More Than 2 Million Florida Residents Under Evacuation Orders As Hurricane Ian Becomes Category 3 Storm

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has announced that more than two million of his state’s residents are under evacuation orders as Hurricane Ian nears landfall as a Category 3 storm.

During a press conference on Tuesday morning, DeSantis shared the update that urged Floridians to take necessary precautions as Ian could strike the Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane.

“There’s still uncertainty about with where that exact landfall will be, but just understand the impacts are going to be far, far broader than just where the eye of the storm happens to make landfall,” DeSantis said.

“When you have 5 to 10 feet of storm surge, that is not something you want to be a part of,” he said. “Mother Nature is a very fearsome adversary, so please heed those warnings.”

DeSantis added in a Twitter post that 24 counties across Florida had announced school closures ahead of the storm, with more likely to be added.

As of Tuesday morning, mandatory evacuation order had been announced for Charlotte, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties. The areas include parts of the Tampa area, the largest city in the announced counties, along with other highly-populated areas along the coast.

DeSantis also announced that 5,000 members of the Florida National Guard had been activated. An additional 2,000 National Guard members from other states are on standby if needed.

The state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) also completed 124 onsite visits to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. “As of today, 100% of operating long-term care facilities have a generator on-site,” the governor’s website reported as of Monday.

On Saturday, the governor expanded a state of emergency to all 67 Florida counties in preparation for Ian. The declaration has suspended all tolls in the Tampa Bay area to help people more quickly evacuate low-lying areas.

President Joe Biden also approved an emergency declaration for Florida on Saturday ahead of the growing hurricane threat.

Hurricane Ian made landfall over Cuba on Monday on its path toward Florida. Authorities have reportedly evacuated more than 50,000 people, with 55 shelters set up across the island nation.

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