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Tropical Storm Watch issued for the Lower Keys prior to Ian

Tropical Storm Watch issued for the Lower Keys prior to Ian
Written by boustamohamed31

A tropical storm watch went into effect Sunday for the Lower Keys on Sunday as Florida residents continue to prepare for Ian’s uncertain path.

South Florida’s three-county region still remains outside Tropical Storm Ian’s current direct hit tracks, but all Floridians should prepare for a major storm, the governor said. Ron DeSantis said Sunday.

A tropical storm watch from the Seven Mile Bridge to Key West, including the Dry Tortugas, was included in a 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.

According to the forecast, Ion’s center is expected to pass near or west of the Cayman Islands on Monday and near or over western Cuba on Monday night and early Tuesday. Ian will then exit over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.

Models show a possible direct hit in the Tampa area or the Florida Panhandle

“Don’t get too attached to those cones,” DeSantis said at a news conference Sunday at the Tallahassee Emergency Operations Center. “Even if you’re not necessarily right in the eye of the storm’s path, there’s going to be pretty broad impacts across the state.”

He said there could be severe flooding along Florida’s east coast. And there’s no guarantee that the storm’s path will continue to move west as it has for the past two days.

“There is uncertainty. The models are not in agreement,” he said. “Just don’t think that if you’re not in that eye, you don’t need to prepare. The last thing we want is for it to move east quickly and then have people who are not prepared. It’s better to be prepared and not have to use these preparations than the other way around.”

This includes sufficient food, water, batteries, medicine and fuel, he said.

Most residents will not need to evacuate, emergency officials said. People should watch first floridadisaster.org/know to see if they are in an evacuation zone. If not, they should consider whether their home can withstand tropical storm or hurricane force winds.

“With Hurricane Irma, we exceeded the evacuation of residents by nearly 2 million people,” said Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Department of Emergency Management.

DeSantis said to expect heavy rain, strong winds, flash flooding, storm surges and even isolated tornadoes. He declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties “due to the uncertainty of the storm.” Previously, the state of emergency was in place for only 24 counties, including Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach.

President Biden also approved a federal emergency declaration for Florida, allowing it to access FEMA resources.

The state loosened restrictions on commercial trucks and allowed emergency prescription or 30-day refills. DeSantis said he also activated 2,500 members of the Florida National Guard to help with the emergency.

Ian’s center is expected to pass well southwest of Jamaica on Sunday evening and pass near or west of the Cayman Islands early Monday, according to a 5 p.m. forecast. Ian will then move near or over western Cuba on Monday night and early Tuesday and exit over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.

If Ian does reach Cuba, it is expected to do so as a major hurricane (sustained winds of at least 111 mph).

It will then exit over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.

5:00 p.m. advisory said a hurricane warning was in effect for Grand Cayman and the Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa. Hurricane warnings, signaling expected hurricane conditions, are generally issued 36 hours before the expected first appearance of tropical storm-force winds.

South Florida is outside the forecast cone of uncertainty, where the hurricane’s center will be two-thirds of the time, said Sean Bhatti, a meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center. But subtle changes in track can make a huge difference, and the warm waters of the Persian Gulf and possible land interaction with Cuba can drive those changes.

“This weekend, have all the preparations for a potential worst-case scenario,” Bhatti said.

On Sunday, the forecast track appeared to begin shifting eastward again.

A “reasonable” worst-case scenario currently still includes all the impacts associated with a major hurricane. But if the storm continues to move west, South Florida could see only high waves and gusty winds.

As the weekend progresses, the hurricane’s path will become clearer. By Sunday night into Monday morning, forecasters say they’ll have a much better idea of ​​what’s ahead and whether South Florida can be spared the brunt of the storm.

The storm, formerly known as Hermine, continued to bring rain to the Canary Islands on Sunday before becoming a residual low and dissipating.

What had been Hurricane Fiona had weakened to a post-tropical cyclone early Sunday and dissipated later in the day.

Forecasters are also watching a broad area of ​​low pressure in the Atlantic that has a 30% chance of developing over the next five days, although Ian is the biggest concern.

Fiona was the first major hurricane of the 2022 season, meaning Category 3 and above.

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Tropical Storm Gaston continues to weaken and is expected to become a post-tropical cyclone on Sunday.

Hurricane season ends in November. 30. The next named storm after Ian will be Julia.

Staff writer Shira Multen contributed to this report.

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