Ian, now a major Category 3 hurricane, is strengthening in the Gulf of Mexico

Hurricane Ian It became a Category 3 storm early Tuesday morning and will strengthen as it nears Florida, National Hurricane Center forecasters say.

Ian The landslide hit western Cuba at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, southwest of the city of La Coloma in Pinar del Rio province, with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, U.S. officials said.

The country’s electricity service said the entire island was without power on Tuesday evening due to infrastructure damage. Crews were working to restore power, which the agency said would begin overnight and Wednesday.

The hurricane, currently in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, is moving north toward Florida at 10 mph and strengthening, according to a 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center.

The latest news on Hurricane Ian

  • Hurricane Ian made landfall in western Cuba early Tuesday morning as a major hurricane, and by evening, the entire island was without power.
  • Ian continues to grow stronger as he travels over it Warm Gulf of MexicoWind gusts of up to 130 miles per hour are expected as they approach Florida’s southwest coast.
  • Tropical storm force winds are expected to hit Florida’s southern peninsula late Tuesday, reaching hurricane strength by Wednesday – the eye of the hurricane is predicted to make landfall.
  • About 2.5 million Florida residents are under some form of evacuation order.
  • Ian will slow to 3 to 4 mph on or near Florida’s west coast Thursday and Friday, sustaining storm surge, wind and flash flooding impacts.
  • Georgia’s governor has declared a state of emergency.

As Ian’s center continues to move across the Gulf, it could strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane, NBC News forecasters said.

Ian will intensify today into Wednesday as a “very dangerous major hurricane” as it approaches Florida’s west coast on Wednesday. National Hurricane Center.

Models show the storm making landfall somewhere between Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor. The system is forecast to slow down to 3 to 4 mph, bringing heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge.

Follow NBC News to watch Hurricane Ian live

A hurricane is likely to hit the Florida peninsula for the next three days.

The storm could also hit Florida’s east coast, where a warning has been issued along the coast of Georgia from Marineland to the St. Mary’s River. Hurricane Center.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a statewide emergency, saying Ian could bring several feet of storm surge. Charlotte Harbor could see 12 feet of storm surge, and the Tampa Bay area could see 7 feet, forecasters said.

“What we have is really historic storm surge and potential flooding,” he said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “That storm surge was deadly.”

DeSantis encouraged residents to heed evacuation orders from Pinellas County to the Fort Myers area. About 2.5 million residents are under some form of evacuation order, he said.

Parts of the state could be without power anywhere from three days to a week, according to Kevin Guthrie, Florida’s emergency management director, who spoke at a news conference.

Image: Produced by Hurricane Ian
Boarded windows on Indian Beach, about 25 miles west of Tampa, bore the message of Hurricane Ian on Monday.Ricardo Arduengo / AFP – Getty Images

Georgia and South Carolina could also see some impact from Ian.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency for all counties on Tuesday, beginning at 7 a.m. Thursday and ending at midnight Friday.

As the storm headed toward Florida, oil companies evacuated workers from deepwater platforms and airports in the Gulf of Mexico. Tampa, Orlando And Pinellas County in Florida announced Tuesday and Wednesday closures. American Airlines Announced travel exemptions For people flying into or out of 20 airports in Florida and the Caribbean.

Residents of Florida’s Gulf Coast Stored food items and made sandbags and plywood for their windows. Hundreds of thousands of people were under evacuation orders.

Pictured: Bob Copeland, Wilbur Villamarin, Fabian Villamarin
Bob Copeland helps Wilbur Villamarin, left, and his son Fabian fill free sandbags at an Orange County park Monday in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Ian.Phelan M. Ebenhock / AB

“This storm will slow down, meaning it will sit over us for 47 hours,” said Kathy Perkins, director of Pinellas County Emergency Management. Tampa’s NBC affiliate WFLA reported.

“That’s a lot of rain and it can’t go away quickly,” he said.

Steve McClure, 54, went to his parents’ home in a nearby county.

“I’d rather be safe than sorry, especially since the hurricane’s path is constantly changing,” McClure said.

Diane J. Hampton Contributed.

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