Florida prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Ian

Governor DeSantis warns of power outages, fuel shortages and possible evacuations.

The state of Florida has begun to receive the first rainfall caused by Hurricane Ian. The storm, which has reached Category 3, has already reached Cuba and is expected to continue to gain strength as it approaches the United States. Governor Ron DeSantis has warned the population to be prepared for power outages, fuel shortages and evacuations.

Preparatory evacuations have already begun in coastal areas. "This is not something to waste time on. If you can leave, do it now," said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. In addition, mandatory evacuations have been ordered in parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties and emergency shelters have been opened. The acting director of the National Hurricane Center predicted ''almost a worst-case scenario'' for the Tampa area.

"When we issue that mandatory evacuation, it means if you don't do it and ask for help, we won't go because we're not going to put our people in danger because you didn't listen to what we said to do," explained Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

Evacuation orders also went into effect for some areas of Charlotte County, as well as Sarasota, Hernando and Manatee Counties. Depending on Ian's evolution, it hasn't been ruled out that more areas will receive mandatory evacuation instructions.

The greatest fear at the moment is of the potential damage caused by the hurricane's heavy rains. Florida has areas prone to flooding, and those will be hit the hardest. "Those flooding concerns will occur again in the next 48 hours and will most likely be worse than before," warned Hernando County Administrator Jeff Rogers. "Community-wide, anyone living in manufactured homes or RV communities, we strongly encourage you to consider whether or not your manufactured homes can withstand the highest amount of winds for an extended period of time."

Rogers also warned that the county will experience considerable power loss Wednesday night through Thursday as the rain will bring down trees. The county administrator noted that this situation may continue for three to five days beginning Thursday.