SARASOTA COUNTY (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis made a stop at Sarasota County’s Emergency Operations Center Tuesday, as the region makes its final preparations ahead of Hurricane Ian’s arrival.
“It is a big storm. It is going to kick up a lot of water as it comes in and you are going to end up with really significant storm surge. You are going to end up with really significant flood events and this is the type of storm surge that is life-threatening,” DeSantis said.
The governor made the visit as local officials announced new evacuation orders for Sarasota County. People living in both zones A and B are now urged to evacuate. That includes all barrier islands, mobile homes and people living on boats.
Police in Sarasota blocked off the westbound lanes to the John Ringling Causeway Tuesday afternoon to everyone except for residents of the barrier islands. Businesses on St. Armands Circle were closed this afternoon, with a number of them boarded up.
Sarasota County has already shut off all water service to residents and businesses on Siesta and Casey keys. The City of Sarasota is doing the same for its barrier islands.
DeSantis is urging residents to take evacuation orders seriously.
“I think when you are in the zone A’s and you have the potential historic storm surge coming. You are taking a major major risk and that is just the reality. If you evacuate out of one of those zones and you get to higher ground and a safe structure, the one thing we say, you are not going to die. If you are in harm’s way, you are really taking a risk,” the governor said.
All 12 evacuation centers in Sarasota County are open and are pet friendly. To find the nearest evacuation center, visit scgov.net/beprepared.