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Mandatory evacuations ordered in southwest Florida due to Hurricane Ian

This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical Storm Ian over the central Caribbean on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (NOAA via AP)

A southwest Florida county has ordered mandatory evacuations as Hurricane Ian hurdles toward the state. 

Local officials in Lee County declared a state of local emergency and issued the evacuation orders Tuesday, a day after local government ordered evacuations for the Tampa area on the Gulf Coast. 

The new orders impact the low-lying, flood-prone areas along the coast in the county, according to officials at a press conference Tuesday.  

“We are going to feel this storm. How badly is still undetermined,” said Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno at the press conference, counseling Floridians to ready for the storm’s impact, which may mean several days without power.  

The National Hurricane Center predicts the Category 4 hurricane will batter the western coast of Florida with a “life-threatening storm surge,” and forecasts the highest risk area extends from Fort Myers to Tampa Bay. 

Hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall are expected through the week, according to the weather service, with some of the storm’s effects spreading to the north and central parts of the state. 

Over the weekend, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis extended a statewide emergency declaration and President Biden issued an emergency declaration from the White House. 

Biden directed federal assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to support Florida’s emergency storm response. 

Hurricane Ian, which grew out of Tropical Storm Ian, made landfall in Cuba Monday after hitting Jamaica with “devastating wind damage,” flash floods and mudslides, according to the National Hurricane Service.  

Tags Biden Carmine Marceno Cuba emergency declaration evacuations Federal Emergency Management Agency Florida Hurricane Ian Jamaica Lee County National Hurricane Center President Biden Ron DeSantis storm Tampa United States United States Department of Homeland Security

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