Gov. DeSantis urges Florida residents in Hurricane Ian path to evacuate: ‘This is your last chance’
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis provided an update to residents on Hurricane Ian during a presser with other emergency response officials late Tuesday evening.
DeSantis warned residents to exercise caution or to leave their homes if they are expected to be directly impacted by the storm.
“You need to evacuate now,” the Republican governor warned as residents as the storm is set to make landfall tomorrow afternoon or evening. “Now is the time to act.”
“This is a lot of nasty weather we’re in store for over the next few days,” he said, noting the “strong Category 3” is located about 170 miles south-southwest of Punta Gorda, Charlotte County.
Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie added: “This storm will only continue to intensify. If you want to leave, as the governor has said, now is your last chance.”
The governor warned the severe storm was moving north at 10 mph and had sustained winds of 120 mph.
“The storm has had severe impacts in south Florida and those impacts are going to continue throughout the whole state,” he said.
DeSantis said the government has made 176 shelters available, including 50 special needs shelters, across the state to house those displaced by the storm.
“More will likely be added,” he said. “There are now over 30,000 personnel stationed and standing by to help with power restoration,” the governor added.
“Right now, there are about 8,000 customers without power. But, that number will likely be in the millions shortly,” he predicted.
DeSantis said he expected the storm to downgrade when it makes landfall over Florida, but cautioned it would still bring enormous rainfall. The storm is projected to cross over Florida and enter the Atlantic Ocean, where it could travel north and impact other states.
The severe storm has already caused at least two radar-indicated tornadoes in the state, including those in Palm Beach and more possible tornadoes in Broward County.
“Tornado watches are in effect in central and south Florida until 5 a.m.,” DeSantis said.
Hurricane Ian is expected to leave Florida on Friday morning.