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Tropical Storm Ian to explode into Category 4 hurricane before hitting Florida, forecasters say

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Tropical Storm Ian is expected to rapidly escalate into a category four hurricane as it travels toward Florida, forecasters said Sunday.

The storm is expected to undergo “rapid intensification” before Florida starts feeling its effects later this week, according to Fox Weather. The storm is currently producing roughly 50 mph winds, but that is expected to intensify to 120 mph and 140 mph by Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared an emergency in each of the state’s 67 counties ahead of the storm. The governor had initially only declared an emergency for two dozen counties in an announcement on Friday.

“This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane, and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations,” DeSantis said in a statement. “We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”

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This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical Storm Ian over the central Caribbean on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.  (NOAA via AP)
(Associated Press)

A forecast shows tropical storm Ian intensifying into a powerful hurricane. (FOX Weather)

A forecast shows tropical storm Ian intensifying into a powerful hurricane. (FOX Weather)
(Fox Weather)

The declaration opens up state resources and activates members of the Florida National Guard.

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President Biden also declared a federal emergency for Florida on Saturday evening, opening up federal funds for preparation and aftermath efforts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has already begun pre-positioning supplies across Florida, according to the White House.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds  press conference. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds  press conference. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Biden’s order opens the funding for use in roughly two dozen Florida counties, as well as two Native American reservations.

It remains unclear exactly where the storm will land when it hits Florida, according to meteorologists. Most models have it striking northern Florida, however.

“Too soon to say if it’s going to be a southeast Florida problem or a central Florida problem or just the entire state,” John Cangialosi, a senior hurricane specialist with National Hurricane Center, said in a statement. “So at this point, really the right message for those living in Florida is that you have to watch forecasts and get ready and prepare yourself for potential impact from this tropical system.”