time we’ve been open,” Compton said. “It’s been crazy since Monday because I think that’s when people started to see the storm was coming.”
Compton has worked since Sunday for ten-hour shifts handing out empty sandbag bundles to cars and telling them to “go around the pickup truck and then over there” as he points to a large grass area with various piles of sand and cars huddled around them.
“I think all these people getting sandbags are overreacting,” Compton said as an Ice Cream truck pulls up to the crew of maintenance workers making bundles of sandbags. “Look at that, now we get ice cream.”
Down the line at a sand pile is 57-year-old Ivette Aponte shoveling sand into a bag.
“I’m worried because we live next to two lakes and they are already really full so we’re worried about it flooding into our house,” Aponte said.
Aponte’s 24-year-old flight attendant daughter, Karalise Ferrer, said the family is planning on putting the sandbags in front of their garage door.
“We’re going to fill all 25 sandbags,” Ferrer said. “About five years ago when Hurricane Irma hit we also got sandbags.”
The family lift the heavy bags of sand into the bed of their pickup truck driven by Felix Ferrer, Aponte’s husband and Karalise’s dad.
“I think we’re mostly worried about the rain,” Felix Ferrer said. “We have seen in the past a lot of flooding where we live and I’m worried it will happen again.”
The Osceola County sandbag distribution center at the Osceola Heritage Park will close at 6 p.m. Tuesday with no official word yet if the site will continue operations on Wednesday.
The gas station at 7235 University Blvd. east of Winter Park ran out of gas by 8 a.m. Tuesday after receiving a truck of fuel on Monday, said co-owner Khuram Pervez. He said he and his partners bought the former RaceTrac at the end of July and are rebranding it as “RaceStop.”
“Yesterday [Monday] we were packed,” Pervez said. “Literally, the right side of the lane of the road, that’s where people were trying to come in because it was packed.”
He hoped to get more fuel on Tuesday evening.
“I’m hoping five o’clock,” Pervez said. “But last time when they said five o’clock, I got it at nine. But it is what it is, that’s all part of it. But I am on the list of getting the gas today.”
The station was also out of cases of water.
“We had about 30, 40 cases and they [were] all gone on I believe two days ago,” Pervez said.
Gatorland is taking precautions for Hurricane Ian, but that doesn’t mean removing its namesake animals from its swamp.
The South Orange Blossom Trail attraction posted a video showing employees placing animals, including birds and mammals such as big cats, into on-property shelters. They’re also seen caring for iguanas and snakes.
Alligators and crocodiles take care of themselves, Gatorland President and CEO Mark McHugh said in the video.
“Folks, they’ve been around for 75 million years. It ain’t their first rodeo with nasty storms,” he said while standing in front of a dozen gators.
“They actually feel that barometric pressure changing. … They’ve learned to ride out big storms by just sitting on the bottom of the ponds. [They] come up with their nostrils and take a little breath every now and then,” he said.
After the storm passes, Gatorland staff will make a sweep of the grounds to make sure enclosures haven’t been breached, McHugh said.
“If you see an alligator swimming down your street or sitting in your pool, it ain’t one of ours,” he said.
In anticipation of Hurricane Ian, Leu Gardens began boarding up the Leu House Museum and all historic buildings Tuesday morning. In addition, the urban green space announced it would close on Wednesday at noon and reopen “as quickly as possible,” following an assessment of the grounds and safety. For more updates, visit leugardens.org.
SeaWorld Orlando on Tuesday became the first major theme park in Orlando to announce it was shutting down because of Ian.
A park spokesman said it would be closed Wednesday and Thursday.
“We are taking all necessary precautions — including the implementation of our comprehensive weather preparedness plan — to keep guests, employees and animals safe,” spokesman Carl Hensley said in an email.
National Weather Service meteorologist Derrick Weiglich said Central Florida should prepare for a greater chance of hurricane-force wind gusts following the storm’s latest track to the east.
“It has the potential of still being a Category 1 hurricane, which is what the forecast has right now [at landfall], as it’s pushing inland,” Weiglich said. “So while the tropical storm warning remains in effect, we do have that hurricane watch also for the inland counties for the potential of seeing frequent hurricane force gusts. So that’s definitely something that people should at least plan for in a reasonable worst-case scenario across the Orlando area.”
The threat of heavy rains, flash flooding and tornadoes also remains, Weiglich said.
“Just with how it’s slowing down, that’s really a concern … as it makes landfall and moves onshore,” he said. “That potential for flooding rainfall continues. And then we also have the risk of tornadoes that will continue to increase as we get into tonight, and then stay with us as we go through Wednesday and Thursday. So, unfortunately, it’s a multi-day event with these hazards in play.”
Orange County Public Schools will close campuses Wednesday through Friday because of Hurricane’s projected impact on Central Florida, the school district announced Tuesday. Lake, Osceola and Seminole county schools are also closed from Wednesday through the end of the week. More than 30 Florida school districts, from Sarasota to Jacksonville, have announced campus shutdowns because of the storm, according to the Florida Department of Education.
Orlando Sanford International Airport will close Tuesday after the final departing flight at 4 p.m. Airport officials said passengers must contact their airline if travel plans are disrupted by the airport’s shutdown.
At the much larger Orlando International Airport, officials are coordinating with airlines to determine when to stop operations because of Hurricane Ian.
Through midday Tuesday, international flights were inbound to Orlando International Airport.
Both airports have stressed that their terminals are not shelters.
Shoppers looking for last-minute supplies and groceries from Publix in south Lake County as well as west of Kissimmee may face closed doors after this afternoon.
While the Lakeland-based grocer hasn’t changed hours for many of its Orlando area stores yet, at least nine stores in Clermont, Groveland, Minneola, and Kissimmee are expected to close at 6 p.m. Tuesday, according to the grocer’s website. They are currently set to reopen Friday.
The following shelters in Orange County will open tomorrow, Wed., Sept. 28 for residents needing to evacuate or seek shelter from Hurricane Ian.
Apopka High School opens Wednesday at 8 a.m. This shelter will house the general population and is pet friendly.
Ocoee High School opens Wednesday at 12 p.m. This shelter will house the general population, no pets.
Dr. Phillips High School opens Wednesday at 12 p.m. This shelter will house the general population, no pets.
Oak Ridge High School opens Wednesday at 12 p.m. This shelter will house the general population and is pet friendly.
Timber Creek High School opens Wednesday at 12 p.m. This shelter will house the general population and is pet friendly.
For Orange County residents requiring a Special Needs/Medical Shelter please call 311. Please refer to the website www.OCFL.net/Shelters for important information on what to bring with you to a shelter and get the latest information on more shelter openings in Orange County if needed
With Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida looking at life-threatening storm surge and dangerous flooding, state emergency managers are planning for the kind of post-storm search and rescue operations seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“The big thing we are looking for are additional aviation assets to move people and supplies,” Major General James O. Eifert, the adjutant general of the Florida National Guard, said.
Among those are the legendary Chinook and Pave Hawk helicopters known for their search and rescue, medical aid and disaster response capabilities.
He’s also requested high-water vehicles and swift boats to get to folks who can’t be reached by land.
“Search and rescue supplies and equipment are a big part of that,” Eifert said.
State Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said Florida has taken its planning cues from Katrina, which was a Category One storm by the time it hit New Orleans but had life-threatening storm surges.
“History is past performance and the best predictor of future performance is past performance,” Guthrie said. “We definitely look at the after-action reports and take best practices from them.’
That is the reason they are beefing up their air rescue assets, he said.
“If we have people in an island situation or on a rooftop, these guys can help us locate that and move ground assets in or call in the coast guard for air operations,” Guthrie said.
What saved so many lives in New Orleans was getting 80-90 % of the population evacuated before the storm hit, and why state officials urge people to take evacuation orders seriously.
“If people heed evacuation orders, I can 100% percent guarantee they will not die from storm surge. I can 100% guarantee they will not have to be rescued from off a rooftop if they heed the evacuation order.”
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who declared a state of emergency on Monday, urged all residents to prepare emergency kits and review disaster plans.
”Make sure you have your supplies, all your medicine and your food and water,” Dyer told the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday.
“Today is your last day to get prepared, if you haven’t already done so, do what you need to do, have a family plan in the next few days.”
The City of Orlando continues to monitor the trajectory and potential impact of Ian. Details of sandbags operations, solid waste operations and additional resources for citizens are available in the city’s website.
City officials plan to hold a storm briefing at 1 p.m. at the Orlando Emergency Operations Center.
Orange County Utilities Director Ed Torres said garbage collection in unincorporated areas of the county will continue Wednesday “until the winds get to speeds unsafe for the trucks to be on the road.
“That’s the plan right now but it could change depending on the next forecast that comes out,” he said.
Torres said Utilities has relaxed some rules to allow residents who have cut trees limbs in anticipation of the storm to take trimmings to the county’s transfer stations, “which we do not normally do.”
“We’ll be receiving yard waste at transfer stations for this short period of time and the landfill will have their regular services,” he said.
The transfer stations are located at 1326 Good Homes Road and 5000 L.B. McLeod Road, both in Orlando.
But county officials also said any garbage not picked up by noon Wednesday should be rolled back into a garage or other sheltered area.
“We do not want items left out at the curb that could imperil the community,” Mayor Jerry Demings said, concerned about the wind picking it up and throwing it. “Anything on the curb…just creates peril and causes safety concern for everyone. We’re asking our public to work with us in this regard for their own safety and that of their neighbors.”
During today’s Orange County Commission meeting, Mayor Jerry Demings told the board that county staff was working with state and local governments to tweak emergency plans, including distribution of water.
“While we’re in this meeting, there’s a whole team of people who are committed to working across jurisdictions…to make certain that we have a plan to accommodate the needs not just of the metro Orlando area but the entire state of Florida because of how potential evacuations will occur from coastal counties that will impact us and our ability here to house those persons,” he said.
“We’re seeing impacts in our grocery stores,” he said, noting empty shelves for bottled water. “In our warehouses, we keep a supply of water available for unplanned types of emergencies. That’s part of the conversation that we will have [today] about how we will deploy the water and various other things.”
Dozens of cars waited in line Tuesday morning to fuel up at the Costco Wholesale store on University Boulevard east of Winter Park.
Monique London, 35, of Orlando, said she was buying 10 gallons of gas both because of the storm and because she needed to fuel up.
“I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get it in the morning, but I do need gas,” London said.
She said the business was “way busier.”
“It wasn’t too bad, because I do get over in the center lane which people tend to avoid,” London said.
Around 11 a.m. Tuesday, about 4.4% of Orlando gas stations were out of fuel, said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, on Twitter.
During a Tuesday meeting, Orange County Commissioner Victoria Siplin suggested that evacuations may be a prudent step for residents in Orlo Vista, the working-class neighborhood about five miles west of downtown Orlando that was overwhelmed by Hurricane Irma’s floodwaters in 2017.
“I know that we’re lowering our lake levels, but we have certain areas in our community that we know are prone to flooding,” she said. “We know that our system can take between six to eight inches of rainfall. We’re looking now at what? Eleven to 14 inches. We know there will be local flooding. … I’m really concerned with my folks in Orlo Vista.
“You know, when Irma hit, they were not prepared to deal with the rainfall we received. And so I think, even though we’re doing what we can, we have to be realistic. I think at some point, we should tell folks in certain areas that they have to evacuate.”
Joe Kunkel, Orange County’s public works director, acknowledged Orlo Vista is one of the county’s “hotspots” of flooding concerns. He said the county has “continually been pumping” to provide additional capacity for rainwater in the area.
“In regards to the amount of rain that comes in, if we get into that 10- and 11-inch rainfall event, that is problematic for Orlo Vista,” he said. “If we’re under that amount, then we would be full but, hopefully, [water will not get] up into the residences like it did during [Hurricane] Irma.”
Beachside neighbors living in an evacuation zone agonized Tuesday whether to stay or go as Hurricane Ian threatened to send massive storm surge into Tampa Bay-area coastal communities.
Scott Shapiro, 52, who lives on the water in Indian Rocks Beach, said he isn’t evacuating yet because he thinks the storm will take a more southerly path that would spare Tampa Bay the worst surge.”A lot of times people leave too early, and they get stuck in the middle of the state,” Shapiro said. “I don’t want to get stuck anywhere. I am going to stay here as long as possible.”
”As long as it hits south of us, I’m good,” he said. “I’m worried about the water.”Others boarded up their homes and heeded evacuation orders.
I-4 traffic was bumper to bumper headed out of Tampa Monday night. Sheila Couch was preparing to leave her rental property near the ocean and ride out the storm with a friend and her parents in The Villages.”She said she is worried about her neighbors who aren’t leaving.”Everybody helps each other out,” she said. “We all went and did sandbags together.”
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Michael Faraone, 38, has never feared a storm as much as he fears Hurricane Ian, which is threatening to inflict a catastrophic blow to the Tampa Bay area. He worked Tuesday morning to board up Pajano’s Pizza, a restaurant his family has owned since 1971 in Indian Rocks Beach.
“This one is the most concerning,” he said. “This is no joke. It could be life-changing for everyone.”
Pajano’s is on Gulf Boulevard right next to the beach in an area extremely vulnerable to storm surge. The pizzeria has seen a lot of tropical weather, but water has only made it inside once during a storm in the 1980s, Faraone said.
Faraone plans to ride out the storm with his family in Largo, which is less vulnerable to storm surge.
He said he’s confident the Tampa Bay area will make it through the storm. Customers and friends have already been stopping by the pizzeria to offer their help.
“It’s scary, but it’s good to see everyone come together,” Faraone said.
With predictions for more than 15 inches of rain and heavy storm surge, the Florida Department of Financial Services posted on its website a series of resources for people with flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. Managed by FEMA, the NFIP provides subsidized flood insurance for people in high-risk flood zones. Florida has 35% of all NFIP policyholders in the country, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Below are links to resources for making flood claims, ways to reduce damage and more:
General information on the NFIP
Filing Your Claim:
Recovering from a flood:
The Save the Manatee Club is warning that imperiled manatees are at risk of being stranded by Hurricane Ian’s storm surges and flooding.
“Manatees are well adapted to the extreme weather events in our state,” said the club’s executive director, Patrick Rose.”Storm surges can cause manatees to go far inland to areas they would not normally inhabit, where they can become trapped when the water recedes.”Rose said his group is encouraging residents, once storm conditions have passed and it is safe to do so, to keep an eye on local bodies of water for trapped or stranded manatees.Those animals should be reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-3922.
Because of Hurricane Ian, Central Florida’s public bus system temporarily has stopped ACCESS service on Tuesday for all but life-sustaining medical trips. ACCESS door-to-door service is for riders unable to use regular buses because of a disability or other limitation.
LYNX operates in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties and is based in Orlando. LYNX’s other services, fixed routes, NeighborLink and LYMMO, will continue until sustained winds reach 35 mph.
SunRail, the region’s commuter rail service, already has suspended operations because of the extensive task of securing trains and safety equipment at road crossings.
Because Hurricane Ian is forecasted to stall after it reaches Florida’s west coast on Wednesday, it will drop a large amount of rain for more than a day, leading to extensive flooding in certain areas of Seminole, including along the Wekiva River and Lake Harney, county emergency officials said Tuesday.
“Regardless of where the storm goes exactly, this will be a flooding event,” said Alan Harris, Seminole’s director of the office for emergency management. “We could see some areas receive up to 15 inches of rain.”
Harris urged residents who live along the Wekiva and Little Wekiva rivers, and along the St. Johns River, to prepare their properties for flooding.
He compared Hurricane Ian’s impact on Central Florida as similar to 2017′s Hurricane Irma but lasted longer because the storm was forecasted to stall.
“This is going to be a longer-term event,” he said.
He calculated that the storm’s winds and rain will likely start by Wednesday afternoon and continue until early Friday.
An hour and a half before the theme park was scheduled to open Tuesday, Busch Gardens Tampa said it would close through Thursday due to Hurricane Ian. The 8:30 a.m. announcement extended the Wednesday and Thursday closure the park announced Monday.
Busch Gardens said in a statement it is following a “comprehensive weather preparedness plan” to ensure the safety of its employees and animals. The theme park includes habitats for thousands of animals, including rhinos, giraffes and elephants.
Orlando’s theme parks are continuing to operate under normal conditions Tuesday morning as they monitor the progress of the storm.
While its parks are operating regularly, Walt Disney World is closing certain freestanding rooms at its resorts, some of which are located on the water.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground will close Wednesday through Friday, as will the Copper Creek Cabins at Wilderness Lodge, the Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs Resort and the Bungalows at Polynesian Village Resort.
Disney will also close its Typhoon Lagoon water park and mini-golf courses, Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens, Wednesday and Thursday.
Seminole-Brevard Chief Judge Jessica Recksiedler announced she is canceling most legal proceedings in the 18th Judicial Circuit on Wednesday and Thursday due to Hurricane Ian.
Recksiedler said she made the decision due to “the shift in Hurricane Ian’s path and uncertainty of weather conditions, road safety and the possibility of power outages.”
Jurors should not report for jury duty on those days, according to a press release from the circuit. First-appearance, juvenile detention and shelter hearings will continue to occur at this time, the release said.
At the EOC this morning for an update on Hurricane Ian, Gov. Ron DeSantis said, “Ian is now a major hurricane,” noting that latest projections show the possible landfall shifting south of Tampa Bay.
“The cone of uncertainty has been consistently moving more east…now solutions bringing it into Sarasota,” he said.
Impacts will be felt far broader than where the hurricane ultimately makes landfall, DeSantis said, urging people along the Gulf coast to heed warnings and evacuation orders from their local officials. Also, he said, remember you don’t have to evacuate hundreds of miles, just seek higher, dryer ground.
“Mother nature is a fierce adversary,” DeSantis said.
Valencia College, Lake-Sumter State College and Seminole State College all will cancel classes this week because of the storm, according to the Florida Department of Education.
Valencia, which serves Orange and Osceola counties, is holding classes Tuesday but will be closed Wednesday and Thursday.
Eight of Florida’s 12 public universities plan shutdowns this week, too, including the University of Central Florida, Florida State University, the University of Florida and the University of South Florida.
The Seminole County school district will close campuses Wednesday through Friday, the district announced Tuesday morning, as Hurricane Ian threatens and looks to mean a “more serious weather event” for Central Florida. Previously, Seminole County Public Schools said it would shut campuses on Wednesday but had not made a call for the rest of the week. More than 30 of Florida’s 67 school districts, including all local ones, have announced closures this week because of the storm, according to the Florida Department of Education.
Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to speak at 9 a.m. from the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee. It will be live streamed on thefloridachannel.org.
NASA began the roll back of the Artemis I hardware, a combination of the Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft and the mobile launcher, atop the crawler-transporter 2 at Kennedy Space Center before midnight Monday.
The moon rocket was headed back to the garage in the form of the Vehicle Assembly Building to protect against the threat posed by Hurricane Ian. Brevard County was placed under a tropical storm warning as of Tuesday morning.
Tornadoes are possible in Florida beginning today.
Already overnight, the National Weather Service issued tornado warnings in the Florida Keys as the outer bands of Ian began to move over the peninsula and possible funnel clouds were spotted near the Seven Mile Bridge around 1 a.m. and later over Islamorada, the NWS said. A third warning near Plantation Key came after 6:30 a.m.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will relocate football operations to the Miami area in preparation for next weekend’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs ahead of the potential impact of Hurricane Ian on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
The Buccaneers announced Monday night that the team will leave Tampa on Tuesday and relocate in Miami-Dade County.
The Buccaneers are expected to practice at the Miami Dolphins’ training complex in Miami Gardens, Florida, starting Wednesday and continue through this week’s preparations, if necessary.
So far, there has been no change to the Buccaneers’ game against the Chiefs, which is scheduled for Sunday at 8:20 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium. The NFL, along with the team and local officials, will monitor the situation.
All Volusia district public schools and district offices will close on Sept. 28-29 due to Hurricane Ian.
No decision has been made regarding school on Friday, Sept. 30, Volusia County School District spokesperson Angel Gomez said in a statement Monday evening.
Hurricane Ian’s path is expected to target Florida’s Gulf Coast and impact most of Central Florida with hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall.
Gomez said all school activities, events and programs scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday have been canceled as several Volusia schools are needed as shelters.
Parents and community residents can monitor the district’s website www.vcsedu.org and social media pages for more school district updates.
The Osceola County and Lake County school districts have also announced they were closing schools.
To find out what school districts are closing schools, go to FLDOE.org/storminfo.
The Department of Corrections announced it will be canceling visitation for all incentivized prisons Thursday as Hurricane Ian takes aim at Florida.
Impacted facilities include:
Everglades Correctional Institute
Jefferson Correctional Institute
Madison Correctional Institute
Marion Correctional Institute
Sumter Correctional Institute
Tomoka Correctional Institute
Incentivized prisons offer loved ones the option to visit prisoners on Thursdays and Fridays. It’s unclear if standard weekly visitation hours, between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on each Saturday and Sunday, will be impacted.
FDC said it wishes to resume normal visitation at incentivized facilities as soon as possible. It encourages loved ones of prisoners who want to receive updates on visitations and closures to text “FDCVISIT” to 888-777.
The department also announced Monday it is preparing to stock up on food and water in prisons located in the anticipated path of Hurricane Ian.
In a press release, the department said evacuation announcements will be made after they are completed, and will be considered on a “case-by-case basis.” Inmate locations will be posted online within about 24 hours of relocation.
FDC said probation officers will give instructions to people on community supervision about how to handle evacuations or if the probation office closes during normal reporting hours.
Courthouses in Orange and Osceola counties will be closed Wednesday and Thursday due to Hurricane Ian, according to the Ninth Judicial Circuit.
The circuit will be providing updates on Twitter or via its information line at 407-836-2335.
The city of St. Cloud declared a local state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Ian at the special city council meeting on Monday.
“This will allow us to apply for FEMA reimbursement and other assistance as needed as a result of Hurricane Ian,” City Manager Veronica Miller said.
St. Cloud Fire Chief, Jason Miller, said Osceola County expects around 16 inches of rain and tropical storm force winds from Wednesday to Thursday.
“The streets department has been out cleaning drains making sure that everything is cleared up and cleared out down there,” Miller said. “If anyone has anything please report that to the city, we’d be happy to take a look.”
A new sandbag distribution center will open Tuesday noon to 7 p.m. at the Civic Center at 3001 17th St. with a limit of 15 sandbags per person.
St. Cloud will open its citizen phone bank on Tuesday beginning at 8 a.m. for residents who have questions about Hurricane Ian. Residents can call (407)957-7161 for the citizen phone bank.
The St. Cloud Police Department said they have taken pictures at a bird’s eye view of areas prone to flooding within the city to ensure FEMA reimbursement, Miller said.
Between the city of St. Cloud and the St. Cloud Police Department there are 40 generators meant to reinforce traffic signals in the event of a power outage, Miller said.
“As a word of caution, pay attention to the news, follow the emergency management sites, don’t listen to what a cousin’s brother’s uncle’s sister told you on Facebook,” Miller said.
Osceola County has declared a local state of emergency through Oct. 1, according to a news release.
The citizens information center hotline (407)742-0000 remains open for resident’s questions about Hurricane Ian.
Osceola County has three general population shelters opening on Tuesday at 2 p.m.
1. Celebration High School – 1809 Celebration Blvd., Celebration, FL 34747
2. Kissimmee Middle School (Pet-Friendly) – 210 Dyer Blvd., Kissimmee, FL 34741
3. Harmony High School – 3601 Arthur J Gallagher Blvd., St Cloud, FL 34771
Osceola County has one special needs shelter also opening on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at 700 Generation Point, Kissimmee, FL 34744.
Central Florida’s theme parks are operating normally early this week as they watch for further forecasts on the projected hurricane.
Spokespeople for Universal, SeaWorld and Legoland said the theme parks are monitoring the storm’s path and are prioritizing employee and guest safety in their operational decisions.
Representatives for Walt Disney World did not immediately respond to questions Monday. A park reservation calendar showed spots at all four theme parks were available Tuesday through Saturday for both annual passholders and ticketed guests.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, the closest theme park to the hurricane’s projected landfall, will close Wednesday and Thursday as Hurricane Ian approaches, park spokespeople said Monday afternoon. The park includes habitats for thousands of animals and has similarly closed or reduced its hours in recent years when inclement weather has approached the region.
“Our weather preparedness plan is in place and extra precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of our animals during this time. Guests are encouraged to check our website and follow our social media channels for updates on park reopening,” the park said in an unsigned statement.
Busch Gardens extended the tickets of guests who planned to visit on those dates, allowing these visitors to return before the end of the year. Annual passholders whose tickets were set to expire Sept. 30 will be able to visit through Oct. 16.
In the past, Orlando’s theme parks have cut their operating hours or closed entirely during storms, depending on the weather’s severity. Disney and Universal both closed for two days during Hurricane Irma, which brought 85 mph winds to the Orlando area in September 2017, but kept open with reduced hours during Hurricane Dorian in September 2019 as the storm skirted Florida.
Michelle Ramirez has lived in Florida all of her life, but this is the first hurricane she is going to experience as a homeowner. Ramirez bought a home in Orlando’s Lockhart neighborhood last April.
“I’m really scared,” she said.
A high school art teacher, Ramirez is on the state-run Citizens Property Insurance, saying it’s all she was able to afford. Her biggest fear is her deductible, $2,500.
“That’s basically every penny I have,” she said.
Ramirez is worried that there are other conditions in her policy that might cost her even more, but she’s afraid to look and see what the damage might be.
“I’m at the point now where, I don’t know, should I check my policy or do I not want to [be afraid]?” she said.
The house was built in the 1960s and it got a new roof seven years ago, so Ramirez, 37, said she’s not worried the house can’t take the wind. However, she’s seen trees in her neighborhood knocked over by regular thunderstorms.
“My biggest concern is I have trees surrounding my whole house,” she said. “Every room in my house has a window.”
Actor Eric Pinder and his husband are experiencing their first hurricane as homeowners. Pinder said he feels guilty because the couple is in New York for the week, watching nervously to see if the home he bought two years near survives the storm.
“It’s been through a lot of crap, so hopefully it can make it through this,” Pinder, 55, said.
Built in 1981, the house made it through Charley and Irma, but all of that was before it belonged to the Pinder’s. Pinder said he has neighbors currently looking after the home.
“But they also have their own homes to look after,” he said, “and they won’t be able to go over until it’s safe again.”
Pinder doesn’t know his deductible offhand, but he said he’s confident in his policy from Scottsdale Insurance Company.
“It’s not one of the crap ones, I know that,” he said. “It’s not Citizens.”
Trash, yard waste and recycling pick-up are operating as usual in Orlando, but officials caution against piling up loose sticks, limbs and leaves at curbs ahead of Hurricane Ian’s potential arrival later this week.
Such debris can clog storm drains and contribute to flooding.
City officials have also begun lowering lake levels at several lakes, which takes about two days to complete. Water levels will be lowered as much as 12 inches, according to a news release.
Residents can report downed trees, traffic light outages, power outages and other damage to the Citizen Information Line at, 407-246-HELP(4357).
County residents wanting sandbags to hold off flood waters can make them for free at one of five Orange County parks. Bring your own shovel.
The sites are:
Barnett Park, 4801 W. Colonial Drive·
Bithlo Community Park, 18501 Washington Avenue
Downey Park, 10107 Flowers Avenue
Meadow Woods Park, 1751 Rhode Island Woods Circle
West Orange Recreational Complex, 309 Southwest West Crown Point Road
Orange County residents who may require a special needs/medical shelter should alert authorities by contacting the county’s information hotline by calling 311 or 407-836-3111 to arrange access and transportation before the storm hits.
People with hearing disabilities can start a chat online by visiting ocfl.net/311.
The National Weather Service warns that Central Florida could be in just the right spot to experience winds, flooding rains and the risk of tornadoes from Tropical Storm Ian if it continues on its current path.
Tropical storm force winds would be most likely to arrive during the day on Wednesday, NWS meteorologist Jessie Smith said, with potential gusts of hurricane force winds in Lake County and the western edge of the region as well.
Orange, Lake, Seminole and Osceola counties will likely be on the northeastern quadrant of the storm, said NWS Melbourne meteorologist Kole Fehling, “where we typically see the most hazards.”
“Flooding rain is also going to be a big hazard for Central Florida as well,” he added, estimating potential rainfall amounts of 10 inches or more. “Especially on Wednesday, when there would be the biggest tornado potential, heavy rainfall potential and flash flooding potential.”
The Osceola County school district will close its campuses Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday because of the hurricane, officials announced Monday. Some Osceola campuses are needed as shelters, both for county residents and those evacuating from the coast, they said.
The Lake County school district, which already announced it was closing schools Wednesday and Thursday, said Monday afternoon it was also canceling classes on Friday.
Suspension of the commuter rail operations through Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties is routine when threatened by cyclones.
The Florida Department of Transportation must secure gates at 126 road crossings along 65 miles of track and even remove some gates. SunRail’s trains must also be sheltered.
Restarting service depends on track conditions and the amount of time required to return gates and trains to operable conditions.
Amtrak and freight trains also use SunRail’s corridor, which extends from DeBary to near Poinciana.
Seminole County plans to open eight emergency shelters within the coming days at public schools across the county as Hurricane Ian approaches the Florida peninsula, emergency officials announced on Monday.
County emergency officials will call for an evacuation of certain residents after announcing the opening of those shelters late today or early tomorrow.
“The evacuation will be for those in low lying areas, flood-prone areas and individuals in manufactured and mobile homes, those are our most vulnerable individuals, as well as our special needs clients,” said Alan Harris, Seminole’s director of the county’s office of emergency management.
Seminole Fire Chief Matt Kinley urged residents to take the evacuation notices seriously, because it’s likely emergency crews would not be able to respond during the storm because of strong winds.
“If you’re told to evacuate and choose to stay, you will be on your own,” he said.
Sheriff Dennis Lemma urged residents to stay off the roads as much as possible during the hurricane’s passing, warning that trees can fall and hit vehicles.
If Hurricane Ian does not directly hit Seminole County, Harris said, it will likely cause significant flooding in low-lying areas, such as along Lake Harney and the St. Johns River.
“Even if we don’t get a direct hit, it will still be a flooding event,” Harris said. “Over the last few weeks we have received an incredible amount of rain. And those residents that live along the St. Johns River can see it daily when they look out their windows or drive nearby…We do not need any additional water.”
County officials said Seminole handed out 45,250 sand bags since Sunday.
Martin E. Comas
Text Gov. Ron DeSantis announced this afternoon that Hillsborough County has ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents in Zone A and all manufactured housing, and a voluntary evacuation for those in Zone B.Pinellas and other counties will be issuing evacuation orders as well, and DeSantis urged residents to listen to their local officials and “heed their warnings.”
Residents can plug in their addresses at floridadisaster.org/planprepare to find out what zone they’re in.
“Again, there’s no need to panic,” DeSantis said.
Pinellas County — which is expecting 7-10 inches of rain from Ian — has already begun evacuating nursing homes, residential facilities, and hospitals. Starting 6 p.m. a mandatory evacuation will begin for residents in Zone A and all mobile homes. Residents in other zones are urged to find high ground, Cathie Perkins, the county emergency management director said.
“Everybody needs to take this seriously,” Perkins said, urging visitors to also make plans to leave.
Attorney General Ashley Moody, who is from Plant City said, “This could be the storm we all feared.”
She also said price gouging measures are in effect and will take action against anyone who takes advantage of the hurricane.
Florida Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie advised families to come up with a communications plan.
Past hurricanes tore down cell phone towers, leaving people without a means of communicating, he said.
“Have a communications plan that doesn’t rely on cell phones or WiFi,” Guthrie said.
The Kissimmee Utility Authority has activated Alert Level 3 and will operate at Level 4 once Hurricane Ian is within 24 hours of impacting Osceola County.
Once the storm passes KUA crews will assess damage which could be hampered by flooding, downed trees, or high winds, the utility provider said in a news release. KUA will focus on main power lines then restore individual customer outages, according to the release.
Customers experiencing a power outage are asked to report by texting “out” to 877-582-7700 and view a real-time outage map at https://kissimmee.datacapable.com/map/.
KUA asks customers to prepare by turning refrigerators and freezers to their coldest settings while keeping the door closed, disconnect sensitive electrical equipment in the event of a surge when power is restored, turn off all pumps and filters of swimming pools and if evacuating shut off main power to your home’s main circuit breaker to avoid fires caused by rising waters.
In the event of a power outage, KUA recommends using flashlights instead of candles or kerosene lamps, follow manufacturer recommendations when using generators and place them at least 20 feet away from your home, plug appliances directly into the generator while turning your electricity off at the fuse box and turn off the generator before turning your house power back on.
KUA urges residents not to touch fallen or low-hanging wires, anything the wires may be in contact with and to stay away from puddles where downed lines have landed.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said deputies will be “on heightened alert” during the weather emergency
“We have things like generators, chainsaws and extra water, and we’ll be out there,” he said. “Obviously we’ll have people out there 24 hours a day, but there will be additional personnel, more than usual.”
The sheriff encouraged residents to prepare now for the coming storm.
“Central Florida is no stranger to hurricanes but it’s been a while since we’ve had a major weather event here,” he said.
He urged residents to be looking out for their neighbors, too.
“If you see something, say something,”
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said city residents should prepare like the city will be directly hit by a Category 1 storm, much like residents experienced in 2004 when Hurricane Charley roared across Florida and into Orlando.
Hurricane Charley rapidly gained strength into a Category 4 storm when it made landfall near Port Charlotte. It unexpectedly made a last-minute turn into Florida coming ashore further south than expected, which brought gusts of more than 100 mph to Orlando International Airport, and left more than 100,000 without power, toppled trees and damaged homes.
Orlando is within the cone of uncertainty for Hurricane Ian, meaning a similar course could happen. Most forecasts show Hurricane Ian making landfall north of Clearwater as a Category 2 storm.
“They should be assuming that we’re going to take a hit from a Category 1 hurricane directly like Charley, and be prepared the same way – if they were – for Charley,” Dyer said. “This is really the height of hurricane season so get prepared for this one and you’ll be prepared for the rest of the season.”
Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties were placed under an inland tropical storm watch by the National Weather Service in Melbourne.
As No. 23 Florida State prepares to host No. 22 Wake Forest Saturday, the administration is keeping a close eye on the situation with Hurricane Ian.
“Nothing has changed right now in terms of the 3:30 p.m. kickoff for our football game with Wake Forest on Saturday,” FSU athletics director Michael Alford said in a statement Monday. “We are closely monitoring the projections regarding the hurricane and will be in constant contact with both local and state officials as well as the administration at Wake Forest and the Atlantic Coast Conference. As always, the safety of the student-athletes, game staff and fans will be our top priority.”
The latest projection has the storm making landfall in Florida Thursday morning around the Tampa area as a possible Category 2 hurricane before moving slowly toward the panhandle Friday.
Coach Mike Norvell said school officials met Sunday night to discuss the situation with local leaders and conference officials in case they needed to come up with an alternate plan.
“We are prepping for this game. We will have plans in place in case anything does happen,” Norvell said.
Orange County Public Safety Director Danny Banks said firefighters are visiting 200 assisted living facilities here in preparation of the coming storm.
“We know from some past storms, there were some [places] in the state that had trouble attending to the needs of their seniors. We’re intent to not let that happen in Orange County,” he said.
He said firefighters would visit every nursing home in the county to make sure their emergency generators are operational if their main power sources are knocked out.
About 28,000 people 65 years of age or older were in care facilities which lost power in September 2017 when Hurricane Irma struck Florida.
A 2020 study by researchers at the University of South Florida and Brown University concluded that 433 additional residents/patients died within 90 days of storm when compared to the same period in 2015 when there were no hurricanes.
The study was prompted by heat-related deaths of 12 residents at a Broward County nursing home that authorities blamed on the hurricane knocking out the central air conditioning.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings opened up an emergency press briefing this afternoon to warn residents of the approaching storm.
“Things have changed significantly from yesterday. The storm has moved back east, but it is alternating between the east and west tracks. It is forecasted to intensify,” he said.
“We, of course, are making preparations for the opening of shelters, especially those involving people with special needs. That decision will be made in consultation with our school district and local Department of Health. While there is uncertainty in the forecast, situation for Central Florida has become more serious.”
Flood prevention has been ongoing in Orange County long before Hurricane Ian started spinning our way, said Jeff Charles of Orange County stormwater management.
“We test them all the time, you know, probably about once every two weeks,” he said of pump stations. “But before a storm, we definitely make sure we go out and check on them … We’re preparing all year long to be honest with you. That’s what we do. All year long we’re actually doing maintenance so we’re ready for storms, as ready as we can be.”
He said crews also have been inspecting 95 miles of canals and 75 dry wells to prevent flooding when the rain falls.
Charles said he has been checking to make sure automated pump stations are functional and “will start running when we need them to.”
“They’re set to come on even if we’re not out here in the middle of the night,” he said. “We test them all the time, you know, probably about once every two weeks, but before a storm, we definitely make sure we go out and check on them.”
Few Floridians over 45 have a disaster emergency plan, at the same time more plan to shelter in place, according to a recent survey from AARP.
Only 67% said they have a plan this years ear, down from 75% in 2019, the survey showed. The drop is even greater among homeowners, the survey said, from 71% to 55% overall.
“With a State of Emergency declared in all 67 counties as Hurricane Ian barrels toward Florida, we should all be reminded: it is extremely important for Floridians to have an updated disaster plan each year at the beginning of storm season, starting June 1, and to continue to monitor activity and update those plans as needed throughout the storm season ending November 30,” AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson said. “While we intended to release this survey’s results later in the fall, this warning cannot wait. We urge Floridians to get their emergency plans in place now.”
The survey also shows an increase from 55% to 61% in plans to shelter in place instead of evacuating, AARP said. “This may be due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to public shelters remains important as do concerns about rebounding financially from the cost of planning and damages from a natural disaster, exacerbated by the excessive cost of homeowner’s insurance.”
Need to know if you are in a potential evacuation zone? Go to Floridadisaster.org/planprepare and click on the link for “Know your zone, know your home.” Type in your home address to see if it’s in one of the six evacuation zones.
“Evacuations are at the local level,” State Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said.
To find out what school districts are closing schools, go to FLDOE.org/storminfo.
Still putting your insurance policy in a plastic bag in the dishwasher before the a storm? Janet Ruiz, spokeswoman for the Florida-based Insurance Information Institute, says homeowners should “move beyond the Ziploc” in order to file timely and complete damage claims.
First, make sure you know who handles both your homeowner’s insurance and your flood insurance. Florida makes up roughly a third of the flood market in the U.S., according to the institute, so most homes have a separate flood policy.
Once you’ve identified the companies, save the contact information for filing a claim in your phone. “Make sure you have that number,” Ruiz said.
Also on your phone, save any online links your company has for where to file a claim, or download the company’s app if it has one.
Review your policies, know what the coverage amounts are, especially the total replacement costs.
Take pictures of your house and possessions before the storm to more readily demonstrate damage if there is any.
And if you have to evacuate or if damages force you to leave the property, keep receipts for where you go and what you spend. “The first coverage often times is additional living expenses,” Ruiz said.
For more information, the institute offers a preparedness guide here: https://www.iii.org/sites/default/files/docs/pdf/triple-i_state_of_the_risk_hurricanes_06222022.pdf
Not all the requests for aid from county emergency management officials are going to be met before Hurricane Ian hits Florida, State Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said at a press briefing this morning.
“We’re not going to get them to the counties before landfall,” Guthrie said.
Those requests are typically for water and food, but the counties have no place to store them. “We are not going to leave a semi-trailer in a parking lot with 110-120 mph winds. That is the discrepancy between the number of missions we have filled and the number we are responding to.”
The Osceola Office of Emergency Management in a tweet Monday asked residents to finish preparations ahead of tropical storm force winds expected by Hurricane Ian.
Residents are asked to take proper storm precautions such as filling sandbags and signing up for emergency alerts through the county’s email and text alert system at http://alertosceola.org/. Weather conditions could include heavy winds, rain and flooding with the possibility of tornadoes.
Osceola county residents can continue to fill sandbags free until 6 p.m. Monday at 1211 Shakerag Road.
Also in Osceola County, Fortune Lakeshore Trail construction at Lakeshore Boulevard and Brown Chapel Road near East Lake Tohopekaliga has been delayed due to Hurricane Ian.
Rollins college announced that it will close its Winter Park campus on Wednesday in preparation for Hurricane Ian.
“Based on the most recent models, Hurricane Ian is expected to have a significant impact on our area. Given this information, campus will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday, with residential halls closing at 4 p.m.,” the school said in a news release.
“Classes are scheduled for today and tomorrow, but we know that students have begun traveling and have asked that faculty be flexible and accommodating regarding this week’s classes. Wednesday classes will not meet in person, but will still be held. Instructors will reach out with makeup class approaches that will vary from class to class. Students should look for a message from their faculty member about how they will make up the class.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke from the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee on Monday with Florida Department of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie and National Guard Maj. Gen. James O. Eifert.
“I encourage Floridians to ensure they are prepared and that their emergency kit is stocked with supplies,” DeSantis said.
The storm is expected to make landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast, he said. People should feel the effects as early as tomorrow, he said.
“Floridians up and down the gulf coast should feel the impact of this as up to 36 hours before actual landfall due to the size of the hurricane.”
All eyes are on the Tampa Bay area, with possible evacuation announcements in the works for this afternoon. Hillsborough County has already ordered mandatory evacuations for some areas.
With Ian upgraded to hurricane status, Florida’s Emergency Operations Center has been upgraded to Level 1 status. The National Guard has doubled the number of troops from 2500 to 5000, with 2,000 additional guardsmen coming in from Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
FEMA has provided five urban search and rescue units and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is staged and ready to respond.
The Division of Emergency Management has received 338 requests for help from its county partners, and fulfilled 293 with 50 more expected to be completed by the end of the day.
The state is also staging 210 medical professionals in Hillsborough County to help people with special needs.
Gov. DeSantis has waived all tolls on 11 state roads, most of them on the West Coast, including the I-4 connector.
He will be holding another news conference at 2 p.m. in Largo.
Floridians are entitled to at least a 30-day supply of any prescription medication, covered by insurance, even if the prescription has just been filled, according to a Monday news release from the Florida Department of Health.
The department recommends Floridians prepare for the possibility pharmacies are temporarily unavailable.
Section 252.358 of the Florida Statutes says early refills must be covered and pharmacies must fill them provided:
“(1) The person seeking the prescription medication refill resides in a county that:
(a) Is under a hurricane warning issued by the National Weather Service;
(b) Is declared to be under a state of emergency in an executive order issued by the Governor; or
(c) Has activated its emergency operations center and its emergency management plan.”
This waiver is extended until the Florida resident’s county is no longer under a hurricane warning, state of emergency, or its emergency operations center and emergency management plan are deactivated.
Otherwise, refills can be requested up to 30 days after the resident’s county becomes eligible, and this time period can be extended in 15- or 30-day increments by emergency orders issued by the Office of Insurance Regulation.
Hillsborough County in Tampa is ordering a mandatory evacuation of some residents and voluntary evacuation for others, starting at 2 p.m. today.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the county expects to evacuate up to 300,000 people.
“This is not a drill,” said Hillsborough Emergency Management Director Tim Dudley.
The Times reported that Hillsborough County Administrator Bonnie Wise recommended residents to try to find shelter with someone who lives at least 20 miles inland.
Shelters, Wise said, “are not comfortable places. They could be noisy. They could be crowded.”
Neighboring Pinnellas county is expected to issue its own evacuation order Tuesday, but is urging residents and visitors to leave the area today.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting a storm surge along the west coast and in Tampa Bay of 5 to 8 feet from Hurricane Ian.
Floridians shopping for gasoline, lumber, ice and other essentials ahead of Hurricane Ian can report price gouging to the state.
Attorney General Ashley Moody expanded Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline, 866-9NO-SCAM, statewide on Saturday after all of Florida’s counties entered a state of emergency. Violations can also be reported at MyFloridaLegal.com.
Florida law bans “excessive increases” for essentials like food, water, hotel rooms, ice, gasoline, lumber, equipment and storm-related services during a state of emergency, a news release said.
Price gouging carries a $1,000 per violation fine and up to $25,000 for multiple violations during the same 24 hours.
“Please watch Ian closely, and as you prepare for a potential storm strike, report incidences of price gouging to my office,” Moody said in the release.
Orlando International Airport says it’s monitoring Hurricane Ian, but it is not impacting any operations yet.
“We’re closely monitoring the status of Hurricane Ian to identify the potential extent of impact to airport operations,” OIA said on Twitter. “The airport is currently open and operational. Please check with your airline directly in regards to their operations for the most up-to-date flight information.”
Orlando Sentinel Staff
Rosen Hotels & Resorts is lowering its rates at its properties to help people who may have to evacuate to Orlando.
“Recognizing the severe nature of Hurricane Ian, Rose Hotels & Resorts activated its Florida Resident Distress Rates today, giving evacuees a safe, affordable place to call home as they ride out the storm,” the hotel said in a news release.
The rates will be $69 a night at Rosen Inn International, Rose Inn Closest to Universal, Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando and Rosen Inn Lake Buena Vista; $99 a night at Rosen Plaza, $109 a night at Rose Centre and $119 a night at Rosen Shingle Creek.
The Rosen hotels say they are pet friendly. For more information, call 866-337-6736.
Orlando Sentinel Staff
In preparation for the possibility of many Lake County public schools being used as storm evacuation shelters for Hurricane Ian this week, the school district will release students early on Tuesday and close schools on Wednesday and Thursday.
In a notice emailed to parents on Sunday, the district said:
- Lake County Emergency Management has asked that the district schedule an early release on Tuesday, Sept. 27. All schools will follow a Wednesday schedule on Tuesday, so students are dismissed an hour early and the district can start preparing schools to be used as evacuation shelters. Extended Learning Centers, or ELC, will maintain regular operating hours on Tuesday, and all other after-school events including sports will continue as planned.
- Schools and district offices will be closed on Wednesday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Sept. 29. All after-school events will also be canceled Wednesday and Thursday.
- The district expects to resume normal school and district office operations on Friday, Sept. 30.
“We are providing this information early so that you can prepare but please understand, this is subject to change once we know more about the storm’s path and timing,” the email to parents reads. “These plans are tentative.”
Other school districts in Central Florida are monitoring the storm and may make decisions later today about any class cancelations.
Orlando Sentinel Staff
Seminole County announced an adoption special for its animal services department ahead of Hurricane Ian.
In an effort to “Clear the Shelter” before potential impacts of Ian, all pet adoptions starting today are only $1.
“Come check out all of the animals at www.seminolecountypets.com, or during adoption hours of Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours on Wednesday from 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.,” the county said.
Orlando Sentinel Staff
Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to speak Monday morning from the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee at 11 a.m.
He’ll appear from Florida Department of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie and National Guard Maj. Gen. James O. Eifert.
Beginning at 11 a.m. on Monday, Seminole county residents can fill up to 15 bags of sand at new locations at Red Bug Lake Park, Softball Complex at 2200 North Street, Altamonte Springs and Boombah Sports Complex at 3450 E Lake Mary Boulevard, Sanford, according to a press release.
Animal Services in Seminole county in an effort to clear shelters before the storm is offering adoptions for $1 beginning Monday, according to a press release.
The Citizens Information Line will open Monday at 8 a.m. for residents to ask any questions regarding the storm. Seminole county residents can also text STORM2022 to 888-777 to stay informed.
Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace said in a press release that Osceola County schools will open Monday and Tuesday while Tropical Storm Ian is monitored. Students and parents will be updated through social media, district’s call-out system and the district and school’s websites.
Also within Osceola County, residents can continue to fill up to 25 sandbags at Osceola Heritage Park on Monday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
“I’m grateful that our Emergency Management team has been preparing for any impacts to the County from Ian, and we have been working closely with all of our community partners to be ready for the week ahead,” Osceola Commission Chairman Brandon Arrington said in a press release. “I also hope our residents have taken action these past few days and have a plan for their families. Thankfully, there is still time to prepare your homes and replenish your disaster kits if you haven’t done so already.”
Residents who need to speak with an Osceola County representative or want to ask specific questions can call the Citizen Information Center hotline at 407-742-0000 beginning Monday morning, according to the release.