Thousands Of Residents Flee South Florida As Hurricane Ian Bears Down | Eastern North Carolina Now | Tens of thousands of South Florida residents under mandatory evacuations packed up and hit the interstate highways Tuesday as Hurricane Ian continued to advance toward the coast.

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    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Brandon Drey.

    Tens of thousands of South Florida residents under mandatory evacuations packed up and hit the interstate highways Tuesday as Hurricane Ian continued to advance toward the coast.

    During a press conference on Tuesday morning, Governor Ron DeSantis shared the update that urged Floridians to take necessary precautions as Ian could strike the Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane.

    "There's still uncertainty about with where that exact landfall will be, but just understand the impacts are going to be far, far broader than just where the eye of the storm happens to make landfall," DeSantis said. "When you have 5 to 10 feet of storm surge, that is not something you want to be a part of - Mother Nature is a very fearsome adversary, so please heed those warnings."

    With water pouring over sea walls in Key West, high wind gusts up to 70 mph, and rows of cars causing traffic jams for up to 40 minutes before heading out of Tampa Bay, residents brace for impact as Ian nears landfall as a Category 3 storm.

    The National Weather Service said that storm winds are expected to strengthen Tuesday night in the Florida Keys with the storm surging later this week.

    "After the winds subside, there will still be strong rain squalls throughout the Florida Keys, and that's when the water is expected to rise," said Jon Rizzo, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service-Key West. "We are expecting water to reach its peak on Thursday and continue to flood the streets and the bay side all the way through Friday."

    WESH 2 reports that by 5 p.m., Ian reached maximum winds of 120 miles per hour just 230 miles south of Sarasota, Florida, and 50 miles south-southwest of the Dry Tortugas.

    Meteorologists measured the large, powerful system at 500 miles wide with a well-defined eye.

    Daytona City business owners severely impacted during Hurricane Irma in 2017 began boarding their windows and placing sandbags near entrances.

    As of Tuesday morning, mandatory evacuation orders had been announced for Charlotte, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties. The areas include parts of Tampa, the largest city in the announced counties, and other highly-populated coastal locations.

    Local media reports meteorologists are comparing Ian to Hurricane Charley in 2004, a major Category 4 hurricane that showed a similar projected path and was recorded as one of the strongest hurricanes ever to devastate the United States.

    On Saturday, the governor expanded a state of emergency to all 67 Florida counties in preparation for Ian. The declaration has suspended all tolls in the Tampa Bay area to help people more quickly evacuate low-lying areas.

    President Joe Biden also approved an emergency declaration for Florida on Saturday ahead of the growing hurricane threat.

    Hurricane Ian made landfall over Cuba on Monday on its path toward Florida. Authorities have reportedly evacuated more than 50,000 people, with 55 shelters set up across the island nation.

    Dillon Burroughs contributed to this report.
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