Courts close, hospitals evacuate in hours before storm impact

by | Sep 27, 2022

  • Government buildings like courthouses have announced closures ahead of Hurricane Ian’s landfall 
  • Meanwhile, patients at some Florida hospitals have been evacuated further inland, heeding the warnings of catastrophic flooding 
  • Nursing homes in low-lying flood zones have begun transporting residents inland 
  • Hurricane Ian is expected to hit Florida’s Gulf Coast later this week, bringing historic storm surge levels and catastrophic flooding, according to state officials 

Courts in 19 Florida counties will close ahead of Hurricane Ian’s impending impact, while hospitals and nursing homes across Tampa Bay have begun evacuating.

The majority of courthouses have a preliminary closing period of two days — Wednesday, Sept. 28 and Thursday, Sept. 29 — though those in low-lying areas taking a severe hit from the storm have extended the closures through Friday, Sept. 30.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal also plans to shutter Tuesday through Thursday.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that five helicopters evacuated roughly 40 patients from HCA Florida Pasadena Hospital to facilities further inland on Monday, including some in critical care.

Tampa General Hospital (TGH) canceled non-critical surgeries and has announced some ambulatory location closures, but remains open for storm response care, as of Tuesday.

“The safety of our patients, visitors, and team members remains our top priority,” said the hospital. “Tampa General Hospital teams are monitoring the storm and preparing for Hurricane Ian. We will provide updates on this page for our patients and community throughout this weather event.”

Meanwhile, nursing homes close to shorelines have begun transporting residents located in zones with mandatory evacuation orders further inland in an attempt to avoid deadly flooding.

”We’re not worried about having power,” Maria Beznes, administrator of St. Petersburg Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, told the Tampa Bay Times. “We’re worried about flooding.”

Further, all Department of Health offices and clinics in Orange County will be closed Wednesday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Sept. 29.

Hurricane Ian is now considered a major hurricane, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis. The storm is located roughly 200 miles southwest of Key West, moving north at 12 miles per hour and expected to make landfall in Cuba shortly.

Sustained winds of 125 miles per hour have been recorded as new models show a new point of impact just south of Tampa Bay, close to the Sarasota metro area, though models are still subject to change as Ian moves closer to the Florida peninsula.

State leaders warn that the storm has the potential to bring about historic levels of storm surge along the Gulf Coast as well as catastrophic flooding.


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