- The Washington Times - Monday, September 26, 2022

Hurricane Ian strengthened overnight, making Florida uneasy as the storm took an uncertain path toward its western coast.

The National Hurricane Center said Ian, which sustained winds of at least 75 mph, is expected to produce heavy rainfall, flash floods and mudslides in Jamaica and Cuba before potential flooding across the Florida Keys and Florida’s western side and panhandle by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Ian is expected to be a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico during the middle of this week, but uncertainty in the track and intensity forecasts remains higher than usual,” the center wrote late Sunday.

The center said Floridians should “ensure they have their hurricane plan in place.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican facing reelection in November, urged residents to prepare for power outages and damage.

“Make preparations now,” Mr. DeSantis said Sunday. “The things that you should be prepared with are things like food, water, batteries, medicine, fuel.”

Mr. DeSantis on Friday declared a state of emergency and put the National Guard on standby ahead of potential landfall this week.

President Biden also declared an emergency on Friday so that federal aid can supplement state and local efforts to respond to the storm.

The approaching hurricane forced Mr. Biden to cancel a scheduled appearance in Orlando on Tuesday for a Democratic National Committee rally. The event would have allowed Mr. Biden to take digs at Mr. DeSantis in support of former Rep. Charlie Crist, the Democratic nominee for governor.

Hurricane Ian could strike the state on that day and the White House’s “week ahead” schedule, released late Sunday, did not include the trip.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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