(TALLAHASSEE, Florida)– Governor Ron DeSantis has issued updates on Tropical Storm Ian at the State Emergency Operations Center with Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie during a press conference Sunday morning.
Though forecasts now show the storm shifting west toward the Panhandle away from Southwest Florida, Gov. DeSantis emphasized the point that Ian’s eventual path is still uncertain.
Guthrie stressed during the press conference that, while forecasts show the storm weakening before it makes landfall, Florida could still feel the impact of a storm surge by a Category 4 hurricane.
“Regardless of Ian’s expected track intensity, we are preparing for dangerous storm surge,” Guthrie said. “I would just mention that these models, while all have them have Ian going up to a Cat 4, that envelope of water will not stop due to high pressure or dry air. That has no bearing on storm surge. So we could see a situation where we have Cat 4 storm surge and potentially a Cat 1 or 2 hurricane landfall.”
Guthrie also asked Floridians not to immediately evacuate as the roads would be clogged by traffic, potentially causing more fatalities and interfering with emergency services.
“You put people on the road; that’s not cost-free. There’s traffic. There’s fatalities on the roads. So you want to be very careful about doing that,” DeSantis said, reiterating Guthrie’s point. “At the same time. If you have vulnerable populations in Pinellas County, where you have mobile homes, senior facilities, you want to make sure that they’re given safety. So those are all the factors that are looked at.”
DeSantis also stressed that even if residents find themselves outside of the cone of uncertainty, they should still make preparations and take the weather event very seriously.
To watch the full press conference, click here.