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State officials urge people in unsafe zones to evacuate their homes before it’s too late

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, speaks as he stands with Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, during a news conference, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Largo, Florida.

Chris O’Meara/AP Photo


State officials stressed Tuesday night that “the time is now” for people who evacuate their homes if they live in unsafe areas of the state.

Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall near Sarasota on Wednesday night, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a press conference in Tallahassee.

While the movement of the storm could change, experts predict it’ll meander through the state and exit on the east coast on Friday morning, and then head up toward Georgia and South Carolina. 

Ian could become a category 4 storm before it hits Florida, which would mean that it would have winds north of 130 mph and have the ability to cause catastrophic damage. 

DeSantis urged people to listen to local officials when they said to evacuate. 

“You still have some time but that time is rapidly running out,” DeSantis said. 

The storm is 250 miles south of Sarasota and moving north at 10 mph. Rear Admiral McPherson, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District, warned it would be a “very dangerous, life-threatening storm.” Officials were poised to offer search and rescue services, and dispatched 30 aircraft to the region, he said. 

But there will be a time when certain parts of Florida will have to put rescue missions on hold. 

Kevin Guthrie, Florida’s emergency management director, warned during the Tallahassee press conference that once people were in the middle of the storm then first responders would not be able to help. 

“There will be a time when they cannot reply to a cry for help,” he said, “and you will be left to fend for yourself.” 

He stressed that “the time is now” to evacuate and that “there will be a point in time when you will not be safe to travel the roads.” Officials have also emphasized that people should help neighbors who might not be able to leave because of illness or because they are unfamiliar with hurricane guidelines. 

People urged to evacuate their homes don’t necessarily have to drive to another state but should try to get to higher ground, state officials said. They’ve encouraged people to go to Miami-Dade or Broward Counties. 



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