WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Officials in Florida urged residents of vulnerable coastal regions to prepare for the expected arrival of a potentially dangerous storm named Ian, but no evacuations have been ordered.
Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency for 24 counties in Ian's path, saying that it had "the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane" in coming days.
The storm could begin hitting southern Florida late on Monday or Tuesday morning. It is first expected to hit Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman Islands, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
An official from Monroe County, whose county seat is Key West - the southern most island of the Florida keys - told the Miami Herald that they had not yet made the decision to order evacuations but could re-evaluate.
Sarasota Mayor Erik Arroyo told CNN that the city had been in touch with Florida Power & Light, and urged residents to prepare for a storm. "Be proactive, contact your doctor, make sure you stock up on your medications," he said. "Have some water, some basic necessities."
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Bill Berkrot)