Ian intensifies as a hurricane and travels toward Cuba and Florida.

Tropical Storm Ian has grown into a hurricane as it creeps closer to Cuba on a path that would carry it near Florida in the coming days, according to forecasters.

Ian intensifies as a hurricane and travels toward Cuba and Florida.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published this satellite view of Tropical Storm Ian over the central Caribbean on Saturday, September 24, 2022. Image Credit : AP  (NOAA via AP)

Ian was expected to swiftly gain strength and become into a major hurricane by Monday night.

As Ian was expected to intensify before hitting the western portion of the island on its approach to Florida, authorities in Cuba suspended classes in the province of Pinar del Rio and announced that they would start evacuations on Monday.

Grand Cayman, as well as the Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio, and Artemisa, were under a hurricane alert. According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, Ian will likely make landfall in Cuba's westernmost region late Monday or early Tuesday, not far from some of the nation's most renowned tobacco plantations. Before making landfall in Florida, potentially the state's western coast or Panhandle, around the middle of the week, it might intensify into a major hurricane.

Authorities in the far-western province of Pinar del Rio will start evacuating residents from dangerous locations early on Monday, according to Cuban state media source Granma. There have been no classes today.

According to the center, Ian was 90 miles (150 kilometers) southwest of Grand Cayman at 5 a.m. EDT on Monday and heading northwest at 13 mph (20 kph). 75 mph sustained winds were the highest (120 kph).

As Ian rumbled ominously across the Caribbean on a route approaching the state, many in Florida were keeping a wary watch on it.

Florida Gov. A state of emergency has been declared by Ron DeSantis, who also urged residents to prepare for the storm that is anticipated to batter large sections of the state with powerful rain, strong winds, and rising waves.

According to him, current forecasts show Ian heading near Florida's west coast or panhandle, however forecasters are still unclear of its exact location.

"We're going to continue keeping an eye on this storm's path. DeSantis cautioned that "even if you're not necessarily right in the line of the storm, there's going to be very broad ramifications throughout the state, so it's extremely essential to highlight the degree of uncertainty that still remains" during a press conference on Sunday.

Through midweek, the Florida Keys and the Florida peninsula may see flash floods and urban flooding, and later this week, significant rains may affect north Florida, the Florida panhandle, and the southeast United States.

The organization issued a tropical storm watch on Sunday evening for the lower Florida Keys and warned Floridians to prepare hurricane preparations and keep track of developments on the storm's changing course.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and the Department of Homeland Security have been given permission to coordinate disaster relief efforts and offer aid to save lives and property after President Joe Biden also declared an emergency. Due to the storm, the president canceled a trip to Florida that was scheduled on September 27.

In an interview on Sunday, John Cangialosi, a senior hurricane specialist at the Miami-based center, said it is unclear exactly where Ian would affect Florida the hardest. He advised locals to start preparing, including stocking up on supplies in case of power interruptions.

But for people in Florida, there is still time to be ready, Cangialosi added. "It's a hard thing to say remain tuned, but that's the proper message right now. It's still time to purchase your materials, however I'm not asking you to hang your shutters or anything like that just yet.

According to Florida's local media, certain locations where people moved to stock up on supplies before the hurricane had a consumer rush on water, generators, and other supplies.

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