Hurricane Ian forms into powerful storm, prompting evacuation order in Tampa

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Tropical Storm Ian strengthened into Hurricane Ian, as coastal residents brace for major impacts from the storm as the week progresses.

Hurricane status was declared at around 5:00 a.m. as the storm’s winds strengthened to 75 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Ian is expected to become a significant hurricane within the next 48 hours. A Hurricane Watch was issued for Florida’s Gulf Coast, including Tampa Bay.

Hillsborough County, which contains Tampa, ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents living in the city’s coastal area. It also announced a voluntary evacuation for most of the rest of the county.

The storm is currently approaching Western Cuba.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties ahead of the impacts of Hurricane Ian. He urged all Floridians to prepare for the storm.

The storm is expected to make landfall.

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