Ian reaches hurricane strength as Florida prepares for the powerful storm

GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis over the weekend declared a state of emergency as residents started waiting in line to buy essentials.

Updated: September 26, 2022 - 8:40am

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Hurricane Ian on Monday morning neared the Cayman Islands and Cuba, on a track to hit Florida as a major hurricane later this week.

Florida officials and residents are already preparing for the storm – with GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis over the weekend declaring a state of emergency as Floridians began waiting in line for such essentials as food and bottled water.

Ian is forecast to intensify and become a major hurricane as soon as Monday evening and strengthen into Category 4 hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Associated Press.

The storm is now project to his Florida's west central coast Wednesday.

At 8 a.m. Eastern time Monday, Ian had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A hurricane watch has already been issued for Florida’s central western coast, which including the Tampa Bay area.

Classes in the region have been canceled through Thursday to make schools ready to serve as evacuation shelters.

President Biden also has declared an emergency, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide assistance to protect lives and property and to coordinate disaster relief. Biden has also postponed his scheduled trip Tuesday to Florida because of the storm, the wire service also reports

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