With much of Florida in the "cone of concern" Friday for a tropical storm that was expected to eventually become a hurricane, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency as state and local leaders were urging residents to begin preparations.
Tropical Depression Nine strengthened to Tropical Storm Ian Friday night and could possibly become a major hurricane, forecasters said.
Although the track of the storm remained uncertain, it was expected to impact the state in one form or another, with rain or wind or both.
HURRICANE SEASON 2022
DeSantis declared the state of emergency for 24 counties that were in the potential path, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach.
DeSantis also requested a federal pre-landfall Emergency Declaration in anticipation of impacts from the storm.
"This declaration will make available important resources and support, as well as free up funding sources for emergency protective measures. Under this emergency order, members of the Florida National Guard will be activated and on standby awaiting orders," DeSantis said in a statement. "This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations. We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm."
At a news conference Friday, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said it was time to make preparations.
"No cause for panic but we want everyone to be prepared," Levine Cava said at the briefing. "Now is the time to make sure that you have a hurricane plan in place."
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez also spoke about preparedness at a briefing Friday afternoon.
"As Miamians, we know that being prepared is essential," Suarez said. "We want you to make sure you go through your hurricane supplies."
The Florida Division of Emergency Management said Friday that they were monitoring the system and also urged residents to prepare.
"The Division is working closely with our federal, state and local partners to ensure we are prepared to provide assistance to impacted areas if Tropical Depression Nine makes landfall in Florida next week,” Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said in a statement. “It is critical that Floridians remain vigilant and prepared – it only takes one storm to cause costly or irreversible damage to your home or business."
National Weather Service Meteorologist Kelly Godsey said the storm could reach the Gulf of Mexico by late Monday or early Tuesday.
"It’s a great time to take advantage of the quiet weather that is ongoing now, before any tropical systems get here, to make sure that you have supplies for yourself, for your family," Godsey said. "Know what you are going to do if the storm happens to approach your area."
Officials with the American Red Cross South Florida Region said they are also preparing in advance of impacts.
"Our teams are coordinating with partners, reviewing our response plans, mobilizing volunteers, and preparing supplies, to be ready to provide aid, as needed," Red Cross South Florida CEO Josett Valdez said. "And we urge our neighbors to monitor the storm closely and take the time to prepare."