Early on Sept. 27, Hurricane Ian strengthened to a major Category 3 storm as it made landfall in western Cuba, just southwest of the town of La Coloma in the Pinar Del Río province.
According to the National Hurricane Centre, Ian slammed into Cuba around 4:30 a.m. ET with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour. Cuban authorities have said that hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated, and both emergency and medical personnel have been deployed.
On Sept. 26, Ian passed by the nearby Cayman Islands with no reports of any major damage. Premier Wayne Panton said the British territory was, “very fortunate to have been spared the worst of a potentially very serious storm.”
Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a statewide emergency with a direct hit on Tampa Bay forecast as soon as Sept. 28.
“That’s going to cause a huge amount of storm surge. You’re going to have flood events. You’re going to have a lot of different impacts,” DeSantis said.
“This storm is trending to slow down, which means it could potentially sit on top of us for 47 hours,” said Cathie Perkins, director of Pinellas County Emergency Management. “That’s a lot of rain, and it’s not going to be able to drain out quickly.”