Hurricane Ian has Florida's coastal counties preparing for mandatory evacuations

Residents along Florida's Gulf Coast are preparing to evacuate ahead of what is expected to be a powerful Hurricane Ian. Officials in Pasco County are expecting a major flooding event brought on the storm.

"This is going to be a nasty storm and there’s going to be a lot of devastation throughout the county," said Pasco County Director of Emergency Services Andrew Fossa. 

Pasco County opened up six sandbagging locations across the county in preparation for possibly 10 inches of rain. 

"The streets around us have already evacuated. All the houses," said Nancy Brunner. "The canals are in their backyard."

Brunner lives right on the edge of evacuation zone A. The New England transplant has seen her fair share of hurricane devastation but plans to ride this one out. 

"I’m just worried about losing electricity. I’m not worried about anything else," said Brunner. 

Others around her at the sandbag fill in New Port Richey are doing everything they can to protect their home. 

"We have a house on the water that we’re worried about with the storm surge," said Andrew Wert. "Place some bags there, and you do everything you can, and you just try to relax/. It’ll be what it will be at that point."

Pasco County has announced a local state of emergency. They plan to announce a mandatory evacuation of zone A as well as voluntary evacuations for zone B and C. They are opening up 12 shelters in the area to help. 

"Don’t be complacent. Exercise safety," said Fossa. "If you’re given an order to evacuate, whether it be voluntary or mandatory, please heed the warning. We’re doing it for your safety."