The Point, Sept. 27, 2022: Florida Gulf Coast, inland areas brace for impending arrival of Hurricane Ian
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• Florida Storms: Ian a major hurricane, tornado risk ramps up across South Florida today. "Ian has become the second major hurricane of the 2022 season, and intensification is projected to continue. As of the 5 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Ian is a strong category three hurricane with sustained winds of 25 miles per hour. Its center of circulation is over the western tip of Cuba and its forward motion is northward at 12 miles per hour."
• WUFT News: Need sandbags? Here’s a map. "Sandbag information is subject to change based on a multitude of factors including restricted hours and component availability. While we will do our best to keep this information as accurate as possible, please verify the provided information with your local municipality, county or local public safety agency."
• Florida Politics: Citrus County braces for potential ‘catastrophic’ flooding from Hurricane Ian. "Flooding from tidal storm surge plus heavy rainfall could be worse than any in recent memory, surpassing even the March 1993 'no-name' storm and Hurricane Hermine in 2016. Ian is expected to arrive near Citrus sometime Wednesday."
• WUFT News: A Gainesville community tethered by frustration stands resilient against repeated flooding. "Hills of Santa Fe, a quiet, middle-class suburb home to mostly families and retirees, has had a legacy of flooding for decades. The first major flood was in 2004, what residents dubbed a 'once-in-a-hundred-year flood,' which inundated people’s houses and turned the streets into what multiple residents have referred to as 'white water rapids.' Another keystone in the Hills’ flooding history was Hurricane Irma in 2017, when water levels reached so high that some escaped their homes via canoe. In 2021, Alachua County installed and upgraded water pumps across the county, with officials arguing they are doing their best."
• The Alligator: UF cancels classes ahead of Hurricane Ian. "The Alachua County Commission has declared a local state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Ian’s arrival. Effects are expected to be felt in Alachua County as early as Wednesday."
• Alachua County Emergency Management: "Having trouble finding water? Store shelves bare? You have water in your home....Remember, tap water is still usable, you can fill tap water into empty, cleaned out containers that contained other types of drinks. Have a milk jug that is almost done? Rinse it out, fill it with tap water and store in a cool area. Soda/juice still in stock at the stores, drink the soda/juice, clean out the bottles, refill with tap water. Filling bathtubs and washing machines for water is a great idea, but use that water for cleaning and flushing toilets if necessary. Using the resources you have available to you can help keep you from getting caught up in the panic of others (and is a lot easier on the wallet)."
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Around the state
• WUFT News: As Hurricane Ian makes it trek towards the Gulf Coast, Gov. DeSantis asks residents to remain calm. "The storm is expected to become a Category 3 or greater hurricane as it strengthens in the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters said. Currently, the diameter of the hurricane is around 500 miles. Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall in Levy County, but DeSantis emphasized that, because of the hurricane’s size, the impacts of the storm would be much broader than its current projection, with places like Collier County in southwest Florida issuing voluntary evacuations for some coastal communities as it concerns potential storm surges."
• WLRN-Miami: Florida Keys brace for storm surge flooding from Ian. "High tides are about a foot higher than usual, meaning flooding could reach two feet above a normal high tide, said National Weather Service meteorologist John Rizzo. That could make some streets impassable to normal vehicles, stranding some residents in their homes."
• WUFT News: Hurricane Ian expected to cause heavy damage in the Tampa Bay area. "People in evacuation zones should leave as soon as possible and should be past the preparation stage, according to Craig Fugate, former director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency."
• Tampa Bay Times ($): Hurricane Ian, a ‘potential historic catastrophe,’ takes aim at Tampa Bay. "It’s been 101 years since a major hurricane struck Tampa Bay. That lucky streak may end with Hurricane Ian."
• WFTS-Tampa Bay: Counties across Tampa Bay start opening shelters as Ian remains a threat to Gulf Coast. "As of Monday morning, (Hillsborough) county leaders said the schools would be able to provide shelter space for 41,000 people over the next few days. The county’s shelters opened Monday afternoon and will stay open until Hurricane Ian no longer poses a threat."
• WFLA-Tampa: TECO may shut down power to southern tip of downtown Tampa due to Hurricane Ian. "The company said it can avoid serious damage to the underground equipment from saltwater surge by proactively shutting down certain parts of the network ahead of Hurricane Ian."
• WMFE-Orlando: Most Central Florida schools close ahead of Hurricane Ian. "The University of Central Florida, Stetson University, and FAMU in Orlando have canceled classes Wednesday through Friday of this week."
• New York Times ($): A ‘Nightmare’ for Forecasters: Here’s Why Hurricanes Are Getting Stronger, Faster. "As Earth’s climate warms, more storms are undergoing this kind of rapid intensification, growing quickly from relatively weak tropical storms to Category 3 or higher hurricanes in under 24 hours, sometimes stunning forecasters and giving residents little time to prepare. Here are key facts about how climate change can rapidly intensify tropical storms."
• Miami Herald ($): Buccaneers will use Dolphins’ practice facility as Hurricane Ian looms. "Southeast Florida was no longer in the cone but rain spinning off the growing hurricane was already soaking Miami-Dade and Broward Monday night."
From NPR News
• World: Why it's perfectly normal to see baby puffins thrown off cliffs in Iceland each year
Ethan Magoc curated today's edition of The Point.