'You certainly could replace personal possessions. You can't bring anyone back to life'
“Mother nature always wins. And this storm is going to be a very impactful storm … If you can leave, just leave now. And we will take care of your personal property,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor told CNN. “You certainly could replace personal possessions. You can’t bring anyone back to life.”
Winds are expected to reach 120 mph, taking it from a category two to four major hurricane as it heads north across western Florida. Over 300,000 people have been affected by evacuation orders announced for Pinellas, Sarasota, Charlotte, Hillsborough and Hernando counties.
Cities including Orlando, Tallahassee and Jacksonville are also said to be making preparations for the hurricane – with up to 15m residents in Florida alone within its projected pathway.
Locals had already begun hoarding water and other supplies over the weekend, and reports circulated Monday morning that gas stations were seeing long lines and limited supplies.
Hillsborough County Administrator Bonnie Wise recommended evacuees seek shelter at least 20 miles inland rather than rely on limited and often crowded shelter space.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said his department would be increasing patrols in evacuated areas to protect against property crimes and other disruptions.
“This is a really, really big hurricane,” DeSantis said at a Monday morning briefing, noting that Ian currently stretched 500 miles wide and is currently expansive enough to impact the entire state.