- Ian strengthened to a Category 3 major hurricane before making landfall in Cuba on Tuesday morning.
- It is expected to hit Florida on Wednesday and could be the most powerful hurricane there in a century.
- Forecasters advised that Floridians should complete preparations on Tuesday and be prepared to evacuate.
As Hurricane Ian passed through the Gulf of Mexico, officials were warning Florida residents to be prepared and evacuate if necessary.
The National Hurricane Center said Ian is expected to pass west of the Florida Keys after Tuesday and reach its west coast on Wednesday.
Daniel Kaniewski, managing director of Marsh McLennan and former FEMA deputy administrator, told Fox News that residents should heed the instructions because the special effects of the storm can be “highly localized.”
“You want to make sure that your actions reflect the risk you are facing. And, to that end, whether it is your mayor or your local emergency manager, they will know best the potential impacts of your stay. And, it can be very different from someone just a few miles away,” he advised, noting that special effects may differ from others.
The storm is expected to cause deadly tornadoes and extreme flooding.
Kaniewski said flooding is the deadliest aspect of a hurricane, adding that the hurricane category only reflects wind speed.
“If the number is lower than expected, or if it’s less than a frightening number like four or five, individuals can become complacent and the problem with that is because you can’t realize you’re in the grip of a storm either. are in or inland floods,” he explained.
Wind and storm surges would prove the deadliest for those living on the coast, but they are not out of harm’s way inland due to the storm.
Kniewski said every hurricane is different, as is what houses are made of and geography makes a big difference.
“All those factors matter and what is the height of the area and what is the height of your house, if your house is high, as some houses in Florida, it will be more resistant to flooding because water will pass under it. Or around it.
But it may not be resistant to wind,” he said. “So, there are a number of factors that will determine how severe the impact will be on any given household.”