As Florida braces for the impact of Hurricane Ian, social media users and tourists are being criticized for ignoring evacuation orders and bragging about it online.
More than 2.5 million Floridians received evacuation orders with the storm on track to make landfall as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane on Wednesday.
The US National Hurricane Center predicted that Ian could become a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane with winds of up to 130 mph (209 km/h) before roaring across the southwest coast of Florida on Wednesday after -midday.
Hurricane-force winds were expected in Florida long before the storm’s eyewall moved inland.
“You have to get to higher ground, you have to get to safe structures,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Tuesday.
He added that widespread power outages would leave millions of people without power once the storm hits.
However, many Floridians are choosing to ignore advice and evacuation orders.
On Tuesday, children were seen playing in the ocean in Key West, Florida, even as flooding and choppy waters had already begun before Hurricane Ian, CBS reported.
Videos on social media platforms like TikTok showed many users saying they would stay despite evacuation orders.
One user posted on TikTok: “I don’t have an escape plan except to get him out. I will post updates until I drown or survive,” the post reported. Daily mail.
Captain Ken Gamble told the outlet he says he put Treasure Beach through Hurricane Ian, after living there for 55 years.
He said he had “never gone for a storm and is not starting now”, saying “it wouldn’t be as bad as they say”.
Influencers were also seen shooting videos to post online, even as warning orders were issued by authorities.
Florida Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said at a Tuesday night press briefing that “the time to evacuate is now.”
“Hit the road,” he said, urging residents to heed evacuation warnings.
The Independent Gt