STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED FOR FLORIDA AS IAN STRENGTHENS

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Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all of Florida on Saturday as Tropical Storm Ian gains strength over the Caribbean and is forecast to become a major hurricane within days as it tracks toward the state.

DeSantis had initially issued the emergency order for two dozen counties on Friday. But he expanded the warning to the entire state, urging residents to prepare for a storm that could lash large sections of Florida.

The National Hurricane Center said Ian is forecast to rapidly strengthen in the coming days before moving over western Cuba and toward the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by the middle of next week.

The agency said Floridians should have hurricane plans in place and advised residents to monitor updates of the storm’s evolving path.