Authorities and residents of Florida were closely monitoring Tropical Storm Ian as it swept through the Caribbean on Sunday. It is expected to continue to strengthen and become a major hurricane in the coming days, according to forecasters targeting the state.

The day before, Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all of Florida, expanding the original order that covered two dozen counties. He urged residents to prepare for the storm, which could blanket large swaths of the state with heavy rain, strong winds and rising sea levels.

Forecasters still aren’t sure exactly where Ian might make landfall, and current models are targeting it toward the west coast of Florida or the melee regions, he said.

“We’ll continue to monitor the progress of this storm, but it’s very important to emphasize the degree of uncertainty that still exists,” DeSantis said at a news conference Sunday, warning that “even if you’re not necessarily right about the path ahead storm, the effects will be quite widespread across the state.

President Biden also declared a state of emergency, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief and provide assistance to protect lives and property. The president postponed a trip to Florida planned for September 27 because of the storm.

The This was reported by the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Ian was expected to begin “rapid strengthening” during the day on Sunday. The storm was located about 140 miles south of Grand Cayman as of 8 p.m. ET Sunday, moving northwest at 13 mph. Wind gusts peaked at 65 miles per hour.

“Additional strengthening is forecast tonight, followed by more rapid strengthening Monday and Tuesday. Yang is forecast to become a hurricane on Monday and a major hurricane on Tuesday,” the NHC said.

Yang was forecast to pass west of the Cayman Islands early Monday and then near western Cuba late Monday and early Tuesday, the NHC said. It could reach Florida later this week, causing flash flooding in the Florida Peninsula and Florida Keys, the agency added.

This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical Storm Ian over the central Caribbean on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.


“Heavy precipitation may affect northern Florida, southeast Florida, and the southeastern United States on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday,” the NHC wrote Sunday morning.

John Conjalasi, the center’s senior hurricane specialist in Miami, said in an interview Sunday that it was unclear where Ian would hit the hardest. Floridians should start preparing, including stockpiling supplies in case of possible power outages, he said.

“It’s hard to say stay tuned, but it’s the right message right now,” Cangialosi said. “But for those of you in Florida, there’s still time to prepare. I’m not telling you to close the shutters yet or do anything like that, but there’s still time to get your supplies.”

In Pinellas Park, near Tampa, people waited in line at Home Depot when it opened at 6 a.m., Tampa Bay Times reported. Manager Wendy Macrini said by noon the store had sold 600 cases of water and run out of generators.

People also bought plywood to cover their windows: “It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it,” Matt Beaver of Pinellas Park told the Times.

DeSantis signed on Friday executive order declaring a state of emergency for 24 Florida counties that could be in the storm’s path. On Saturday, the state of emergency was extended to the entire state. The order also places the Florida National Guard on standby.

The storm poses a risk of “dangerous storm surge, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, high winds, hazardous seas and isolated tornadic activity for the Florida peninsula and parts of Florida’s Big Bend, North Florida and Northeast Florida,” DeSantis said in his executive order Saturday .

He encouraged all Florida residents to “make preparations.”

Meanwhile, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands could see between 3 and 6 inches of rain, the NHC predicted. Cuba could see 4 to 8 inches, while southern Florida and Florida could get 2 to 4 inches.

Highlands in Jamaica and Cuba are at risk of flash floods and landslides, the NHC said. Cuba could see storm surges of 9 to 14 feet above normal as Yang arrives Monday night and early Tuesday morning.