ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Hurricane Ian continues to strengthen and is now a major Category 3 hurricane. It made its first landfall around 4:30 a.m. over western Cuba, the National Hurricane Center said.
As the current track stands, Ian is forecast to approach the west coast of Florida as a major hurricane and by Wednesday night, the storm will be within the hurricane warning areas.
Hurricane and storm surge warnings are in effect for Tampa Bay ahead of increasingly likely impacts from Hurricane Ian. Significant impacts are anticipated — including major storm surge, damaging winds and flooding rainfall.
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We will have live updates throughout the day on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
11:47 p.m.: Gov. Ron DeSantis will hold a news conference in Tallahassee on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
10:50 p.m.: Power outages have been reported in Manatee County as Hurricane Ian churns closer to the Florida coast. 2,185 homes are without power at this time, Peace River Electric Cooperative says. Crews are working to restore power by 1 a.m.
9:32 p.m.: Seminole Hard Rock Casino Tampa will close at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28. For guests, the hotel will remain open with limited guest services.
9:31 p.m.: Tampa VA main Hospital specialty clinics, outpatient clinics and services will be suspended from Wednesday, Sept. 28, through Thursday, Sept. 29, Veterans Hospital Tampa announced. Elective surgeries and procedures during this time period will also be suspended.
The emergency department and inpatient services will remain open.
8:49 p.m.: GoPasco County Public Transportation will suspend all fixed-route bus services throughout the county beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28 through Thursday, Sept. 29. This closure also includes services to evacuation shelters, the county announced. Bus services could resume on Friday, Sept. 30, depending on weather and safe road conditions.
8:47 p.m.: A base evacuation has been issued at MacDill Air Force Base requiring all personnel off the installation, MacDill said in a news release. The base will remain closed until the storm passes and Col. Adam Bingham announces an all-clear and return to base.
8:33 p.m.: As Hillsborough County residents brace for Hurricane Ian, the county announced there is no curfew. However, residents are encouraged to follow orders to relocate to a safer area as quickly as possible.
8:00 p.m.: Sarasota Emergency management leaders are concerned over how few people have shown up at shelters Tuesday night. So far, there are 1,700 people in shelters, but the county has the capacity for around 24,000 people. County leaders are urging people to get out of evacuation zones before it’s too late.
7:52 p.m.: The U.S. Postal Service is temporarily suspending delivery and retail operations in central and southwest Florida ahead of Hurricane Ian's arrival. Coastal counties and areas in and around St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Tampa, Brandon, Lake Wales, Bartow, Bradenton, Sarasota and Brooksville will not be receiving mail until it's safe to do so, USPS says.
7:02 p.m.: Verizon announced it will be providing relief for its customers along the west coast of Florida impacted by Hurricane Ian. Calls, texts and data will be unlimited from Sept. 28 through Oct. 4. Click here to see which counties are included in the offer.
6:47 p.m.: Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to hold a news conference at 11 p.m. with the director of Florida Disaster Emergency Management and the secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation. The governor's office continues to monitor conditions as Florida braces for Hurricane Ian.
6:30 p.m.: Citrus County residents are urged to shelter in place by Wednesday afternoon, the county said. The county is expecting potentially catastrophic rainfall with this storm.
6:24 p.m.: The city of Clearwater declared a local state of emergency as they prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Ian.
5:28 p.m.: Bridge closures are getting underway in Sarasota, the city said in a tweet. Both the Siesta and Ringling Causeway bridges will completely close by 8 p.m. Cars will not be able to pass after then.
5 p.m.: Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort announced Tuesday that their theme parks and water parks will be closed on Wednesday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Sept. 29.
In addition, SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Discovery Cove and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will also close through Thursday to prepare for the storm's impact.
4:57 p.m.: Pinellas County leaders sent out an alert urging residents to shelter in place by no later than midnight. Tropical force winds could create hazardous driving conditions, the county says.
4:51 p.m.: Pinellas County said deputies will close access to the barrier
islands from Tierra Verde to the Dunedin Causeway at 12 a.m. Wednesday (midnight). Residents will still be allowed to evacuate, but no one will be allowed to re-enter until after the storm passes.
3:50 p.m.: Waste Management in Citrus County will suspend collection services beginning Wednesday, Sept. 28, through Thursday, Sept. 29.
The county said the only exception is the city of Inverness on Wednesday will pick up recycling and yard waste. That service won't be impacted, the county says.
3:35 p.m.: Bayfront Health St. Peterburg announced it will close its emergency room in Pinellas Park at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Elective surgeries and procedures at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg facilities scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday will also be canceled.
3:06 p.m.: Lakeland Regional Health announced it will cancel elective procedures and physician office visits, including urgent care, on Wednesday and Thursday.
2 p.m.: During an afternoon news conference, Manatee County Administrator Dr. Scott Hopes announced that water and sewer services to islands including Anna Maria Island will be shut off at sundown Tuesday.
1:37 p.m.: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) has announced that all fixed route services will be suspended starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in order to help emergency operations with evacuations.
PSTA says it will continue helping with evacuations until winds reach a sustained speed of 40 miles per hour.
12:50 p.m.: After distributing more than 200,000 sandbags, Manatee County announced that sandbag supplies have been exhausted at all locations. All county sandbags sites are now closed.
12:39 p.m.: Officials at AdventHealth North Pinellas in Tarpon Springs are taking all team members and patients to AdventHealth sister facilities throughout the Tampa Bay region ahead of Hurricane Ian. All patients along with their families were notified of the change of location.
As everyone is being evacuated, the hospital will also have to cancel all procedures including surgeries, imaging and rehab.
The hospital is in the mandatory evacuation zone in Pinellas County. Everyone will be transported back to AdventHealth North Pinellas once it's safe.
12:09 p.m.: Sarasota leaders have issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents living in Level B. Levels A and B are urged to get out of harm's way from Hurricane Ian.
11:50 a.m.: During a news conference, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor left in a hurry after receiving a call from President Joe Biden. After returning, she said the president wanted to ensure the city had all the resources needed and wished everyone the best.
Castor also warned residents of the abundance of water that will come as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in Florida.
The Tampa Police Department is also reaching out to the community to help people find proper shelter if needed. Police Chief Mary O'Connor advises people to not drive on roads during the storm as police officers won't be able to get to them during high winds.
City leaders reinforced information on resources for residents in the Tampa Bay area ahead of incoming Hurricane Ian.
10:47 a.m.: Hernando County issued a mandatory evacuation Tuesday morning for everyone in evacuation Zones A, B and C. This includes all areas west of U.S. Highway 19.
All residents living in coastal and low-lying areas, as well as manufactured homes county-wide, are included, as well.
10:36 a.m.: Citrus County has issued a mandatory evacuation for residents living in Zone A. This zone includes all low-lying areas west of U.S. Highway 19 along with some areas east of the highway.
"All other areas are advised to voluntary evacuate, especially those citizens living in mobile homes, manufactured homes, and recreational vehicles throughout the county," county leaders explain.
10:17 a.m.: The Sarasota Bradenton International Airport will close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27. All air traffic and the terminal will be locked and secured. SRQ reminds the public that it is not a shelter.
10:11 a.m.: Levels A and B in Manatee County are now officially under a mandatory evacuation order following the latest forecasts of Hurricane Ian.
County leaders say residents living in evacuation Level C are "encouraged to find shelter further inland."
10:05 a.m.: Hillsborough County leaders announce mandatory Zone B evacuation effective noon Tuesday. They are urging people to get to safety by this evening.
9:45 a.m.: Pasco County announced on Twitter it is temporarily out of sandbags at all locations. While sand is still available, county leaders are working to get more sandbags.
Residents are asked to bring their own shovels and bags.
9:18 a.m.: Sarasota County sent out a clarification on Twitter that water will be shut off between 5-7 p.m. Tuesday for Siesta Key and Casey Key. The water won't return until the storm passes, county leaders explain.
9:07 a.m.: Hillsborough County leaders tweeted out that sandbag locations are at capacity as of Tuesday morning.
"If you are not currently in a line please do not drive to a site," the tweet read.
9 a.m.: Leaders at Tampa International Airport held a news conference confirming the airport will be closing by 5 p.m. Tuesday. TPA CEO Joe Lopano says this means there will be no more commercial flights past that time, with airlines already canceling and moving planes to different locations.
"You should always check before you come out here in case your flights been canceled," Lopano said.
The CEO explained after the storm passes, the main focus will be on reopening and reconstituting the airport.
People should also keep in mind that the airport is not considered a shelter. For a list of shelters around your area, click here.
8:30 a.m.: Waste Management sent out an email announcing services will be suspended in Hillsborough County on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of Hurricane Ian.
The company also sent out information Monday on suspended services for three other Tampa Bay area counties including Pasco, Pinellas and Polk.
According to the company, services will be suspended in Pasco and Pinellas counties on both Wednesday and Thursday along with Polk County.
For updated information and resumption of service details, click here.
8:29 a.m.: Access to Clearwater Beach and other barrier islands is now restricted to only residents who live there or have business there, a tweet from Clearwater Fire & Rescue Department reads.
People who don't live there or have a reason to be there are being turned around at checkpoints.
7 a.m.: Tampa Electric said it may proactively shut down power to a "small portion" of the downtown Tampa area, where there is a mandatory evacuation in Zone A, early Wednesday. This will likely affect Harbor Island, two Channelside hotels, the transportation center and most of Davis Islands.
It will not affect Tampa General Hospital. To see what other hospitals in the Tampa Bay area are doing, click here.
6 a.m.: Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister stressed the importance of following mandatory evacuation orders in your area and getting out of town by today. And, he said if you are planning on sheltering-in-place, you need to finalize your plans and gather your supplies by today, too.
He also wanted to let people know that if you are staying behind and need help during the storm, help from first responders likely will not come in order to prevent putting them at risk.
You can watch the full interview here.