Updated Sep 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DeSantis declares state of emergency as Tropical Storm Ian nears

A long line of shoppers are seen past a person pushing cases of water outside a retail warehouse

Shoppers wait in long lines as they rush to prepare for Tropical Storm Ian in Kissimmee, Fla., on Sept. 25. Photo: Gregg Newton/AFP via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) declared a state of emergency for all of Florida on Saturday as Tropical Storm Ian approached the state.

Driving the news: Ian, which formed Friday over the southern Caribbean, was forecast to intensify through Monday, possibly into a high-end Category 4 storm.

  • The storm was slated to hit Florida midweek. DeSantis had earlier declared a state of emergency for 24 counties in the state.
  • President Biden declared an emergency for the state.

The big picture: "Because of the foregoing conditions, which are projected to constitute a major disaster, I declare a state of emergency exists in the State of Florida," DeSantis said in an executive order Saturday.

  • "I encourage all Floridians to continue to monitor the storm and listen to local officials," DeSantis tweeted Saturday afternoon.

Threat level: Ian was expected to bring heavy rains that result in flash floods and urban flooding, storm surges and high winds, the National Hurricane Center said in an update Sunday.

  • The Florida Keys as well as parts of southern and central Florida could get 2 to 4 inches of rain, with local maximums of up to 6 inches, starting Monday and lasting through Wednesday, per the NHC. North Florida and the panhandle, as well as the southeast U.S., can expect heavy rains the rest of the week.

What they're saying: Tropical Storm Ian will likely become a "major hurricane" and Floridians need to be prepared, DeSantis warned at a press briefing Sunday afternoon.

  • "It's important to point out to folks that the path of this is still uncertain. The impacts will be broad throughout the state of Florida," DeSantis added.
  • "Expect heavy rains, strong winds, flash flooding, storm surge and even isolated tornados. Make preparations now," he said.
  • DeSantis added that residents should anticipate power outages, fuel disruptions and evacuations in certain areas.

State of play: Some Floridians were queuing to buy cases of water, generators and plywood with which to cover their windows, AP reported.

  • The Florida National Guard has been activated to help with the response to Ian, with 2,500 guardsmen activated and with the possibility of activating more if necessary, DeSantis said Sunday.

Zoom in: In Tampa Bay, no evacuations had yet been ordered, but many area schools were to close this week to serve as storm shelters for people who need to evacuate, Axios Tampa Bay's Selene San Felice reports. Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco county districts have all announced closure plans.

  • Tampa Mayor Jane Castor told Fox 13 Tampa Bay earlier this week that the city was making efforts to prepare for possible flooding by preemptively draining ponds and releasing water from the nearby dam.
  • "[We are] cutting back trees and shrubs that may be impairing our lines but also even working with our community members," Ana Gibbs, a spokesperson for Duke Energy, told Fox 13 Tampa Bay about preparations around the city.
  • Duke Energy Florida noted in a statement Sunday that crews are "checking equipment, supplies and inventories to ensure adequate materials are available to make repairs and restore power outages."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper