More evacuations ordered as Hurricane Ian churns toward Florida’s Gulf Coast
SARASOTA, Fla (WCTV) - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is encouraging Floridians to prepare and heed evacuation orders, saying Hurricane Ian has the potential for historic storm surge and flooding.
“This kind of storm surge is life threatening,” Governor DeSantis said. “You’re not going to get a mulligan on this one.”
DeSantis shared an update at the Sarasota Emergency Operations Center at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, as Hurricane Ian continued to strengthen and head into the Gulf.
Sarasota County Emergency Management Director Ed McCrane also issued new evacuation orders based on the storm’s latest track, which now has a projected landfall south of Tampa Bay.
Evacuation centers in Sarasota County started accepting evacuees at noon Tuesday.
“Evacuation centers are a last resort - they are the lifeboat,” Crane said. “Go to friends and family first.”
Florida’s Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said it’s especially critical for anyone who relies on electricity for their medical needs.
“Power outages...that’s going to happen,” Guthrie said. “If you are a medically dependent resident, you need to seek shelter now.”
The Governor estimated there are now 2.5 million people under evacuation orders, he urged them to move to higher ground.
“You don’t need to evacuate to another state. You don’t need to evacuate hundreds of miles away,” Governor DeSantis said.
DeSantis and Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Purdue encouraged people to head east or southeast to safety.
Purdue said traffic along I-75 and I-4 is up 30% to 40% right now. He says DOT intends to open the shoulders if traffic speeds dip below 40 miles an hour, but he says that has not happened yet.
Purdue also stressed that time is of the essence for people living on barrier islands and coastal areas because bridges will be closed once wind speeds top 40 miles an hour.
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