Hurricane Ian hits Cuba, as Florida prepares

St.Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch speaks during a news conference on Monday.
St.Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch speaks during a news conference on Monday. (Pinellas seeds)

Pinellas County, Florida officials are warning residents of high tides and wind effects from Hurricane Ian.

“This could be the storm we hope will never reach our shores,” St.Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch said at a news conference Monday.

At a news conference Monday, Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton said most roads are likely to see Hurricane Ian make landfall in Pinellas County in the next 48 hours. He said that the high tides will be huge and the effects of the wind will be felt before the eyes.

Burton said storm surges would be strong enough to topple a house, tear off roofs, and topple power lines and trees.

Cathie Perkins, Pinellas County Emergency Management Director, said Hurricane Ian is on a slowing down trend and will likely stay in Pinellas County for 47 hours.

Officials had planned for a Category 3 storm to make landfall and expect 10 to 15 inches of rain, Perkins added.

The county is planning to evacuate due to concerns about high tides, Perkins said.

Perkins warned people to check their evacuation zones because evacuation zones were changed in 2022 and “it changed for a large number of people in the county,” Perkins added.

Officials are opening emergency shelters today at 6 p.m. and more will open tomorrow, Perkins said.

Officials are ordering long-term care facilities to evacuate today, and some hospitals have already begun evacuating, Perkins added.

Pinellas County, which is part of the Tampa Bay area, includes Clearwater and St. Petersburg, Florida.

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