Forecasters have warned Tropical Storm Ian could threaten the state of Florida as a major hurricane early next week.
The update came late Saturday afternoon from the National Hurricane Center. However, it appears to keep Palm Beach County out of the “cone” of potential impacts, with weather teams predicting a landfall north of Tampa early Thursday morning.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday expanded a “state of emergency” to all 67 counties in the state in preparation for Ian, which is predicted to become Hurricane Ian within the coming days, the Palm Beach Daily News reported.
“The threat posed by Tropical Storm Ian requires that timely precautions are taken to protect the communities, critical infrastructure, and general welfare of Florida,” the governor wrote in his amended executive order on Saturday afternoon.
“Tropical Storm Ian is forecasted to become a major hurricane before making landfall along Florida’s west coast,” he continued.
There has since been a mix of reaction and precaution measures among state residents.
National Weather Service meteorologist Sammy Hadi noted that the storm, about 250 miles southeast of Jamaica at 5 p.m., was gaining strength. The storm was moving west at 16 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.
In addition to the state of emergency, DeSantis requested a pre-landfall Emergency Declaration from the federal government that will allow for resources to protect and support local efforts against Ian.
With the declaration of a state of emergency, the Florida National Guard has been activated and is awaiting orders.