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Florida emergency declared as Tropical Storm Ian strengthens

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all of Florida on Saturday as Tropical Storm Ian gains strength over the Caribbean and is expected to become a major hurricane within days as she’s headed for the state.

DeSantis originally issued the emergency order for two dozen counties on Friday. But he extended the warning to the entire state, urging residents to prepare for a storm that could hit large swaths of Florida.

“This storm has the potential to develop into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to be prepared,” DeSantis said in a statement. “We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to monitor the potential impacts of this storm.”

President Joe Biden also declared a state emergency, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide assistance for protect lives and property.

The National Hurricane Center said Ian is expected to strengthen rapidly in the coming days before moving over western Cuba and into Florida’s west coast and the Florida Panhandle by the middle of next week. The agency said Floridians should have hurricane plans in place and advised residents to watch for updates on the changing storm track.

He added that Ian is expected to become a hurricane on Sunday and a major hurricane by late Monday or early Tuesday. Ian on Saturday night had sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) as it swirled about 230 miles (370 kilometers) south of Kingston, Jamaica.

John Cangialosi, senior hurricane specialist at the Miami-based hurricane center, said it’s not yet clear exactly where Ian will hit hardest in Florida. He said state residents should start preparing for the storm, including gathering supplies for possible power outages.

“Too early to tell if this will be a Southeast Florida or Central Florida problem or just statewide,” he said. “So at this point, the right message for those living in Florida is that you need to watch the forecast and be prepared and prepared for the potential impact of this tropical system.”

The governor’s statement releases emergency protection funding and activates members of the Florida National Guard, his office said. His order emphasizes that there is a risk of storm surge, flooding, dangerous winds and other weather conditions throughout the state.

Elsewhere, powerful post-tropical cyclone Fiona made landfall early Saturday in Nova Scotia in Atlantic Canada. The storm swept homes into the sea, ripped roofs off others and knocked out power in the vast majority of Canada’s two provinces, with more than 500,000 customers affected at the height of the storm.

Fiona had gone from a hurricane to a post-tropical storm Friday night, but there were still hurricane-force winds and torrential rains and huge waves. There have been no confirmed deaths or injuries.

The Huffington Gt

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