Disney world EVACUATES hotels and prepares to shut parks as Hurricane Ian barrels towards Florida


Ron DeSantis has warned that Hurricane Ian will cause ‘catastrophic’ flooding across the Sunshine State and urged people to prepare for the ‘historic’ storm. 

Florida Gov. DeSantis told Floridians not to ‘put themselves in harms way’ as he said the state is expecting unprecedented storm surges and flooding to cause major damage from the 15ft waves and 140mph winds.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, DeSantis said that ‘safety is paramount’ for anyone in the state, and warned those on the north coast and gulf coast that they could be hit hardest by the ‘different’ storm. 

He added: ‘Mother nature is a very fearsome adversary, please heed those evacuation warnings. You could see power outages, inland flooding, various types of tree damage from wind so be prepared for that.’ 

DeSantis declared a state of emergency in all 67 counties as he called up 7,000 National Guard members to help with the effort, with 2.5million people under an evacuation order. 

Schools in 26 districts across Florida have announced that they will be closed, with some shutting their doors on Tuesday, and all remaining closed through to Friday.

Universities and Florida Colleges are also closing their doors in an attempt to protect the students from the storm.

Thousands of guests at Disney World are also being evacuated from hotels and campgrounds in Orlando as Hurricane Ian is baring down on Florida, with areas at the park already suffering from flooding. 

Dozens of customers at Fort Wilderness Campground at a Disney restort were queuing with their luggage to comply with the evacuation process 

Storm drains in Miami are currently overflowing with the amount of heavy rainfall that has lashed the city in the past 24 hours

Storm drains in Miami are currently overflowing with the amount of heavy rainfall that has lashed the city in the past 24 hours

Disney and Universal resorts in Orlando, Florida, are currently set to remain open as some hotels are canceling guests reservations and evacuating the area. Officials for the company say that they are 'monitoring' the situaton

Disney and Universal resorts in Orlando, Florida, are currently set to remain open as some hotels are canceling guests reservations and evacuating the area. Officials for the company say that they are ‘monitoring’ the situaton

Ian made landfall in western Cuba early Tuesday, with the storm prompting mass evacuations and fears it will bring widespread destruction as it heads for the US state of Florida

Ian made landfall in western Cuba early Tuesday, with the storm prompting mass evacuations and fears it will bring widespread destruction as it heads for the US state of Florida

Residents in Florida are capturing the storm clouds as the first signs of hurricane Ian hit the Sunshine State on Tuesday

Winds of up to 140mph are expected as Tampa airport is shutting down

Residents in Florida are capturing the storm clouds as the first signs of hurricane Ian hit the Sunshine State on Tuesday, with winds of up to 140mph expected

Tampa General Hospital has created an aqua wall around the entire hospital in preparation for Hurricane Ian to protect patients and equiptment

Tampa General Hospital has created an aqua wall around the entire hospital in preparation for Hurricane Ian to protect patients and equiptment

Vehicles in Brickell, Florida, battled to get out of the heavily flooded roads as others were taking precautions to protect their properties

Vehicles in Brickell, Florida, battled to get out of the heavily flooded roads as others were taking precautions to protect their properties

Disney, airports and popular attractions in Florida are CLOSED ahead of Hurricane Ian

Disney:

  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Typhoon Lagoon
  • Winter Summerland Miniature Golf
  • Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf 

Airports:

  • Tampa
  • St Pete International

Attractions:

  • ZooTampa
  • Straz Center
  • Florida Aquarium
  • The Dali Museum
  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
  • Sparkman Wharf
  • Yacht StarShip
  • Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center

Sports:

  • Lightning preseason postponed
  • Buccaneers relocated to Miami 

Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom are currently still open and operating under normal conditions, with the company ‘monitoring’ the situation.

The Disney Springs shopping and entertainment complex also will remain open, while Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue will be closed from Wednesday to Friday. 

Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will also be closed for three days. 

Typhoon Lagoon and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf and Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday. 

Cancelation policies are also not being enforced by the entertainment giant, with performances around the Fort Wilderness resort being canceled.

The resort has been battered by heavy rain the past few days, with thousands of visitors braving the weather to enjoy the parks.

It comes as all of the Florida Key’s are under a tornado watch, meaning that it is possible for one to hit. 

The monster storm has been upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane, as it is currently lashing Cuba, with the National Guard on standby in Florida.

A spokesman for the company said: ‘Walt Disney World Resort is currently operating under normal conditions as we prepare to make necessary adjustments based on the latest information from the National Weather Service.

‘We continue to put the safety of our Cast Members and Guests first and will share updates with you as we monitor Hurricane Ian.’

The National Hurricane Center confirmed the storm made landfall in western Cuba at 4.30am local time, lashing the island with rain and sustained winds of 125mph. 

Cuba’s capital, Havana, was hit hard by the storm with workers unclogging storm drains and fishermen taking their boats out of the water to try to protect themselves from the flooding. 

Ian cut power to nearly 1 million people and tearing roofs off homes as it tracked northward toward Florida, where residents anxiously await the sprawling storm.

Mayelin Suarez, a Pinar del Rio resident who sells ice cream in the provincial capital, was still shaken Tuesday morning after a night she called ‘the darkest of her life.’

Suarez told Reuters: ‘We almost lost the roof off our house. My daughter, my husband and I tied it down with a rope to keep it from flying away.’

Improvised metal roofs on homes and buildings throughout the region, where housing and infrastructure is antiquated and vulnerable, were scattered about streets and yards following the storm.

A local in Malecon, Havana, in Cuba, took the time to take a picture of the massive waves that were rocking the shoreline

A local in Malecon, Havana, in Cuba, took the time to take a picture of the massive waves that were rocking the shoreline 

Brickell, Miami,  is also being battered by flooding and rainfall, with drains overflowing with water and cars struggling to make it through flood water

Brickell, Miami,  is also being battered by flooding and rainfall, with drains overflowing with water and cars struggling to make it through flood water

It comes as all of the Florida Key’s are under a tornado watch, meaning that it is possible for one to hit

It comes as all of the Florida Key’s are under a tornado watch, meaning that it is possible for one to hit

Residents in St Petersburg, Florida, are in queues which are taking hours to get sandbags to prpare themselves for the 'historic' storm

Residents in St Petersburg, Florida, are in queues which are taking hours to get sandbags to prpare themselves for the ‘historic’ storm

Rebecca Hale and her mother, Edda Howard, place shutters on her home as they prepare for the possible arrival of Hurricane Ian

Rebecca Hale and her mother, Edda Howard, place shutters on her home as they prepare for the possible arrival of Hurricane Ian

Strong winds are already battering palm tree's at the Antonio Maceo Monument in Havana, Cuba, early on  Tuesday morning

Strong winds are already battering palm tree’s at the Antonio Maceo Monument in Havana, Cuba, early on  Tuesday morning 

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, DeSantis said that 'safety is paramount' for anyone in the state, and warned those on the north coast and gulf coast that they could be hit hardest by the 'different' storm.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, DeSantis said that ‘safety is paramount’ for anyone in the state, and warned those on the north coast and gulf coast that they could be hit hardest by the ‘different’ storm.

Residents in Florida are seen packing up their homes to head for a safer area as more than 2.5million people are under evacuation orders

Residents in Florida are seen packing up their homes to head for a safer area as more than 2.5million people are under evacuation orders

More than 503,000 still without power in Puerto Rico after being hit by Hurricane Fiona

An estimated 503,000 homes and businesses were still without power in Puerto Rico on Tuesday after Hurricane Fiona hit on Sept. 18 and caused an island-wide power outage for its 3.3 million people.

After hitting Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, Hurricane Fiona turned north and slammed into eastern Canada over the weekend where it left more than a third Nova Scotia without power.

Fiona hit Puerto Rico about five years after Hurricane Maria knocked out all power on the island.

PowerOutage.us, which estimates outages based on utility data, said 503,000 customers were without service on Tuesday based on information from LUMA Energy, which operates Puerto Rico’s grid.

There were about 600,000 customers without power Monday afternoon out of 1.468 million total customers, according to PowerOutage.us.

That pace of restoration is much faster than after Maria – when almost all 1.5 million customers had no power for a week. At that time the now bankrupt Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) was still operating the grid.

It took PREPA about 11 months to restore power to all customers, but Maria was a much more powerful storm than Fiona.

Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017 as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph, while Fiona hit as a Category 1 storm with winds of 85 mph.

LUMA Energy said on Monday it restored service to nearly 877,800 customers and said expects to have 77%-91% of customers restored by Friday if there is sufficient generation available from PREPA and other private generators.

LUMA is a joint venture owned by units of Canadian energy firm ATCO Ltd (50%) and U.S. energy contractor Quanta Services Inc (50%).

PREPA still owns much of Puerto Rico’s power infrastructure. LUMA won a contract to operate the grid in 2020 and started managing that system in 2021.

Source: Reuters 

Palm trees were down along regional highways making travel near impossible at the height of the storm.

Ian made landfall in the Pinar del Rio province, where officials set up 55 shelters, evacuated 50,000 people, with officials in the Sunshine State warning residents to ‘get out now’. 

Tampa International Airport is set to cease commercial flights a 5pm Tuesday ahead of Hurricane Ian’s arrival.

It is location within an evacuation zone but is considered critical infrastructure and can stay open as long as needed, with visitors banned and workers will secure aircraft, jet bridges and ground equipment.

The airport will reopen once it can safely assess damage, survey road conditions and bring in staff.

St Petersburg airport is also set to close after threats of being hit by the Category 3 storm, as it is in the projected path.

All planes and flights will be closed for a number of hours, but it is not clear when the terminal will reopen after closing at 1pm.

Tampa and St Petersburg could get their first direct hit by a major hurricane since 1921, with authorities urging locals to ‘treat the storm seriously’ adding ‘it’s the real deal’. 

The Tarpon Springs storm slammed into the area with winds of 120 mph, killing eight people, the National Weather Service said. 

Tampa General Hospital has created an aqua wall around the entire hospital in preparation for Hurricane Ian to protect patients and equipment.

Miami is also being battered by flooding and rainfall, with drains overflowing with water and cars struggling to make it through flooded parts of the city. 

After barreling its way through Cuba, the hurricane is forecast to strengthen even further over the warm Gulf of Mexico waters before reaching Florida as early as Wednesday as a Category 4 storm with top winds of 140mph.

The hurricane is expected to past west of the Florida Keys late Tuesday before approaching the west coast of Florida on Wednesday, prompting locals to scramble to stock up on food, water and medicine. 

Local officials in Florida ordered more than 300,000 people to evacuate their homes in Hillsborough – including Tampa – Manatee, and Hernando counties, with more expected to follow.

A surge of up to 10ft of ocean water and 10 inches of rain is predicted to drench the Tampa Bay area, with as much as 15 inches in isolated areas – enough water to inundate coastal communities. 

Terrified residents have been desperately digging huge trenches to redirect flood water from their homes while others have stripped supermarket shelves bare of water and essentials.

Floridians lined up for hours in Tampa to collect bags of sand and stock up on essentials from supermarkets as they prepared to bunker down ahead of the monster weather front.

Residents in St Petersburg, Florida, have started putting up shutters at the front of the properties to protect them from the high winds and flooding

Residents in St Petersburg, Florida, have started putting up shutters at the front of the properties to protect them from the high winds and flooding

NASA has been forced to delay the launch of its Artemis rocket again because of the hurricane barreling towards the coast – meaning they will not be able to attempt anther launch for at least three weeks

NASA has been forced to delay the launch of its Artemis rocket again because of the hurricane barreling towards the coast – meaning they will not be able to attempt anther launch for at least three weeks

Dark cloud shave been forming above villa's in Florida as residents prepare to be hit for Category 3 Hurricane Ian on Tuesday

Dark cloud shave been forming above villa’s in Florida as residents prepare to be hit for Category 3 Hurricane Ian on Tuesday

The National Hurricane Center confirmed the storm made landfall in western Cuba at 4.30am local time, lashing the island with rain and sustained winds of 125mph

The National Hurricane Center confirmed the storm made landfall in western Cuba at 4.30am local time, lashing the island with rain and sustained winds of 125mph

Tampa General Hospital is preparing staff and the building for the 140mph winds and storm conditions which are set to hit the city on Wednesday

Tampa General Hospital is preparing staff and the building for the 140mph winds and storm conditions which are set to hit the city on Wednesday

St Petersburg airport is also set to close after threats of being hit by the Category 3 storm, as it is in the projected path. Dark clouds covered the roads close to the airport on Monday

St Petersburg airport is also set to close after threats of being hit by the Category 3 storm, as it is in the projected path. Dark clouds covered the roads close to the airport on Monday

Hurricane Ian, shown here over the central Caribbean, is expected to make landfall in the United States on Wednesday

Hurricane Ian, shown here over the central Caribbean, is expected to make landfall in the United States on Wednesday

Destruction has hit Cuba hard, after authorities carried out evacuations on Monday in an attempt to protect the island from the storm

Destruction has hit Cuba hard, after authorities carried out evacuations on Monday in an attempt to protect the island from the storm

More than 7,000 National Guard members have been mobilized to help Florida prepare for Hurricane Ian, with many buisnesses locking down their properties

More than 7,000 National Guard members have been mobilized to help Florida prepare for Hurricane Ian, with many buisnesses locking down their properties

People have been desperate to fill up on gas, causing huge queues at many stations as others are preparing by sandbagging roads outside their properties in an attempt to limit the damage

People have been desperate to fill up on gas, causing huge queues at many stations as others are preparing by sandbagging roads outside their properties in an attempt to limit the damage

NASA have also been forced to delay the launch of its Artemis rocket again because of the hurricane barreling towards the coast – meaning they will not be able to attempt anther launch for at least three weeks

NASA have also been forced to delay the launch of its Artemis rocket again because of the hurricane barreling towards the coast – meaning they will not be able to attempt anther launch for at least three weeks

U.S. offshore oil producers keep eye on Hurricane Ian’s track 

U.S. offshore oil producers on Tuesday were keeping a wary eye on Hurricane Ian’s track as the powerful storm shut-in at least 480,000 barrels of oil production ahead its move into the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The hurricane was over western Cuba on Tuesday and forecast to become a dangerous, category 4 storm as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico. It was packing 125 mile per hour (205 kph) winds, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said, and traveling toward landfall on the west coast of Florida at mid-week.

Ian is the first hurricane this year to disrupt oil and gas production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, which produces about 15% of the nation’s crude oil and 5% of dry natural gas. Ian’s course takes it east of the core of U.S. offshore oil and gas production.

Offshore producers Chevron, BP, Occidental Petroleum and Hess on Monday said they had taken precautions ahead of the storm’s arrival in the Gulf.

BP evacuated personnel and halted output at two offshore production platforms that together pump up to 380,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). Chevron also removed staff from two platforms that together produce 105,000 bpd.

Occidental and Hess said they were implementing storm procedures without providing specifics.

Tampa International Airport said that it would suspend its operations on Tuesday at 5pm local time (2100 GMT) before the hurricane is set to hit the area. 

In Cuba, 50,000 people in Cuba’s western Pinar del Rio province were evacuated to safer locations, 6,000 of them to 55 state-run shelters and the rest to the homes of relatives and friends. 

The island’s west coast is set to see as much as 14ft of storm surge, as officials rushed to protect crops in China’s main tobacco-growing region.

NASA have also been forced to delay the launch of its Artemis rocket again because of the hurricane barreling towards the coast – meaning they will not be able to attempt anther launch for at least three weeks.

The 322-foot-tall rocket has been rolled back four miles to the Vehicle Assembly building at the Kennedy Space Center.

On Monday, DeSantis warned of heavy traffic amid reports that some highways were bumper-to-bumper for around 50 miles. 

The governor said: ‘When you have millions of people in a metro area, no matter how it’s done, you’re going to have traffic. That’s just the reality.’ 

In a statement on rationing, a Publix spokesperson said: ‘As we continue to monitor Ian, Publix locations may limit quantities of items, such as water, to best serve the majority of our customers.’

The statement went on: ‘We have seen increased purchases on items such as bread, water, batteries and canned goods, just to name a few.’

US President Joe Biden also declared an emergency, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to co-ordinate disaster relief and provide assistance to protect lives and property.

The President postponed a scheduled September 27 trip to Florida because of the storm, with White House officials confirming they are ‘closely monitoring’ the situation. 

An official said that the president approved the emergency assistance request ‘as soon as he received it’.

They added: ‘He also directed his team to surge Federal assistance to the region well before landfall. FEMA has already deployed staff there and pre-positioned food, water, and generators.’

Homes in Indian Shores are also being storm-proofed with many nailing on plywood to their windows in an attempt to stop them from breaking

Homes in Indian Shores are also being storm-proofed with many nailing on plywood to their windows in an attempt to stop them from breaking

Flooding is set to hit Florida later this week, as Miami is currently battling against flooding as cars try to get through the water

Flooding is set to hit Florida later this week, as Miami is currently battling against flooding as cars try to get through the water

Thousands of members of the National Guard are on standby in Florida as the state braces for Hurricane Ian, which is set to bring a trail of destruction as a result of 15ft waves and 140mph winds

A surge of up to 10ft of ocean water and 10 inches of rain is predicted to drench the Tampa Bay area, with as much as 15 inches in isolated areas - enough water to inundate coastal communities

A surge of up to 10ft of ocean water and 10 inches of rain is predicted to drench the Tampa Bay area, with as much as 15 inches in isolated areas – enough water to inundate coastal communities

After barreling its way through Cuba, the hurricane is forecast to strengthen even further over the warm Gulf of Mexico waters before reaching Florida as early as Wednesday as a Category 4 storm with top winds of 140mph

After barreling its way through Cuba, the hurricane is forecast to strengthen even further over the warm Gulf of Mexico waters before reaching Florida as early as Wednesday as a Category 4 storm with top winds of 140mph

Residents in King Tide, Key West, are already having flooding that is not caused by the storm and are concerned what the repercussions will be when the storm hits

Residents in King Tide, Key West, are already having flooding that is not caused by the storm and are concerned what the repercussions will be when the storm hits

Florida mobilizes 5,000 National Guard and ropes in 2,000 from other states to prepare for wrath of Hurricane Ian

Mobilization:

  • 5,000 National Guard from Florida
  • 2,000 National Guard from other states
  • Search and rescue teams on standby
  • 28,000 linemen to restore power

2.5M under evacuation orders:

  • Pinellas County
  • Hillsborough County
  • Manatee County
  • Hernando County

K12 school closures:

  • Baker County
  • Brevard County
  • Charlotte County
  • Citrus County
  • Collier County
  • DeSoto County
  • Dixie County
  • Gilchrist County
  • Glades County
  • Hamilton County
  • Hardee County
  • Hendry County
  • Hernando County
  • Highlands County
  • Hillsborough County
  • Lafayette County
  • Lake County
  • Lee County
  • Levy County
  • Manatee County
  • Marion County
  • Monroe County
  • Okeechobee County
  • Orange County
  • Osceola County
  • Pasco County
  • Pinellas County
  • Polk County
  • Putnam County
  • Sarasota County
  • Seminole County
  • Sumter County
  • Volusia County

College closures:

  • College of Central Florida
  • College of the Florida Keys
  • Daytona State College
  • Hillsborough Community College
  • Eastern Florida State College
  • Florida Gateway College
  • Florida SouthWestern State College
  • Indian River State College
  • Lake-Sumter State College
  • Pasco-Hernando State College
  • Polk State College
  • Seminole State College
  • South Florida State College
  • St Petersburg College
  • State College of Florida
  • Valencia College

University closures:

  • Florida A&M University
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Florida Polytechnic University
  • Florida State University
  • New College of Florida
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Florida
  • University of South Florida

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