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Florida now under state of emergency as Tropical Storm Ian strengthens. Here’s what it means

Miami Herald logo Miami Herald 9/24/2022 Devoun Cetoute, Miami Herald
Governor Ron DeSantis talks during a press conference on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, at the Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus. © Alie Skowronski/Miami Herald/TNS Governor Ron DeSantis talks during a press conference on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, at the Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus.

With Tropical Storm Ian forecast to strengthen and make landfall somewhere on Florida’s Gulf Coast as a major hurricane, Gov. Ron DeSantis has expanded a state of emergency to all 67 counties.

“The threat posed by Tropical Storm Ian requires that timely precautions are taken to protect the communities, infrastructure, and general welfare of Florida,” the governor’s office said.

The emergency declaration, and a federal pre-landfall Emergency Declaration DeSantis requested, will make important resources and support available, along with freeing up funding for protective measures. The Florida National Guard has also been activated and is awaiting orders.

“This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations,” DeSantis said in a statement. “We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”

Originally, DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 24 Florida counties, including all of South Florida, as Tropical Storm Ian’s cone of concern covered nearly all of the state.

Price Gouging Hotline Activated As Storm Approaches

Residents in counties under the emergency declaration can also report any price gouging they experience as people buy supplies and fill up on gas in preparation for the storm.

Attorney General Ashley Moody activated the “Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline,” which can be reached at 866-966-7226 or online at MyFloridaLegal.com.

“Floridians should prepare now with Tropical Depression Nine moving closer to our state,” Moody said in a statement.

Severe price increases on items essential to prepare for the storm can be reported. This includes price hikes for food, water, hotel rooms, gasoline, ice, equipment and other storm-related services.

Anyone found to be committing price gouging can face up to $1,000 per violation and up to a total of $25,000 for multiple violations committed in a single day.

Where is the storm?

It is not yet clear where the storm will make landfall, but much of Florida is within the cone of concern nearly 400 miles wide. Forecasters are cautioning that the initial track may change.

Tropical Storm Ian is about 270 miles miles south-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, and is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane on Sunday before it heads toward Cuba and Florida.

It’s projected to approach Cuba as a Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds, but forecasters warn it could be a Category 3 at that point.

READ MORE HERE: Tropical Storm Ian forms, expected to become a hurricane before hitting Cuba, then Florida

©2022 Miami Herald. Visit miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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