Hurricane Ian: Category 3 storm takes aim at Florida coast

Ian remained a major hurricane Tuesday as it emerged into the Gulf of Mexico after earlier making landfall near La Coloma, Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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Here are the latest updates for Tuesday, Sept. 27:

Conditions to deteriorate across central and south Florida Tuesday night

Update 11:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: The National Weather Service Tuesday evening said that tropical storm conditions are expected Wednesday morning and overnight with devastating wind damage. NWS is urging residents to rush to prepare.

Residents should expect heavy rainfall across the peninsula in Florida through Thursday. Flooding is expected across central Florida, northern Florida, southern Florida, southeastern Georgia and along the coast of South Carolina, according to NWS.

NWS also said that conditions are expected to continue to deteriorate across central and south Florida overnight.

Gov. DeSantis says Hurricane Ian will be a Category 4 hurricane when it hits landfall

Update 11:08 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Gov. DeSantis said at an 11 p.m. EDT press conference that Hurricane Ian is expected to Florida landfall Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday evening. He is anticipating that Ian will become a Category 4 hurricane when it hits landfall.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management on Twitter said that parts of south and central Florida are experiencing tornado watches and warnings. In a press conference along with Gov. DeSantis, FLSERT said that tropical tornadoes can happen quickly.

Eye of Ian moving over the Dry Tortugas

Update 10:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: According to the National Hurricane Center, a sustained wind of 52 miles per hour with a gust of 66 miles per hour was recently reported at the Key West International Airport.

NHC also reported that the eye of Hurricane Ian as of 10 p.m. EDT is over the Dry Tortugas.

Tornado damages planes, hangar at North Perry Airport

Update 9:48 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Twitter confirmed that a tornado passed over their general aviation reliever at North Perry Airport near Pembroke Pines. Multiple small plans and some hangars sustained damage. As a precaution, the North Perry Airport will close temporarily until further notice.

Cuba without power island wide

Update 9:26 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: The New York Times reported that after Hurricane Ian hit Cuba, the island has been without power. The Ministry of Mines and Energy said according to the NYT that the power company is working to restore power after the power grid collapsed.

According to The Associated Press, Cuba’s Electronic Union said in a statement that about 11 million people are without power between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. Crews are working to slowly restore what they can.

Tornado warnings issued for parts of Florida

Update 9:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: The National Weather Service in Miami reported that tornado warnings have been issued for Boca Raton, Atlantis, Golf, Collier, and Hendry until at least 9:45 p.m. EST.

President Biden and Governor DeSantis spoke about Hurricane Ian

Update 9:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed on Twitter that President Biden and Governor DeSantis spoke about the next steps for the federal government to help with the hurricane following DeSantis’ press conference earlier Tuesday evening.

Tolls are suspended on central Florida roads to prepare for Hurricane Ian

Update 8:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Seminole County Florida officials on released a statement Tuesday evening that says tolls have been suspended on central Florida roads until further notice.

SMC said it will affect the areas below:

  • Apopka Expressway
  • Beachline Expressway
  • Central FL Greenway
  • East-West Expressway
  • Florida’s Turnpike Mainline
  • Goldenrod Road Extension
  • I-4 Express Lanes
  • Osceola Parkway Poinciana Parkway
  • Seminole Expressway
  • Southern Connector Extension
  • SR 453, Wekiva Parkway
  • Western Beltway

Parkland High School shooting trial pauses due to the hurricane

Update 8:35 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: CNN reported that Hurricane Ian has caused the Broward County Courthouse to close Wednesday and Thursday. This is the same courthouse where the penalty trial is taking place for Nikolas Cruz.

Cruz pleaded guilty last October to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida back on February 14, 2018, according to CNN.

Broward County Clerk of Courts released a statement about the closure of all Seventeenth Judicial Circuit and Broward County courts. They said that the courthouse is planning to go back to normal operations on Friday.

U.S. Navy Region Southeast authorizes evacuation of non-essential active duty military

Update 8:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Commander Navy Region Southeast, Rear Admiral Wes. R. McCall on Tuesday has authorized the evacuation of non-essential active duty military, civilian employees, drilling reservists and authorized dependents living in Florida for certain counties. Those counties are Charlotte, Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough Lee, Levy, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota.

McCall said that 100 miles of Melbourne, Florida, has been designated as a safe haven.

Parts of southern Florida seeing tornadoes

Update 7:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: According to the National Weather Service, parts of southern Florida are seeing the production of tornadoes. NWS said if you get a tornado warning, take shelter as soon as possible.

Port closures caused cruise lines to cancel trips due to Hurricane Ian

Update 7:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Both Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line have announced changes due to the impact of Hurricane Ian.

In a statement from Carnival Cruise Line, the Port of Tampa Bay and Port of Jacksonville have both been closed including two trips that have been canceled. Those trips were both supposed to take off on Thursday. Carnival said that guests will get a full refund plus 25% off future cruise credit.

“Carnival Cruise Line’s Fleet Operations team in Miami is continuing to closely monitor Hurricane Ian and its potential impact on current itineraries. Our thoughts are with our guests and local residents who are affected by the storm,” said Carnival. Carnival also said that other trips have been adjusted as a result of the hurricane too.

Norwegian Cruise Line on Tuesday evening said in a statement that some of their upcoming trips including their 10-day Caribbean voyage which was to take off on Thursday have been canceled. They also said that all guests who have been impacted have been contacted.

“The safety and security of our guests, crew and communities we visit is always our number one priority. We are monitoring the projected path of Hurricane Ian in the Caribbean and modifying itineraries as needed,” said Norwegian.

Norwegian’s 8-day Western Caribbean voyage that took off on September 25 has been adjusted to an eastern Caribbean sailing.

Wind picking up near the Key West International Airport

Update 6:42 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: According to the National Hurricane Center, the Key West International Airport recently reported a sustained wind of about 41 miles per hour including a gust up to 60 miles per hour.

Florida Gov. DeSantis provides Hurricane Ian update

Update 6:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Gov. DeSantis provided an update on the hurricane in a news conference stating that over 2.5 million people in Florida have been placed under some form of evacuation order with 1.75 at least under mandatory evacuation orders.

DeSantis also said that Ian expected to hit land near the Charlotte-Sarasota County border. It will then continue to hit other parts of the state based on the track it’s going.

“This thing is the real deal. It is a major, major storm,” said DeSantis.

DeSantis also said at least 56 school closures have been announced and roughly about 5,000 National Guard troopers have been activated. Plus, 30,000 linemen have been staged for power restoration.

DeSantis mentioned once the hurricane hits land in Florida, it will start to weaken and will start moving slowly.

Hurricane Ian’s wind speed picks up

Update 5:48 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: The National Weather Service said that per the National Hurricane Center, Ian now has a maximum sustained wind speed of 120 miles per hour.

Hurricane warning extended into southwestern Florida

Update 5:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: The National Hurricane Center said that catastrophic winds and flooding are expected with Hurricane Ian into the Florida Peninsula in the latest update.

Starting Wednesday morning, southwest and central Florida will begin seeing hurricane-force winds. Tropical storm conditions are expected overnight, said NHC.

NHC is urging residents from Naples to the Sarasota region who face the highest risk to listen to local officials and follow evacuation orders.

Heavy rainfall is expected along most of the Florida peninsula over the next few days. NHC said flooding is also expected.

Disney World announces closures for Wednesday and Thursday

Update 4:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Disney Parks announced Tuesday that the theme parks and water parks will be closed on both Wednesday and Thursday.

>> How many times have Walt Disney World, Disneyland closed?

Universal Orlando Resort theme parks to close

Update 4:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Universal Orlando Resort theme parks and CityWalk announced Tuesday afternoon that they will be closing Wednesday and Thursday due to the hurricane. They are hoping to reopen by Friday if conditions improve.

“Our hotels are currently at full capacity and will remain operational as they take care of our guests,” said Universal Orlando Resort.

President Biden approves Federal Emergency Declaration

Update 4:25 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: President Joe Biden said he approved a Federal Emergency Declaration and has worked with Administrator Criswell to make sure federal support that is available is “surged to Florida.”

“I encourage Florida families to heed evacuation orders,” said Biden.

Hurricane Ian about 250 miles south of Sarasota, Florida

Update 4:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Hurricane Ian was churning in the Gulf of Mexico about 250 miles south of Sarasota, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm maintained Category 3 strength, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph.

Georgia governor declares State of Emergency

Update 3:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a statewide State of Emergency on Tuesday as Hurricane Ian continued to spin in the Gulf of Mexico, WSB-TV reported.

“Damaging winds will be possible statewide, even well away from the center of the storm, and downed trees and powerlines are possible statewide on Friday and Saturday,” the governor said in a statement obtained by WSB. “Widespread rainfall of 2 to 4 inches is also possible statewide, with 4 to 6 inches or more forecast in Southeast Georgia. Flash flooding, power outages, and other dangerous situations are possible, especially in Southeast Georgia.”

Florida amusement parks, landmarks close in anticipation of Ian

Update 3:35 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Several theme parks in Florida, including Legoland Florida and SeaWorld Orlando, announced closures on Wednesday as Hurricane Ian continued to churn toward the western coast of the state, WFTV reported.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will also close on Thursday, according to the news station.

Hurricane Ian continues to churn toward Florida

Update 3:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Ian maintained strength on Tuesday after moving 10 miles closer to Sarasota, Florida.

At 3 p.m., the storm was about 255 miles south of Sarasota and moving north at 10 mph with maximum sustained winds at 120 mph.

Orlando Airport suspends commercial flights

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Officials at Orlando International Airport on Tuesday announced that they are ceasing commercial operations beginning at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday due to the threat of Hurricane Ian.

Hurricane Ian gains strength

Update 2:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Hurricane Ian grew in strength Tuesday, with maximum sustained winds measured at 120 mph on Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph three hours earlier, forecasters said.

In a 2 p.m. advisory, officials said Ian was about 265 miles south of Sarasota, Florida, and moving north at 10 mph.

Video shows the eye of Hurricane Ian

Update 1:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Video from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed officials flying into the eye of Hurricane Ian on Tuesday.

Hurricane Ian crawls toward the Florida coast

Update 1:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Hurricane Ian maintained strength on Tuesday afternoon as it continued to move toward Florida at 10 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm was about 280 miles south-southwest of Sarasota as of 1 p.m., forecasters said.

Biden mobilizes federal government to aid in response to Hurricane Ian

Update 12:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: President Joe Biden has pledged to provide federal assistance to aid in the response to Hurricane Ian.

“The president has mobilized the full force of the United States government to support the people of Florida as they prepare for the storm,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, officials said Biden spoke with the mayors of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater to talk about preparations ahead of the hurricane’s arrival on the Florida coast.

Effects of Ian likely to be felt ‘for a very long time,’ FEMA administrator says

Update 12:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said that officials expect Hurricane Ian to have wide effects on both of Florida’s coasts, with storm surge posing a strong threat.

The state will also see heavy rainfall, with some areas predicted to see as many as 25 inches of rain.

“By the time (Ian) reaches the shores of Florida, the storm is going to slow down to approximately 5 mph, and this is significant because what this means is that Floridians are going to experience the impacts from this storm for a very long time,” she said at a news conference Tuesday.

Criswell and President Joe Biden have spoken with officials in Florida ahead of the storm’s arrival on the coast. Federal authorities are preparing to assist in the response to Ian.

Florida officials urge people to evacuate if ordered

Update 12:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Officials urged people to heed evacuation orders ahead of Hurricane Ian.

Ed McCrane, emergency management director for Sarasota County, said emergency evacuation centers should be a last resort for Floridians, calling them “a life boat.”

“You should go to friends or family if you can,” he said. “You don’t have to go hundreds of miles, you can go tens of miles.”

McCrane recommended that people who utilize the emergency evacuation centers eat before going and bring their emergency kits, including bedding, as well as a flashlight and toiletries. Pets are allowed at the centers.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for parts of Charlotte, Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties.

Hurricane Ian moves off Cuba, into Gulf of Mexico

Update 11:05 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Hurricane Ian weakened slightly Tuesday as it moved off Cuba and into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, though it remained a Category 3 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.

In an 11 a.m. advisory, forecasters said the storm had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, down from the 125 mph winds recorded three hours earlier. The storm is about 305 miles south-southwest of Sarasota, Florida, officials said.

Florida officials urge locals to prepare for storm

Update 10:25 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Officials emphasized Tuesday that Florida residents should prepare for impacts expected as Hurricane Ian churns toward the Florida coast, WFTV reported.

“You still have time today to execute what you need to do,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference. Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, urged people to clean their yards and bring in any loose items ahead of expected strong winds.

Parts of Manatee County placed under evacuation orders

Update 10 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Parts of Manatee County have now been placed under mandatory evacuation orders due to the expected impacts of Hurricane Ian.

Mandatory evacuation orders have also been issued in parts of Charlotte, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Electricity could go out across Florida due to Hurricane Ian

Update 9:40 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said that residents can expect power to go out statewide due to the impacts of Hurricane Ian. He urged people to coordinate communication plans with their families.

“During previous hurricanes, the cell towers did go down,” he said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “We expect them to go down in this particular event.”

Citing the National Hurricane Center, Guthrie said that Ian will likely make landfall in Venice in 35 hours with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph.

“Tampa Bay region, you are not out of the woods yet,” he warned. “There is still going to be a storm surge event in the Tampa Bay region. ... You need to continue to heed the warnings that are in place for Pinellas, Tampa, Manatee (and) Hillsborough. Do not return yet, if you have evacuated.”

Hurricane Ian remains a ‘well-defined’ hurricane, NHC says

Update 9:20 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Satellite images show that Hurricane Ian remains a “well-defined” hurricane as it begins to move off Cuba, with an eye clearly visible from infrared imagery, officials with the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday.

“As it starts to pull off of Cuba some additional strengthening is possible, so it’s really imperative that people start taking this seriously and start heeding evacuation orders,” acting NHC Director Jamie Rhome said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that about 2.5 million Floridians were under evacuation orders Tuesday morning amid the threat of catastrophic flooding and storm surge brought by Ian.

Florida Gov. DeSantis: ‘There will be catastrophic flooding’

Update 9:15 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned people along Florida’s Gulf Coast to be prepared for the expected impacts of Hurricane Ian.

“In some where there will be catastrophic flooding and life-threatening storm surge,” he said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “What we have here is really historic storm surge and flooding potential.”

The storm is expected to make landfall south of Tampa Bay in the Sarasota area on Wednesday, though the governor stressed that there remains “uncertainty with where the exact landfall will be.”

Flight disruptions expected at Orlando International Airport

Update 8:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Officials were finalizing plans Tuesday for Orlando International Airport as airport closures in the Tampa area are expected to bring more travelers to Orlando ahead of Hurricane Ian, according to WFTV.

The news station reported that officials don’t plan to shut down Orlando International Airport, although they could halt flights depending on conditions.

Hurricane continues to batter western Cuba

Update 8:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Hurricane Ian is continuing to batter western Cuba with high winds and life-threatening storm surges, the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday morning.

In its 8 a.m. EDT advisory, the agency said the Category 3 storm, which had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, was about 10 miles north-northeast of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, and 130 miles south-southwest of the Dry Tortugas. It was moving north at 12 mph.

Florida residents prepare for the storm

Update 7:55 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Florida residents are preparing ahead of Hurricane Ian’s expected arrival. Photographers captured images of people collecting bags of sand, boarding up windows and walking through supermarkets with empty shelves. Watch the video below to learn more:

Florida activates price-gouging hotline

Update 6:30 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Florida has activated its price-gouging hotline as Hurricane Ian continues to churn toward the state, according to WFTV.

If you believe a business has increased its prices for items such as gas, food, water, ice or lodging, you can file a complaint online or by calling 1-866-9-NO-SCAM, state officials said.

Disney World announces temporary resort closures

Update 6 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: As Hurricane Ian approaches Florida, some of the state’s largest tourist destinations are preparing for the storm’s potential impact, according to WFTV.

Walt Disney World said on its website that the following resorts will temporarily close Wednesday through Friday due to weather:

  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • The Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

The company said it is contacting guests whose reservations may be affected, WFTV reported.

As of Monday evening, Disney theme parks were “operating under normal conditions,” the parks’ website said; however, Typhoon Lagoon, Winter Summerland Miniature Golf and Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf are slated to close Wednesday and Thursday.

For more information about the closures, visit WFTV.com.

Hurricane continues to move over western Cuba

Update 5 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Hurricane Ian is moving over western Cuba, bringing significant wind and storm surge impacts to the area, the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday morning.

In its 5 a.m. EDT advisory, the agency said the Category 3 storm, which had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, was about 5 miles south of the city of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, and 175 miles south-southwest of the Dry Tortugas. It was moving north at 12 mph.

Officials have extended a hurricane warning southward along Florida’s west coast to Bonita Beach, the agency said. Tropical storm warnings also have been issued for the Middle Florida Keys from the Channel 5 Bridge westward to the Seven Mile Bridge; Florida’s west coast from the Anclote River northward to the Suwannee River; and Florida’s east coast from Jupiter Inlet to the Volusia-Brevard County line, including Lake Okeechobee. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Florida’s southeast coast from Deerfield Beach northward to Jupiter Inlet, according to the advisory.

Maximum sustained winds of 125 mph reported during Cuba landfall

Update 4:33 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: The center of Hurricane Ian has made landfall over western Cuba, the National Hurricane Center confirmed early Tuesday.

In a 4:30 a.m. EDT update, the agency said the Category 3 storm, which had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, made landfall just southwest of La Coloma in Cuba’s Pinar Del Rio province.

The storm is about 15 miles south of the city of Pinar Del Rio and 80 miles east-northeast of Cuba’s western tip. It is moving north at 12 mph, the agency said.

Hurricane makes landfall near La Coloma, Cuba

Update 4:15 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Hurricane Ian has made landfall as a Category 3 storm near La Coloma, Cuba, according to The New York Times and the AFP news agency.

Storm becomes major hurricane

Update 2:40 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Ian has strengthened into a major hurricane and is expected to make landfall over western Cuba soon, the National Hurricane Center said early Tuesday.

In a 2:30 a.m. EDT update, the agency said the Category 3 storm, which had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, was about 35 miles south of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, and 85 miles east of Cuba’s western tip. It was moving north-northwest at 13 mph.

Eyewall nears coast of western Cuba

Update 2 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: The eyewall of Hurricane Ian is nearing the coast of western Cuba and is expected to cause “significant wind and storm surge impacts” there this morning, the National Hurricane Center said early Tuesday.

In its 2 a.m. EDT advisory, the agency said the Category 2 storm, which had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, was about 50 miles south of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, and 85 miles east of Cuba’s western tip. It was moving north-northwest at 13 mph.

Wind, storm surge impacts expected in western Cuba ‘very soon’

Update 1 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: A strengthening Hurricane Ian is expected to bring strong winds, flash floods and possible mudslides to parts of Cuba starting overnight through Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said late Monday.

In its 11 p.m. EDT advisory, the agency said the Category 2 storm is “expected to become a major hurricane overnight or early Tuesday” and cause “significant wind and storm surge impacts” in western Cuba “very soon.”

As of late Monday, Ian had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph and was about 105 miles east-southeast of Cuba’s western tip, the agency said. The storm was moving north-northwest at 13 mph.

The Associated Press, WFTV.com and ActionNewsJax.com contributed to this report.