Tampa, Florida, Mayor Jane Castor warned Wednesday that the city hasn’t “even begun to feel the wrath of Hurricane Ian.”
“Our concerns clearly are still the wind, I never thought I would say that I was grateful to hear that we may endure tropical storm or a Category 1 hurricane force winds, but still the winds,” Castor told CNN’s New Day. “And the storm, you know, we’re going to bring in 18 to 20 inches into a community at Tampa Bay area that is already saturated.”
The mayor said flood warnings provided earlier will still be in effect, but fortunately the area had a couple of days to work on this due to prior predictions, meaning a lot of the coastal community have evacuated to higher ground.
The anticipated rainfall is “going to cause some flooding damage and still with the wind some damage as well,” she said. “But when you think about it, when that storm surge comes in and we’re trying to expel all of that rainwater through our stormwater systems, drainage, you know, that’s just not going to work. The water is going to continue to rise and we’re still going to have flooding.”
“We just trying to ensure that everybody in the Tampa Bay area doesn’t stand down,” Castor said. “We haven’t even begun to feel the wrath of Hurricane Ian.”
Her message to the people of Tampa over the next 24 hours remains the same, she said.
“Please stay on higher ground where it is safer,” she said. “Then once Ian, the effects of Ian, have traveled through our community, just be very considerate and aware of the fact that the majority of the injuries happen after the storm, with the downed power lines, with trees, water, standing water, just a number of different hazards out there that we need to pay attention to.”
Hurricane Ian has sustained winds over 155 mph, according to NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane data. The storm is located roughly 55 miles off the coast of southwest Florida.