Hurricane Ian strengthened into a major Category 3 hurricane while making landfall in western Cuba early Tuesday (September 27) morning, according to a National Hurricane Center public advisory update shared Tuesday morning.
The hurricane was reported to have made landfall in the town of La Coloma in the Pinar del Río province at around 4:30 a.m. ET, with maximum sustained winds reaching 125 MPH.
The hurricane is expected to directly hit Tampa Bay as early as Wednesday (September 28), according to the National Hurricane Center's forecast.
"That’s going to cause a huge amount of storm surge," DeSantis said via NBC News. "You’re going to have flood events. You’re going to have a lot of different impacts.”
Authorities evacuated 50,000 residents were evacuated from the Pinar del Río province of Cuba ahead of Ian's arrival earlier this week, the Associated Press reports.
Ian was officially declared as a hurricane Monday (September 26) morning after initially developing as a tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea on Friday (September 23).
DeSantis initially declared a state of emergency on Friday (September 23), citing "foregoing conditions, which are projected to constitute a major disaster."
"The Florida Division of Emergency Management, working together with the National Hurricane Center to evaluate weather predictions, has determined there is a continuing risk of dangerous storm surge, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, strong winds, hazardous seas, and isolated tornadic activity for Florida's Peninsula and portions of the Florida Big Bend, North Florida, and Northeast Florida," the order states.
Ian will become the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Hurricane Michael in 2018.