Target: Tampa – Ian projected to make landfall as major hurricane; mandatory evacuations ordered

by | Sep 27, 2022

  • Hurricane Ian is now projected to slam into the Tampa area as a major hurricane
  • Emergency evacuation orders have been issued for Charlotte, Levy, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties 
  • School districts across Southwest and Central Florida have begun canceling classes through this week. The University of South Florida has canceled classes from Tuesday through Thursday with the possibility of extending cancelations into next week should it be deemed necessary

5:00 A.M. Update:

The latest storm track (updated at 5am EDT) shows Ian shifting even further south and east, making landfall before it starts to lose strength. The next update is due at 8am.

12:19 A.M. Update: 

The latest hurricane advisory continues to show a predicted landfall directly over Tampa Bay. The storm currently has a maximum sustained wind of 105 miles per hour with movement of 13 miles per hour North-Northwest.

The National Hurricane Center states that the slower forward motion of the storm is likely to prolong the storm surge, wind, and rainfall impacts along the west coast of Florida, and the Tampa Bay region in particular.

According to Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for all of East Central Florida, including parts of Orange County.

As of midnight, the University of Florida has canceled classes from Wednesday through Friday in anticipation of campus rainfall. With the announcement, all major public state universities have issued cancelations for classes and campus activities throughout the week.

However, Florida State University leaders stated on Monday that they intend to proceed as normal with the scheduled football game in Tallahassee on Saturday.

8:18 P.M. Update: 

24 school districts across Florida have canceled classes through the remainder of this week. Tampa Bay is now under an active hurricane warning as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in western Cuba.

8:15 P.M. Update: 

Hurricane Ian strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane this evening and continues to rapidly intensify ahead of its impact on Florida later this week.

Tropical-storm force winds may begin as soon as tonight in the Florida Keys and South Florida. Ian is forecasted to become a major hurricane tonight and remain a major Hurricane over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.

Storm surge has the potential to impact much of Florida’s west coast, with the highest risk from Ft. Myers to the Tampa Bay region.

5:22 P.M. Update:

The University of Central Florida has canceled classes and campus activity from Wednesday through Friday ahead of Hurricane Ian’s landfall.

5:05 P.M. Update:

Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist says that he will suspend running political ads in Tampa, Fort Myers, Orlando, and Jacksonville media markets, according to Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida.

5:00 P.M. Update: 

Hurricane Ian has rapidly developed into a Category 2 hurricane, reaching winds of 100 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center’s latest update. The storm is expected to reach the status of a major hurricane by nightfall.

Tropical storm warnings have been issued for the Gulf Coast from Everglades City to Fort Myers and the lower keys. A hurricane warning for Tampa Bay and Dry Tortugas is also now in effect, while a hurricane watch is active north of Tampa.

Tropical storm watches have been declared for the Florida Keys as well as the Big Bend region of Florida.

4:43 P.M. Update:

In anticipation of potential impacts from Hurricane Ian, on Tuesday, Sept. 27, between 5 P.M. and 7 P.M., Sarasota County Utilities will shut off water service to residents and businesses located on Siesta Key and Casey Key. 

4:15 P.M. Update: 

Pasco County has issued a Local State of Emergency. County officials say to expect evacuation orders and shelter locations later this evening.

4:13 P.M. Update: 

Uber on Monday afternoon that it will be offering free round-trip rides in Southwest Florida, up to $30 each way, to and from a state-approved evacuation shelter.

Three Southwest Florida counties — Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Manatee — have issued mandatory evacuation orders. The area is expected to take a direct hit from Hurricane Ian later this week, and all residents in the affected areas are urged to move at least 20 miles inland.

3:41 P.M. Update: 

Lane closures on Interstate 10 have been suspended in order to maximize the flow of traffic for evacuating Floridians, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced.

Counties in the state panhandle have established sandbag pickup locations in anticipation of heavy rainfall and flooding.

3:29 P.M. Update:

Leon County has issued a local state of emergency declaration in advance of Hurricane Ian’s landfall and has urged residents to remain ready and prepared.

“Before we truly know the path of the storm, let’s all take this opportunity to be prepared,” said Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey. “There’s no need to panic, but let’s be prepared.”

Leon County is on the outer edge of cones in prediction models but is expected to get heavy rain, wind, and isolated tornado activity regardless of the location of the initial impact on Florida’s west coast.

2:24 P.M. Update:

Pinellas County has issued a mandatory evacuation beginning at 6 P.M. tonight for its Zone A. The zone encompasses the county’s lower-lying areas below 12 feet of elevation.

Mandatory orders for evacuation zones B and C will be effective tomorrow morning at 7 A.M.


2:18 P.M. Update

Florida State University has canceled classes for the remainder of the week in preparation for Hurricane Ian’s impact. Florida State is the second major university in Florida to call off classes after the University of South Florida did so earlier today.

2:00 P.M. Update:

As of 2:00 P.M., Hurricane Ian is located roughly 375 miles south of Key West and is moving North-Northwest at 14 miles per hour with a maximum sustained windspeed of 80 miles per hour. Hurricane is anticipated to develop into a major hurricane.

DeSantis claimed that the gulf coast of Florida will see flash flooding, heavy rain and winds, and isolated tornado activity. Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties will likely receive high levels of flooding.

DeSantis again reiterated that the storm is big, at roughly 500 miles wide, and can impact huge portions of the state at once.

State officials said that additional counties will likely issue evacuation orders later on Monday and into Tuesday.

12:58 P.M. Update:

Manatee County Public safety officials are announcing plans for evacuations, beginning with a mandatory Zone A and voluntary Zone B evacuation, effective at 8 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 27.

“We’re expecting sustained tropical or hurricane winds to our barrier islands and coastal communities for as long as 48 hours, with the earliest arrival predicted for 8 p.m. Tuesday,” said Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes. “This is a worst-case scenario with a very strong slow-moving storm just to the west of us.”

Zone A covers most of Bradenton, including coastal areas. Find out if you are in Zone A here.

12:05 P.M. Update:

FEMA is prepositioning supplies and personnel in Florida and Alabama ahead of Hurricane Ian.

In Florida, 3.5 million liters of water and 3.6 million meals have been allocated for storm response while Alabama has more than 1 million liters of water, 480,000 meals, and 7,200 cots.

3 incident management teams and a mobile emergency response team are active – 2 in Florida and 1 in Alabama, according to FEMA Spokeswoman Jaclyn Rothenberg.

11 A.M. Update: 

As Hurricane Ian strengthens on its way to Cuba, officials have issued a tropical storm warning for the west coast of Florida. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph as it spun Monday morning approximately 100 miles west of Grand Cayman and 240 miles southwest of Cuba’s western edge, according to a National Hurricane Center alert issued at 11 a.m.

During a press conference regarding the status of the storm, Gov. Ron DeSantis stated that the storm is wider in diameter than Irma, which hit that state in 2017. To accommodate a recent evacuation order for areas of Hillsborough County, road tolls in the Tampa Bay area have been suspended.

DeSantis additionally stated that more tolls will be turned off should evacuation measures be required across the state.

“Even if the eye of the storm doesn’t hit your region, you’re going to have really significant winds,” said DeSantis on Monday. “It’s going to knock over trees, it’s going to cause interruptions. It’s just the name of the game, so be prepared for that.”

Further, DeSantis stated that storm surge watches have been issued from Pinellas County all the way south to the Florida Keys, with an anticipation that the measures will be upgraded to storm surge warnings by Tuesday.

Several school districts across Central and Southwest Florida have closed schools through the remainder of the week, with more anticipated to do so as Tropical Storm Ian moved closer to the state. The University of South Florida also canceled classes from Tuesday through Thursday, with the possibility of an extension of closures within the realm of possibility.

In preparation for damage, the Florida National Guard has been in contact with neighboring states to be able to provide additional resources to help aid in response to Floridians. The group is constantly watching the path of the storm in order to reposition and pre-position stockpiles of resources to be able to best provide them to affected residents once the storm makes landfall.


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