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Hurricane lan update today: Storm strengthens to category 3 and path heads for Florida

Follow live updates as category 3 storm Hurricane Ian is set to hit Florida

Central Florida stores struggle to keep water on shelves ahead of Tropical Storm Ian

Heavy rain and strong winds are lashing western Cuba after Hurricane Ian made landfall on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day Ian strengthened into a category 3 storm, before making landfall in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province.

According to the US National Hurricane Center, the island’s west coast could see as much as 14 feet (4.3 metres) of storm surge.

Authorities in Cuba have evacuated 50,000 people, set up at least 55 shelters and rushed in emergency personnel.

According to the National Hurricane Center Ian won’t linger over Cuba but will slow down over the Gulf of Mexico, growing wider and stronger, “which will have the potential to produce significant wind and storm surge impacts along the west coast of Florida”.

Meanwhile, mandatory evacuations are also underway in parts of Florida amid warnings of life-threatening conditions from the potentially category 4 storm in the coming days.

There is a risk of flash flooding, strong winds, storm surge of up to 10 feet, and possible isolated tornadoes along Florida’s Gulf Coast with impacts beginning up to 36 hours before the peak.

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Which cities will be hit by storm surge?

The whole of Florida is facing high winds, flooding rain, and tornadoes, but coastal cities are also facing storm surge, an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tide.

Miami is facing an estimated 3-5ft water level rise, Tampa 5-8ft, Fort Myers 6-10ft, and Naples a staggering 10-15ft.

Here’s an overview from the National Weather Service:

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Hurricane Ian seen from International Space Station

Cameras attached to the exterior of the International Space Station have captured an incredible view of Hurricane Ian from 250 miles above Earth.

Meanwhile, some local media is reportedly warning Floridians to expect power outages from tomorrow until the weekend.

International Space station flies over Hurricane Ian
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ICYMI: Long gas lines and panic buying as Hurricane Ian heads towards Florida

Floridians faced long lines at gas stations and empty shelves as residents prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Ian, a storm expected to reach Category 4 by the time it makes landfall in the Sunshine State later this week.

Read more:

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Tampa International Airport prepares for Hurricane Ian

Tampa International Airport will suspend all operations beginning at 5pm today due to Hurricane Ian, which continues to threaten the Tampa Bay region with strong winds, heavy rain and storm surge.

The closure, a statement reads, will allow the airport to prepare the airfield and terminals, including the securing of jet bridges, ground equipment, and any remaining aircraft. The airport, including the main terminal, airsides, and parking garages will be closed to all visitors at that time.

The statement adds: “Damage assessments will begin as soon as it is safe to do so. TPA will closely coordinate the reopening of the airport with its partners based on roadway safety, facility readiness, and staffing.”

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What do storm categories 3 and 4 mean?

Hurricane Ian is a category 3 storm and is expected to become category 4, but what does that actually mean?

Hurricane categories are based on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, a 1 to 5 rating based only on a hurricane’s maximum sustained wind speed. This scale does not take into account other potentially deadly hazards such as storm surge, rainfall flooding, and tornadoes.

Here’s a handy fact page from the NOAA.

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Florida authorities urge residents to prepare for Hurricane Ian

Flordia Division of Emergency Management has urged citizens to prepare for the impact of Hurricane Ian.In a statement on Twitter, it said that hurricane warnings are in effect for Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas & Sarasota counties.

Hurricane watches are also in effect for areas along the Gulf Coast.

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Eye of storm seen from space

This incredible satellite image shows the terrifying scale of Hurricane Ian. It was released by the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and shows the extreme weather event moving through the Gulf of Mexico.

The satellite picture shows the sheer scale of the hurricane

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Free Uber rides to shelters

Uber is offering free rides to hurricane shelters in Florida. The ride-sharing service says drivers will undertake free journeys to and from evacuation shelters in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, and Pasco County. More details below:

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Hurricane Ian makes landfall in Cuba

Hurricane Ian has made landfall in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province today.

The category 3 storm brought rain and winds to Cuba’s western tip as the US National Hurricane Center said that the island’s west coast could see as much as 14 feet (4.3 meters) of storm surge.

According to the centre, a major hurricane is defined as a Category 3 storm or higher, with maximum sustained winds of at least 111 mph (178 km/h).

Hurricane Ian became a Category 3 hurricane earlier today.

“Cuba is expecting extreme hurricane-force winds, also life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall,” hurricane centre senior specialist Daniel Brown told the Associated Press.

Satellite image released by NASA shows Hurricane Ian growing stronger as it barreled toward Cuba.

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Schools in 24 counties shut, more closures to come says Governor DeSantis

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has said in an update on Twitter that schools in 24 counties in Florida have been shut as the state prepares for Hurricane Ian.

More schools are expected to be closed as the hurricane’s track becomes more clear.

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