It was moving inland, where it was expected to weaken, but residents of Central Florida could still experience hurricane-force winds.
Before passing through the Gulf of Mexico to Florida, Hurricane Ian yesterday tore through western Cuba where it killed two people and brought down the country’s power grid.
“It’s going to be a bad day, two days to be exact,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, stressing that people should rush to the safest shelter and stay there.
The federal government has sent 300 ambulances with medical teams and is ready to truck in 3.7 million meals and 3.5 million liters of water once the storm passes.
“We’re going to be there to help you clean up and rebuild, to help Florida get going again,” President Joe Biden said today.
Fueled by warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Ian strengthened overnight to a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph (250 km/h) and is within reach of the most dangerous Category 5, according to the National Hurricane Center.
More than 450,000 homes and businesses were left without power, and residents were warned they could be without power for days.
Florida Gov. De Santis said the state has search and rescue teams and 7,000 National Guard troops from Florida and elsewhere ready to help when the weather clears.
Parts of Georgia and South Carolina could also see flooding rain and some large waves on Saturday.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp preemptively declared a state of emergency, ordering 500 National Guard troops to be on standby.
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