Dark clouds over St. Petersburg, Florida as the state prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Ian
Photo: RICARDO ARDUENGO / AFP
Hurricane "Ian" continues to gain strength: According to the US hurricane center on Monday evening (local time), it reached a category 2 of 5 strength. The storm is heading for Cuba and the US state of Florida.
"Life-threatening storm surges, hurricanes, flash floods and possible landslides" are expected in Cuba by Tuesday, the meteorologists said.
The hurricane may then move further towards the west coast of Florida with a magnitude of 4.
There, the experts are warning of storm surges from Wednesday.
The risk is greatest between the cities of Fort Myers and Tampa.
Hurricane force winds are expected from late Tuesday evening (local time).
The governor of the southeastern US state, Ron DeSantis, had already declared a state of emergency at the weekend as a precaution and called on the population to take precautions.
Floods are expected, he said on Monday.
Several thousand National Guard soldiers were mobilized.
He hopes his state won't be hit too hard.
However, people should expect power outages – these could last for several days.
"Safety is paramount," DeSantis said.
"Ian" could also potentially postpone the next crew's launch schedule to the International Space Station.
October 3rd is still being targeted as the launch date, said Kathy Lueders, head of manned spaceflight at the US space agency Nasa.
"But we also know that we have to work our way through the weather here at the Kennedy Space Center." The next possible alternative dates are October 4th or 5th, it said.
According to current forecasts, Hurricane Ian could make landfall in Florida around the middle of this week.
Based on these predictions, NASA had already postponed the test launch of the “Artemis” moon mission, which was actually planned for Tuesday, and instead ordered the rocket system to be moved back to the hangar.