Live updates will be posted here regarding impacts from Hurricane Ian to our region.
Check here for our hurricane preparedness stories to get ready for the storm. Get the latest updates on Hurricane Ian here.
Bucs evacuate from Tampa ahead of Ian, head to Miami | 9:23 p.m. Monday
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will relocate football operations to the Miami area in preparation for next weekend’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs ahead of the potential impact of Hurricane Ian on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
The Buccaneers announced Monday night that the team will leave Tampa on Tuesday and relocate in Miami-Dade County.
The Buccaneers are expected to practice at the Miami Dolphins’ training complex in Miami Gardens, Florida, starting Wednesday and continue through this week’s preparations, if necessary.
So far, there has been no change to the Buccaneers’ game against the Chiefs, which is scheduled for Sunday at 8:20 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium. The NFL, along with the team and local officials, will monitor the situation.
Volusia County schools close for two days due to Hurricane Ian | 9:10 p.m. Monday
All Volusia district public schools and district offices will close on Sept. 28-29 due to Hurricane Ian.
No decision has been made regarding school on Friday, Sept. 30, Volusia County School District spokesperson Angel Gomez said in a statement Monday evening.
Hurricane Ian’s path is expected to target Florida’s Gulf Coast and impact most of Central Florida with hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall.
Gomez said all school activities, events and programs scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday have been canceled as several Volusia schools are needed as shelters.
Parents and community residents can monitor the district’s website www.vcsedu.org and social media pages for more school district updates.
The Osceola County and Lake County school districts have also announced they were closing schools.
To find out what school districts are closing schools, go to FLDOE.org/storminfo.
Florida prisons prepare for Hurricane Ian, cancels all Thursday visitation hours | 6:34 p.m. Monday
The Department of Corrections announced it will be canceling visitation for all incentivized prisons Thursday as Hurricane Ian takes aim at Florida.
Impacted facilities include:
Everglades Correctional Institute
Jefferson Correctional Institute
Madison Correctional Institute
Marion Correctional Institute
Sumter Correctional Institute
Tomoka Correctional Institute
Incentivized prisons offer loved ones the option to visit prisoners on Thursdays and Fridays. It’s unclear if standard weekly visitation hours, between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on each Saturday and Sunday, will be impacted.
FDC said it wishes to resume normal visitation at incentivized facilities as soon as possible. It encourages loved ones of prisoners who want to receive updates on visitations and closures to text “FDCVISIT” to 888-777.
The department also announced Monday it is preparing to stock up on food and water in prisons located in the anticipated path of Hurricane Ian.
In a press release, the department said evacuation announcements will be made after they are completed, and will be considered on a “case-by-case basis.” Inmate locations will be posted online within about 24 hours of relocation.
FDC said probation officers will give instructions to people on community supervision about how to handle evacuations or if the probation office closes during normal reporting hours.
Courthouses in Orange and Osceola counties to close | 6:07 p.m. Monday
Courthouses in Orange and Osceola counties will be closed Wednesday and Thursday due to Hurricane Ian, according to the Ninth Judicial Circuit.
The circuit will be providing updates on Twitter or via its information line at 407-836-2335.
City of St. Cloud declares local state of emergency | 5:47 p.m. Monday
The city of St. Cloud declared a local state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Ian at the special city council meeting on Monday.
“This will allow us to apply for FEMA reimbursement and other assistance as needed as a result of Hurricane Ian,” City Manager Veronica Miller said.
St. Cloud Fire Chief, Jason Miller, said Osceola County expects around 16 inches of rain and tropical storm force winds from Wednesday to Thursday.
“The streets department has been out cleaning drains making sure that everything is cleared up and cleared out down there,” Miller said. “If anyone has anything please report that to the city, we’d be happy to take a look.”
A new sandbag distribution center will open Tuesday noon to 7 p.m. at the Civic Center at 3001 17th St. with a limit of 15 sandbags per person.
St. Cloud will open its citizen phone bank on Tuesday beginning at 8 a.m. for residents who have questions about Hurricane Ian. Residents can call (407)957-7161 for the citizen phone bank.
The St. Cloud Police Department said they have taken pictures at a bird’s eye view of areas prone to flooding within the city to ensure FEMA reimbursement, Miller said.
Between the city of St. Cloud and the St. Cloud Police Department there are 40 generators meant to reinforce traffic signals in the event of a power outage, Miller said.
“As a word of caution, pay attention to the news, follow the emergency management sites, don’t listen to what a cousin’s brother’s uncle’s sister told you on Facebook,” Miller said.
Osceola County has declared a local state of emergency through Oct. 1, according to a news release.
The citizens information center hotline (407)742-0000 remains open for resident’s questions about Hurricane Ian.
Osceola County has three general population shelters opening on Tuesday at 2 p.m.
1. Celebration High School – 1809 Celebration Blvd., Celebration, FL 34747
2. Kissimmee Middle School (Pet-Friendly) – 210 Dyer Blvd., Kissimmee, FL 34741
3. Harmony High School – 3601 Arthur J Gallagher Blvd., St Cloud, FL 34771
Osceola County has one special needs shelter also opening on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at 700 Generation Point, Kissimmee, FL 34744.
Central Florida theme parks continue normal operations, Busch Gardens closing | 5:39 p.m. Monday
Central Florida’s theme parks are operating normally early this week as they watch for further forecasts on the projected hurricane.
Spokespeople for Universal, SeaWorld and Legoland said the theme parks are monitoring the storm’s path and are prioritizing employee and guest safety in their operational decisions.
Representatives for Walt Disney World did not immediately respond to questions Monday. A park reservation calendar showed spots at all four theme parks were available Tuesday through Saturday for both annual passholders and ticketed guests.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, the closest theme park to the hurricane’s projected landfall, will close Wednesday and Thursday as Hurricane Ian approaches, park spokespeople said Monday afternoon. The park includes habitats for thousands of animals and has similarly closed or reduced its hours in recent years when inclement weather has approached the region.
“Our weather preparedness plan is in place and extra precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of our animals during this time. Guests are encouraged to check our website and follow our social media channels for updates on park reopening,” the park said in an unsigned statement.
Busch Gardens extended the tickets of guests who planned to visit on those dates, allowing these visitors to return before the end of the year. Annual passholders whose tickets were set to expire Sept. 30 will be able to visit through Oct. 16.
In the past, Orlando’s theme parks have cut their operating hours or closed entirely during storms, depending on the weather’s severity. Disney and Universal both closed for two days during Hurricane Irma, which brought 85 mph winds to the Orlando area in September 2017, but kept open with reduced hours during Hurricane Dorian in September 2019 as the storm skirted Florida.
First time homeowners fret over Ian | 4:38 p.m. Monday
Michelle Ramirez has lived in Florida all of her life, but this is the first hurricane she is going to experience as a homeowner. Ramirez bought a home in Orlando’s Lockhart neighborhood last April.
“I’m really scared,” she said.
A high school art teacher, Ramirez is on the state-run Citizens Property Insurance, saying it’s all she was able to afford. Her biggest fear is her deductible, $2,500.
“That’s basically every penny I have,” she said.
Ramirez is worried that there are other conditions in her policy that might cost her even more, but she’s afraid to look and see what the damage might be.
“I’m at the point now where, I don’t know, should I check my policy or do I not want to [be afraid]?” she said.
The house was built in the 1960s and it got a new roof seven years ago, so Ramirez, 37, said she’s not worried the house can’t take the wind. However, she’s seen trees in her neighborhood knocked over by regular thunderstorms.
“My biggest concern is I have trees surrounding my whole house,” she said. “Every room in my house has a window.”
Actor Eric Pinder and his husband are experiencing their first hurricane as homeowners. Pinder said he feels guilty because the couple is in New York for the week, watching nervously to see if the home he bought two years near survives the storm.
“It’s been through a lot of crap, so hopefully it can make it through this,” Pinder, 55, said.
Built in 1981, the house made it through Charley and Irma, but all of that was before it belonged to the Pinder’s. Pinder said he has neighbors currently looking after the home.
“But they also have their own homes to look after,” he said, “and they won’t be able to go over until it’s safe again.”
Pinder doesn’t know his deductible offhand, but he said he’s confident in his policy from Scottsdale Insurance Company.
“It’s not one of the crap ones, I know that,” he said. “It’s not Citizens.”
Trash, yard waste and recycling pick-up operating as usual | 4:25 p.m. Monday
Trash, yard waste and recycling pick-up are operating as usual in Orlando, but officials caution against piling up loose sticks, limbs and leaves at curbs ahead of Hurricane Ian’s potential arrival later this week.
Such debris can clog storm drains and contribute to flooding.
City officials have also begun lowering lake levels at several lakes, which takes about two days to complete. Water levels will be lowered as much as 12 inches, according to a news release.
Residents can report downed trees, traffic light outages, power outages and other damage to the Citizen Information Line at, 407-246-HELP(4357).
Residents can make free sandbags at Orange County Parks | 4:03 p.m. Monday
County residents wanting sandbags to hold off flood waters can make them for free at one of five Orange County parks. Bring your own shovel.
The sites are:
Barnett Park, 4801 W. Colonial Drive·
Bithlo Community Park, 18501 Washington Avenue
Downey Park, 10107 Flowers Avenue
Meadow Woods Park, 1751 Rhode Island Woods Circle
West Orange Recreational Complex, 309 Southwest West Crown Point Road
Residents who require special needs or medical shelter to contact authorities | 3:59 p.m. Monday
Orange County residents who may require a special needs/medical shelter should alert authorities by contacting the county’s information hotline by calling 311 or 407-836-3111 to arrange access and transportation before the storm hits.
People with hearing disabilities can start a chat online by visiting ocfl.net/311.
Tornadoes will be a risk in Central Florida | 3:54 p.m. Monday
The National Weather Service warns that Central Florida could be in just the right spot to experience winds, flooding rains and the risk of tornadoes from Tropical Storm Ian if it continues on its current path.
Tropical storm force winds would be most likely to arrive during the day on Wednesday, NWS meteorologist Jessie Smith said, with potential gusts of hurricane force winds in Lake County and the western edge of the region as well.
Orange, Lake, Seminole and Osceola counties will likely be on the northeastern quadrant of the storm, said NWS Melbourne meteorologist Kole Fehling, “where we typically see the most hazards.”
“Flooding rain is also going to be a big hazard for Central Florida as well,” he added, estimating potential rainfall amounts of 10 inches or more. “Especially on Wednesday, when there would be the biggest tornado potential, heavy rainfall potential and flash flooding potential.”
More Central Florida school closures announced | 3:06 p.m. Monday
The Osceola County school district will close its campuses Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday because of the hurricane, officials announced Monday. Some Osceola campuses are needed as shelters, both for county residents and those evacuating from the coast, they said.
The Lake County school district, which already announced it was closing schools Wednesday and Thursday, said Monday afternoon it was also canceling classes on Friday.
SunRail service will stop Tuesday | 3:04 p.m. Monday
Suspension of the commuter rail operations through Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties is routine when threatened by cyclones.
The Florida Department of Transportation must secure gates at 126 road crossings along 65 miles of track and even remove some gates. SunRail’s trains must also be sheltered.
Restarting service depends on track conditions and the amount of time required to return gates and trains to operable conditions.
Amtrak and freight trains also use SunRail’s corridor, which extends from DeBary to near Poinciana.
Seminole shelters to open | 3:02 p.m. Monday
Seminole County plans to open eight emergency shelters within the coming days at public schools across the county as Hurricane Ian approaches the Florida peninsula, emergency officials announced on Monday.
County emergency officials will call for an evacuation of certain residents after announcing the opening of those shelters late today or early tomorrow.
“The evacuation will be for those in low lying areas, flood-prone areas and individuals in manufactured and mobile homes, those are our most vulnerable individuals, as well as our special needs clients,” said Alan Harris, Seminole’s director of the county’s office of emergency management.
Seminole Fire Chief Matt Kinley urged residents to take the evacuation notices seriously, because it’s likely emergency crews would not be able to respond during the storm because of strong winds.
“If you’re told to evacuate and choose to stay, you will be on your own,” he said.
Sheriff Dennis Lemma urged residents to stay off the roads as much as possible during the hurricane’s passing, warning that trees can fall and hit vehicles.
If Hurricane Ian does not directly hit Seminole County, Harris said, it will likely cause significant flooding in low-lying areas, such as along Lake Harney and the St. Johns River.
“Even if we don’t get a direct hit, it will still be a flooding event,” Harris said. “Over the last few weeks we have received an incredible amount of rain. And those residents that live along the St. Johns River can see it daily when they look out their windows or drive nearby…We do not need any additional water.”
County officials said Seminole handed out 45,250 sand bags since Sunday.
Martin E. Comas
Counties order evacuations | 2:39 p.m. Monday
Text Gov. Ron DeSantis announced this afternoon that Hillsborough County has ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents in Zone A and all manufactured housing, and a voluntary evacuation for those in Zone B.Pinellas and other counties will be issuing evacuation orders as well, and DeSantis urged residents to listen to their local officials and “heed their warnings.”
Residents can plug in their addresses at floridadisaster.org/planprepare to find out what zone they’re in.
“Again, there’s no need to panic,” DeSantis said.
Pinellas County — which is expecting 7-10 inches of rain from Ian — has already begun evacuating nursing homes, residential facilities, and hospitals. Starting 6 p.m. a mandatory evacuation will begin for residents in Zone A and all mobile homes. Residents in other zones are urged to find high ground, Cathie Perkins, the county emergency management director said.
“Everybody needs to take this seriously,” Perkins said, urging visitors to also make plans to leave.
Attorney General Ashley Moody, who is from Plant City said, “This could be the storm we all feared.”
She also said price gouging measures are in effect and will take action against anyone who takes advantage of the hurricane.
Florida Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie advised families to come up with a communications plan.
Past hurricanes tore down cell phone towers, leaving people without a means of communicating, he said.
“Have a communications plan that doesn’t rely on cell phones or WiFi,” Guthrie said.
Kissimmee utility in alert mode | 2:38 p.m. Monday
The Kissimmee Utility Authority has activated Alert Level 3 and will operate at Level 4 once Hurricane Ian is within 24 hours of impacting Osceola County.
Once the storm passes KUA crews will assess damage which could be hampered by flooding, downed trees, or high winds, the utility provider said in a news release. KUA will focus on main power lines then restore individual customer outages, according to the release.
Customers experiencing a power outage are asked to report by texting “out” to 877-582-7700 and view a real-time outage map at https://kissimmee.datacapable.com/map/.
KUA asks customers to prepare by turning refrigerators and freezers to their coldest settings while keeping the door closed, disconnect sensitive electrical equipment in the event of a surge when power is restored, turn off all pumps and filters of swimming pools and if evacuating shut off main power to your home’s main circuit breaker to avoid fires caused by rising waters.
In the event of a power outage, KUA recommends using flashlights instead of candles or kerosene lamps, follow manufacturer recommendations when using generators and place them at least 20 feet away from your home, plug appliances directly into the generator while turning your electricity off at the fuse box and turn off the generator before turning your house power back on.
KUA urges residents not to touch fallen or low-hanging wires, anything the wires may be in contact with and to stay away from puddles where downed lines have landed.
Orange sheriff says deputies to be on alert | 2:37 p.m. Monday
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said deputies will be “on heightened alert” during the weather emergency
“We have things like generators, chainsaws and extra water, and we’ll be out there,” he said. “Obviously we’ll have people out there 24 hours a day, but there will be additional personnel, more than usual.”
The sheriff encouraged residents to prepare now for the coming storm.
“Central Florida is no stranger to hurricanes but it’s been a while since we’ve had a major weather event here,” he said.
He urged residents to be looking out for their neighbors, too.
“If you see something, say something,”
Dyer wants Orlando residents to prepare for Category 1 hurricane | 1:50 p .m. Monday
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said city residents should prepare like the city will be directly hit by a Category 1 storm, much like residents experienced in 2004 when Hurricane Charley roared across Florida and into Orlando.
Hurricane Charley rapidly gained strength into a Category 4 storm when it made landfall near Port Charlotte. It unexpectedly made a last-minute turn into Florida coming ashore further south than expected, which brought gusts of more than 100 mph to Orlando International Airport, and left more than 100,000 without power, toppled trees and damaged homes.
Orlando is within the cone of uncertainty for Hurricane Ian, meaning a similar course could happen. Most forecasts show Hurricane Ian making landfall north of Clearwater as a Category 2 storm.
“They should be assuming that we’re going to take a hit from a Category 1 hurricane directly like Charley, and be prepared the same way – if they were – for Charley,” Dyer said. “This is really the height of hurricane season so get prepared for this one and you’ll be prepared for the rest of the season.”
Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties were placed under an inland tropical storm watch by the National Weather Service in Melbourne.
FSU monitors Ian for Saturday football game vs. Wake Forest | 1:45 p.m. Monday
As No. 23 Florida State prepares to host No. 22 Wake Forest Saturday, the administration is keeping a close eye on the situation with Hurricane Ian.
“Nothing has changed right now in terms of the 3:30 p.m. kickoff for our football game with Wake Forest on Saturday,” FSU athletics director Michael Alford said in a statement Monday. “We are closely monitoring the projections regarding the hurricane and will be in constant contact with both local and state officials as well as the administration at Wake Forest and the Atlantic Coast Conference. As always, the safety of the student-athletes, game staff and fans will be our top priority.”
The latest projection has the storm making landfall in Florida Thursday morning around the Tampa area as a possible Category 2 hurricane before moving slowly toward the panhandle Friday.
Coach Mike Norvell said school officials met Sunday night to discuss the situation with local leaders and conference officials in case they needed to come up with an alternate plan.
“We are prepping for this game. We will have plans in place in case anything does happen,” Norvell said.
Orange assisted living facilities checked | 1:40 p.m. Monday
Orange County Public Safety Director Danny Banks said firefighters are visiting 200 assisted living facilities here in preparation of the coming storm.
“We know from some past storms, there were some [places] in the state that had trouble attending to the needs of their seniors. We’re intent to not let that happen in Orange County,” he said.
He said firefighters would visit every nursing home in the county to make sure their emergency generators are operational if their main power sources are knocked out.
About 28,000 people 65 years of age or older were in care facilities which lost power in September 2017 when Hurricane Irma struck Florida.
A 2020 study by researchers at the University of South Florida and Brown University concluded that 433 additional residents/patients died within 90 days of storm when compared to the same period in 2015 when there were no hurricanes.
The study was prompted by heat-related deaths of 12 residents at a Broward County nursing home that authorities blamed on the hurricane knocking out the central air conditioning.
Orange preps shelters ahead of storm | 1:27 p.m. Monday
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings opened up an emergency press briefing this afternoon to warn residents of the approaching storm.
“Things have changed significantly from yesterday. The storm has moved back east, but it is alternating between the east and west tracks. It is forecasted to intensify,” he said.
“We, of course, are making preparations for the opening of shelters, especially those involving people with special needs. That decision will be made in consultation with our school district and local Department of Health. While there is uncertainty in the forecast, situation for Central Florida has become more serious.”
Orange County officials ready for flood threat | 1:18 p.m. Monday
Flood prevention has been ongoing in Orange County long before Hurricane Ian started spinning our way, said Jeff Charles of Orange County stormwater management.
“We test them all the time, you know, probably about once every two weeks,” he said of pump stations. “But before a storm, we definitely make sure we go out and check on them … We’re preparing all year long to be honest with you. That’s what we do. All year long we’re actually doing maintenance so we’re ready for storms, as ready as we can be.”
He said crews also have been inspecting 95 miles of canals and 75 dry wells to prevent flooding when the rain falls.
Charles said he has been checking to make sure automated pump stations are functional and “will start running when we need them to.”
“They’re set to come on even if we’re not out here in the middle of the night,” he said. “We test them all the time, you know, probably about once every two weeks, but before a storm, we definitely make sure we go out and check on them.”
Who has disaster plans, who will shelter in place? | 1:00 p.m. Monday
Few Floridians over 45 have a disaster emergency plan, at the same time more plan to shelter in place, according to a recent survey from AARP.
Only 67% said they have a plan this years ear, down from 75% in 2019, the survey showed. The drop is even greater among homeowners, the survey said, from 71% to 55% overall.
“With a State of Emergency declared in all 67 counties as Hurricane Ian barrels toward Florida, we should all be reminded: it is extremely important for Floridians to have an updated disaster plan each year at the beginning of storm season, starting June 1, and to continue to monitor activity and update those plans as needed throughout the storm season ending November 30,” AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson said. “While we intended to release this survey’s results later in the fall, this warning cannot wait. We urge Floridians to get their emergency plans in place now.”
The survey also shows an increase from 55% to 61% in plans to shelter in place instead of evacuating, AARP said. “This may be due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to public shelters remains important as do concerns about rebounding financially from the cost of planning and damages from a natural disaster, exacerbated by the excessive cost of homeowner’s insurance.”
Check evacuation zones and school closures | 12:54 p.m. Monday
Need to know if you are in a potential evacuation zone? Go to Floridadisaster.org/planprepare and click on the link for “Know your zone, know your home.” Type in your home address to see if it’s in one of the six evacuation zones.
“Evacuations are at the local level,” State Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said.
To find out what school districts are closing schools, go to FLDOE.org/storminfo.
How to keep ahead of insurance claims | 12:52 p.m. Monday
Still putting your insurance policy in a plastic bag in the dishwasher before the a storm? Janet Ruiz, spokeswoman for the Florida-based Insurance Information Institute, says homeowners should “move beyond the Ziploc” in order to file timely and complete damage claims.
First, make sure you know who handles both your homeowner’s insurance and your flood insurance. Florida makes up roughly a third of the flood market in the U.S., according to the institute, so most homes have a separate flood policy.
Once you’ve identified the companies, save the contact information for filing a claim in your phone. “Make sure you have that number,” Ruiz said.
Also on your phone, save any online links your company has for where to file a claim, or download the company’s app if it has one.
Review your policies, know what the coverage amounts are, especially the total replacement costs.
Take pictures of your house and possessions before the storm to more readily demonstrate damage if there is any.
And if you have to evacuate or if damages force you to leave the property, keep receipts for where you go and what you spend. “The first coverage often times is additional living expenses,” Ruiz said.
For more information, the institute offers a preparedness guide here: https://www.iii.org/sites/default/files/docs/pdf/triple-i_state_of_the_risk_hurricanes_06222022.pdf
State can’t fulfill all requests from counties for aid before Ian | 12:25 p.m. Monday
Not all the requests for aid from county emergency management officials are going to be met before Hurricane Ian hits Florida, State Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said at a press briefing this morning.
“We’re not going to get them to the counties before landfall,” Guthrie said.
Those requests are typically for water and food, but the counties have no place to store them. “We are not going to leave a semi-trailer in a parking lot with 110-120 mph winds. That is the discrepancy between the number of missions we have filled and the number we are responding to.”
Osceola County tells residents to get ready | 12:05 p.m.
The Osceola Office of Emergency Management in a tweet Monday asked residents to finish preparations ahead of tropical storm force winds expected by Hurricane Ian.
Residents are asked to take proper storm precautions such as filling sandbags and signing up for emergency alerts through the county’s email and text alert system at http://alertosceola.org/. Weather conditions could include heavy winds, rain and flooding with the possibility of tornadoes.
Osceola county residents can continue to fill sandbags free until 6 p.m. Monday at 1211 Shakerag Road.
Also in Osceola County, Fortune Lakeshore Trail construction at Lakeshore Boulevard and Brown Chapel Road near East Lake Tohopekaliga has been delayed due to Hurricane Ian.
Rollins College closing Wednesday | 12:01 p.m.
Rollins college announced that it will close its Winter Park campus on Wednesday in preparation for Hurricane Ian.
“Based on the most recent models, Hurricane Ian is expected to have a significant impact on our area. Given this information, campus will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday, with residential halls closing at 4 p.m.,” the school said in a news release.
“Classes are scheduled for today and tomorrow, but we know that students have begun traveling and have asked that faculty be flexible and accommodating regarding this week’s classes. Wednesday classes will not meet in person, but will still be held. Instructors will reach out with makeup class approaches that will vary from class to class. Students should look for a message from their faculty member about how they will make up the class.”
DeSantis: Get prepared for Ian now | 11:59 a.m. Monday
Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke from the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee on Monday with Florida Department of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie and National Guard Maj. Gen. James O. Eifert.
“I encourage Floridians to ensure they are prepared and that their emergency kit is stocked with supplies,” DeSantis said.
The storm is expected to make landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast, he said. People should feel the effects as early as tomorrow, he said.
“Floridians up and down the gulf coast should feel the impact of this as up to 36 hours before actual landfall due to the size of the hurricane.”
All eyes are on the Tampa Bay area, with possible evacuation announcements in the works for this afternoon. Hillsborough County has already ordered mandatory evacuations for some areas.
With Ian upgraded to hurricane status, Florida’s Emergency Operations Center has been upgraded to Level 1 status. The National Guard has doubled the number of troops from 2500 to 5000, with 2,000 additional guardsmen coming in from Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
FEMA has provided five urban search and rescue units and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is staged and ready to respond.
The Division of Emergency Management has received 338 requests for help from its county partners, and fulfilled 293 with 50 more expected to be completed by the end of the day.
The state is also staging 210 medical professionals in Hillsborough County to help people with special needs.
Gov. DeSantis has waived all tolls on 11 state roads, most of them on the West Coast, including the I-4 connector.
He will be holding another news conference at 2 p.m. in Largo.
Early prescription refills available under state of emergency | 11:54 a.m. Monday
Floridians are entitled to at least a 30-day supply of any prescription medication, covered by insurance, even if the prescription has just been filled, according to a Monday news release from the Florida Department of Health.
The department recommends Floridians prepare for the possibility pharmacies are temporarily unavailable.
Section 252.358 of the Florida Statutes says early refills must be covered and pharmacies must fill them provided:
“(1) The person seeking the prescription medication refill resides in a county that:
(a) Is under a hurricane warning issued by the National Weather Service;
(b) Is declared to be under a state of emergency in an executive order issued by the Governor; or
(c) Has activated its emergency operations center and its emergency management plan.”
This waiver is extended until the Florida resident’s county is no longer under a hurricane warning, state of emergency, or its emergency operations center and emergency management plan are deactivated.
Otherwise, refills can be requested up to 30 days after the resident’s county becomes eligible, and this time period can be extended in 15- or 30-day increments by emergency orders issued by the Office of Insurance Regulation.
Evacuations ordered in Hillsborough County | 10:49 a.m. Monday
Hillsborough County in Tampa is ordering a mandatory evacuation of some residents and voluntary evacuation for others, starting at 2 p.m. today.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the county expects to evacuate up to 300,000 people.
“This is not a drill,” said Hillsborough Emergency Management Director Tim Dudley.
The Times reported that Hillsborough County Administrator Bonnie Wise recommended residents to try to find shelter with someone who lives at least 20 miles inland.
Shelters, Wise said, “are not comfortable places. They could be noisy. They could be crowded.”
Neighboring Pinnellas county is expected to issue its own evacuation order Tuesday, but is urging residents and visitors to leave the area today.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting a storm surge along the west coast and in Tampa Bay of 5 to 8 feet from Hurricane Ian.
State says to report any price gouging ahead of Ian | 10 a.m. Monday
Floridians shopping for gasoline, lumber, ice and other essentials ahead of Hurricane Ian can report price gouging to the state.
Attorney General Ashley Moody expanded Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline, 866-9NO-SCAM, statewide on Saturday after all of Florida’s counties entered a state of emergency. Violations can also be reported at MyFloridaLegal.com.
Florida law bans “excessive increases” for essentials like food, water, hotel rooms, ice, gasoline, lumber, equipment and storm-related services during a state of emergency, a news release said.
Price gouging carries a $1,000 per violation fine and up to $25,000 for multiple violations during the same 24 hours.
“Please watch Ian closely, and as you prepare for a potential storm strike, report incidences of price gouging to my office,” Moody said in the release.
Orlando International Airport running normal schedule | 9:55 a.m. Monday
Orlando International Airport says it’s monitoring Hurricane Ian, but it is not impacting any operations yet.
“We’re closely monitoring the status of Hurricane Ian to identify the potential extent of impact to airport operations,” OIA said on Twitter. “The airport is currently open and operational. Please check with your airline directly in regards to their operations for the most up-to-date flight information.”
Orlando Sentinel Staff
Rosen hotels offer lower rates for Hurricane Ian evacuees | 9:45 a.m. Monday
Rosen Hotels & Resorts is lowering its rates at its properties to help people who may have to evacuate to Orlando.
“Recognizing the severe nature of Hurricane Ian, Rose Hotels & Resorts activated its Florida Resident Distress Rates today, giving evacuees a safe, affordable place to call home as they ride out the storm,” the hotel said in a news release.
The rates will be $69 a night at Rosen Inn International, Rose Inn Closest to Universal, Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando and Rosen Inn Lake Buena Vista; $99 a night at Rosen Plaza, $109 a night at Rose Centre and $119 a night at Rosen Shingle Creek.
The Rosen hotels say they are pet friendly. For more information, call 866-337-6736.
Orlando Sentinel Staff
Lake County will close schools Wednesday, Thursday | 9:30 a.m. Monday
In preparation for the possibility of many Lake County public schools being used as storm evacuation shelters for Hurricane Ian this week, the school district will release students early on Tuesday and close schools on Wednesday and Thursday.
In a notice emailed to parents on Sunday, the district said:
- Lake County Emergency Management has asked that the district schedule an early release on Tuesday, Sept. 27. All schools will follow a Wednesday schedule on Tuesday, so students are dismissed an hour early and the district can start preparing schools to be used as evacuation shelters. Extended Learning Centers, or ELC, will maintain regular operating hours on Tuesday, and all other after-school events including sports will continue as planned.
- Schools and district offices will be closed on Wednesday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Sept. 29. All after-school events will also be canceled Wednesday and Thursday.
- The district expects to resume normal school and district office operations on Friday, Sept. 30.
“We are providing this information early so that you can prepare but please understand, this is subject to change once we know more about the storm’s path and timing,” the email to parents reads. “These plans are tentative.”
Other school districts in Central Florida are monitoring the storm and may make decisions later today about any class cancelations.
Orlando Sentinel Staff
Seminole offering $1 pet adoptions to clear out shelters | 9:28 a.m. Monday
Seminole County announced an adoption special for its animal services department ahead of Hurricane Ian.
In an effort to “Clear the Shelter” before potential impacts of Ian, all pet adoptions starting today are only $1.
“Come check out all of the animals at www.seminolecountypets.com, or during adoption hours of Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours on Wednesday from 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.,” the county said.
Orlando Sentinel Staff
Governor to speak from Tallahassee | 8:47 a.m. Monday
Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to speak Monday morning from the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee at 11 a.m.
He’ll appear from Florida Department of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie and National Guard Maj. Gen. James O. Eifert.
Additional sandbag sites to open Monday in Seminole County | 8:17 p.m. Sunday
Beginning at 11 a.m. on Monday, Seminole county residents can fill up to 15 bags of sand at new locations at Red Bug Lake Park, Softball Complex at 2200 North Street, Altamonte Springs and Boombah Sports Complex at 3450 E Lake Mary Boulevard, Sanford, according to a press release.
Animal Services in Seminole county in an effort to clear shelters before the storm is offering adoptions for $1 beginning Monday, according to a press release.
The Citizens Information Line will open Monday at 8 a.m. for residents to ask any questions regarding the storm. Seminole county residents can also text STORM2022 to 888-777 to stay informed.
Osceola County Schools to stay open Monday and Tuesday | 7:15 p.m. Sunday
Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace said in a press release that Osceola County schools will open Monday and Tuesday while Tropical Storm Ian is monitored. Students and parents will be updated through social media, district’s call-out system and the district and school’s websites.
Also within Osceola County, residents can continue to fill up to 25 sandbags at Osceola Heritage Park on Monday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
“I’m grateful that our Emergency Management team has been preparing for any impacts to the County from Ian, and we have been working closely with all of our community partners to be ready for the week ahead,” Osceola Commission Chairman Brandon Arrington said in a press release. “I also hope our residents have taken action these past few days and have a plan for their families. Thankfully, there is still time to prepare your homes and replenish your disaster kits if you haven’t done so already.”
Residents who need to speak with an Osceola County representative or want to ask specific questions can call the Citizen Information Center hotline at 407-742-0000 beginning Monday morning, according to the release.