THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED
Village officials are getting ready to jump into action if a tropical depression grows into Hurricane Ian over the weekend, and are urging residents to do likewise.
“We are in the ramp-up phase,” said Fire Chief Eric Lang, who said the village will be communicating with residents that they need to pay attention to the system’s progress.
Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a state of emergency for 24 counties, including Miami-Dade in advance of the storm. The move frees up assistance in case it’s needed.
At 5PM, Tropical Depression Nine was about 430 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, heading west-northwest at 15 miles per hour. It is forecast to become a tropical storm as early as tonight and a major hurricane by Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center forecast puts the earliest arrival of tropical storm force winds on Key Biscayne sometime Monday evening, but more likely arriving Tuesday.
There is a great deal of uncertainty in computer models, especially around the time when the storm is forecast to make a turn near western Cuba.
“There is increased spread in the guidance for this portion of the track forecast, with day five positions that span from the eastern Gulf to east of the Florida peninsula,” said Brad Reinhart at the National Hurricane Center.
On Key Biscayne, department heads had been alerted to inform their staff to be ready to take protective action, Lang said. He urged residents to make sure they had their hurricane plan in place and to remember that Key Biscayne lies in a mandatory evacuation zone. A decision on any evacuation would be made by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
NOTE – a different tropical system, close to the African coast, was upgraded to become Tropical Storm Hermine after this story was originally written. The next named storm would get the name “Ian.”
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.