Director of the National Hurricane Center called Ian’s forecast a “near worst-case scenario” for the Tampa area.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. (CNN)

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor held a news conference Monday afternoon to address the city’s preparations for Hurricane Ian.

Castor spoke of the potential risks of storm surge, saying “we are looking at the possibility of a 10 to 15 foot high tide.”

“Obviously, that would be devastating for our community,” said Castor.

Castor advised residents to heed the warnings and not “make last-minute decisions”.

“We can never accurately predict these storms. It’s mother nature, and the one winning factor 100% of the time is mother nature,” said Castor.

Castor added: “Right now, the prediction is that we will be impacted by Hurricane Ian.

Earlier in the day, evacuation orders were announced for parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Castor says 49 shelters are open, including some that accept pets and others with accommodations residents with special needs.

“The city of Tampa is prepared, and we want to make sure that all of our citizens are prepared,” Castor said.

Castor advises the public to stay informed by signing up for update notifications because “things can change by the minute.”

On Monday, the City of Tampa Citizen Information Line was activated to help residents answer “urgent questions about the storm.” Residents may call the center for immediate assistance until 8 p.m. ET on Monday and other days from 8 a.m. ET until midnight until further notice.

“This is going to be a storm like we’ve never seen in the past,” Castor said, adding, “I want people to understand the gravity of the situation.”

“We are not trying to cause fear. Castor said.

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