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As Florida prepares for Hurricane Ian, schools, hundreds of stores, as well as all of the major theme parks, are announcing closures.
Why it matters: The storm's track, toward a major hurricane landfall in southwest Florida, somewhere near Tampa, makes this an especially dangerous event, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports. Power outages have already begun to affect the state.
There’s still some uncertainty, but the latest storm forecast is good news for the Tampa Bay area.
- As the first heavy clouds of Hurricane Ian, now an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane, start racing across the region this morning, the eye is churning toward a more southerly landfall, near Lee and Charlotte counties.
Why it matters: With Ian coming ashore to the south later today, the Tampa Bay area avoids the major storm surge that was forecast to flood thousands of homes and deluge the region.
- While flooding depends on the timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, the 5am forecast predicts a surge of 4 to 6 feet in Tampa Bay, from the Anclote River to Longboat Key — lower than yesterday's estimate of 5 to 10 feet.
Yes, but: Our neighbors to the south face a more intense storm, with maximum sustained winds near 140 mph. Damage will be catastrophic, per the National Hurricane Center.
The latest: Ian's center will approach this morning and move onshore later this afternoon.
What to expect: Strong sustained winds and heavy driving rain all day. Localized flooding.
- We could get 12 to 18 inches of rain, per NHC.
Threat level: One of the biggest threats is storm surge flooding at the coast, which has prompted mandatory evacuations in some areas.
- A storm surge warning was in effect for a heavily populated stretch of coastline that includes Tampa Bay, Fort Myers, Naples, Port Charlotte, St. Petersburg and Sarasota.
- The surge between Longboat Key and Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor, is predicted to be the highest, at 8 to 12 feet above normally dry ground.
- A hurricane warning is in effect, from Bonita Beach to the Anclote River, which includes Tampa Bay.
Several tornadoes were reported to have struck Florida after Hurricane Ian rapidly intensified on Tuesday night.
The big picture: Ian's outer bands spawned tornadoes along the east coast of Florida as it reached Category 3 intensity Tuesday ahead of an expected ramp-up to a Category 4 on Wednesday. The tornado threat to southeast Florida counties continued overnight as the major hurricane moved closer.
It's always nice to be a good neighbor, especially in a hurricane.
What's happening: The Miami Dolphins are hosting Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the team evacuates from the path of Hurricane Ian.
- The reconstruction cost value — more simply put, how much it would cost to rebuild those homes — totals $258.3 billion.
The last time Tampa Bay took a direct hit from a major hurricane was more than 100 years ago.
- That might change this week.
Compared to 2019, far fewer Floridians older than Tom Brady have a natural disaster emergency plan.
- That's according to a recently released survey from AARP, which showed that just 67% of Floridians age 45 or older have a plan, compared to 75% three years ago.
Last time the power went out at my place, I was hungry and had no idea what to do, so I just ordered delivery.
- This is my first big hurricane, but I'm guessing Uber Eats won't be running in gale force winds. I've been trying to think about how I will feed myself without resorting to eating SpaghettiOs out of the can.