Florida storm preparation live updates: Orlando hotels offer distress rates

Florida storm preparation live updates: Orlando hotels offer distress rates

As Florida prepares for Hurricane Ian this week, follow along for live updates from the Orlando Sentinel.

Need to prepare for the storm? Check out our digital hurricane guide with storm preparations tips.

Orlando hotels offer reduced rates | 8:55 a.m.

Ahead of the impacts of Hurricane Ian, Rosen Hotels & Resorts activated its Florida Resident Distress Rates that give those evacuating an affordable option as they ride out the storm.

“Rosen Hotels & Resorts remains committed to the safety and wellbeing of all Floridians and will continue to put people over profit in times of need,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Distress rates are $69 a night at Rosen Inn International, Rosen Inn Closest to Universal, Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando, Rosen Inn Lake Buena Vista; $99 a night at Rosen Plaza; $109 a night at Rosen Centre; $119 a night at Rosen Shingle Creek. Rates do not include taxes.

All of the lodging is pet-friendly at no additional fee during distress rates. They also include free WiFi.

“The safety and well-being of you and our associates are our top priority during this stressful time,” the statement reads.

Room reservations can be made at 866-33-ROSEN (76736).

Richard Tribou

Governor to speak from Tallahassee | 8:47 a.m.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to speak Monday morning from the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee at 11 a.m.

He’ll appear from Florida Department of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie and National Guard Maj. Gen. James O. Eifert.

Richard Tribou

Additional sandbag sites to open Monday in Seminole County | 8:17 p.m.

Beginning at 11 a.m. on Monday, Seminole county residents can fill up to 15 bags of sand at new locations at Red Bug Lake Park, Softball Complex at 2200 North Street, Altamonte Springs and Boombah Sports Complex at 3450 E Lake Mary Boulevard, Sanford, according to a press release.

Animal Services in Seminole county in an effort to clear shelters before the storm is offering adoptions for $1 beginning Monday, according to a press release.

The Citizens Information Line will open Monday at 8 a.m. for residents to ask any questions regarding the storm. Seminole county residents can also text STORM2022 to 888-777 to stay informed.

Natalia Jaramillo

Osceola County Schools to stay open Monday and Tuesday | 7:15 p.m.

Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace said in a press release that Osceola County schools will open Monday and Tuesday while Tropical Storm Ian is monitored. Students and parents will be updated through social media, district’s call-out system and the district and school’s websites.

Also within Osceola County, residents can continue to fill up to 25 sandbags at Osceola Heritage Park on Monday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

“I’m grateful that our Emergency Management team has been preparing for any impacts to the County from Ian, and we have been working closely with all of our community partners to be ready for the week ahead,” Osceola Commission Chairman Brandon Arrington said in a press release. “I also hope our residents have taken action these past few days and have a plan for their families. Thankfully, there is still time to prepare your homes and replenish your disaster kits if you haven’t done so already.”

Residents who need to speak with an Osceola County representative or want to ask specific questions can call the Citizen Information Center hotline at 407-742-0000 beginning Monday morning, according to the release.

Natalia Jaramillo

Biden calls off trip to Orlando | 8:15 p.m.

President Biden’s scheduled trip to the Orlando area on Tuesday to rally Democrats has been postponed due to the approach of Tropical Storm Ian.

Biden had been set to appear Tuesday afternoon at the Harold and Ted Alfond Sports Center at Rollins College in Winter Park, according to organizer Jose Nunez.

The event would have also featured comedian Keegan-Michael Key.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, the party’s gubernatorial candidate, was scheduled to appear alongside Biden, but not U.S. Rep. Val Demings, the party’s U.S. Senate candidate.

Steven Lemongello

Residents clear water, plywood shelves | 5:30 p.m.

The parking lot at a Walmart in Metrowest was packed with customers Saturday afternoon, many hustling to find any leftover cases of water. But by the time they arrived, the shelves had long been cleared.

“We don’t have any more,” an employee said to them customers. “Come back later, we don’t have any more.”

The situation was the same at other stores nearby, as people rush to ready themselves for Tropical Storm Ian, which recent forecast models predict could strike Florida as a hurricane. Among them was a Target store near Millenia having very few gallon bottles of water left, as signs on the shelves limited purchases to four cases or bottles per customer.

Read the full story

- Cristóbal Reyes

Where can I find sandbags in Central Florida? | 2 p.m.

With Tropical Storm Ian potentially hitting Florida as a major hurricane next week, the rush is on to get sandbags to protect property from water seeping inside.

Where you get them largely depends on where you live as cities and counties require people to be residents to obtain the sandbags.

Click here for a list of locations throughout Central Florida.

David Harris

All of Florida under state of emergency, DeSantis declares | 1:30 p.m.

After declaring a state of emergency for 24 Florida counties on Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded the order statewide on Saturday.

Tropical Storm Ian is making its way through the Caribbean and could hit Florida next week as a dangerous hurricane.

“The threat posed by Tropical Storm Ian requires that timely precautions are taken to protect the communities, infrastructure, and general welfare of Florida,” a press release said.

The order allows communities to access funds as needed.

David Harris

NHC: Increasing confidence for ‘very impactful hurricane’ for Florida’s west coast | 12:20 p.m.

Acting National Hurricane Director Jamie Rhome said there is increasing confidence that Florida’s west coast will see a “very impactful hurricane” when what is expected to be Hurricane Ian approaches the state.

“The storm surge vulnerability here is very very high,” he said. “We really need you to be prepared and start moving through your hurricane plan.”

The latest track shifted a bit north and the southern tip of Florida is no longer in the cone as of the 11 a.m. update. But Florida residents should be prepared whether their area is in the cone or not, Rhome said.

“You may think if you are out of the cone you are out of the woods and that is not correct,” he said.

David Harris

Moody activates price gouging hotline | Noon

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has activated Florida’s Price Gouging hotline with Tropical Storm Ian forecasted to hit Florida as a hurricane next week.

On Saturday, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency throughout Florida. Floridians can call 866-966-7226 with concerns about severe price increases for items used to prepare for the storm.

“During a storm-related declared state of emergency, state law prohibits excessive increases in the price of essential commodities, such as food, water, hotel rooms, ice, gasoline, lumber, equipment and storm-related services needed as a direct result of the event,” a press release said.

The state of emergency has been declared for the following counties: Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and St. Lucie.

David Harris

NASA decides to hold off launch attempt, but might not roll back | 10:30 a.m.

With the approaching threat of what is forecast to be Hurricane Ian, NASA finally threw in the towel for a launch attempt Tuesday of its Artemis I mission to the moon from Kennedy Space Center.

But it held off a decision to roll the massive 5.75 million-pound, 322-foot-tall combination of Space Launch System rocket, mobile launcher and Orion spacecraft to the safety of the Vehicle Assembly Building.

In an update posted to NASA’s website, the decision on whether or not to stay on the pad during the impending storm won’t be made until tomorrow.

“During a meeting Saturday morning, teams decided to stand down on preparing for the Tuesday launch date to allow them to configure systems for rolling back,” the update reads. “If Artemis I managers elect to roll back, it would begin late Sunday night or early Monday morning.”

Richard Tribou

Storm threat prompts rocket rollback on Space Coast, just not the big one | 6:55 a.m.

The threat of what is expected to become Hurricane Ian with winds that will spread across Florida including the Space Coast has prompted a decision by rocket company Relativity Space to roll its Terran 1 rocket back from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

“Rolling back to hangar to keep vehicle safe during impending hurricane in Florida,” reads a post by CEO Tim Ellis on Twitter. “Early data and hardware looking solid from last week’s extensive stage one testing, super happy with the results.”

The 3-D printed rocket has been doing pad hot fire tests ahead of its planned launch later this fall. The 115-foot-tall rocket is much less daunting that the Artemis I hardware over at nearby Kennedy Space Center. NASA has held off plans for a rollback of the 5.75 million-pound, 322-foot-tall combination of Space Launch System rocket, mobile launcher and Orion spacecraft to the safety of the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Officials said a decision on that will come by Saturday afternoon at the latest, but noted the rocket can handle sustained winds of 85 mph at the launch pad. Even if weather is bad for its planned Tuesday morning launch, it could try for a backup opportunity on Oct. 2 if it stays on the pad.

Richard Tribou

Tropical Storm Hermine forms - it’s not the one near Florida | 4:42 p.m.

Weather observers thought the tropical depression in the Caribbean that may threaten Florida next week would be the next named storm, Hermine. But Mother Nature, and the National Hurricane Center, had other plans.

The NHC announced Friday evening that Tropical Storm Hermine had formed – but it’s a system that popped up off Africa’s coast earlier Friday.

“Tropical Storm #Hermine Advisory 2: The Eighth Tropical Storm of the Season Forms, But in the Eastern Atlantic,” the NHC tweeted. “Heavy Rains Forecast For the Canary Islands.”

So, the system that the NHC is monitoring that could impact Florida will likely be named Ian, the next name on this year’s hurricane season name list.

UCF to make decision on classes, housing on Sunday | 4:20 p.m.

The University of Central Florida said Friday that will make a decision on Sunday about classes and student housing will be impacted by the forecasted hurricane.

“UCF is in communication with our local National Weather Service office in Melbourne and the National Hurricane Center to ensure the university has the latest information,” the school said in a email to students, faculty and staff. “On Sunday, Sept. 25, we will assess the latest projections and provide an update about university operations for the week ahead. Decisions about classes, campus operations and UCF Housing would be communicated at that time.”

The school noted that in the event a hurricane forecast to impacts Central Florida, UCF Housing residents would be strongly encouraged to relocate off campus. Employees designated as critical may still be required to work in the event of a campus closure, it said.

Roger Simmons

Central Florida governments start sandbag operations | 3:49 p.m.

With forecasts projecting that the tropical depression currently moving through the Caribbean will become a major hurricane by the time it reaches Florida next week, Orlando-area governments have begun preparations.

Officials in Orange and Seminole counties announced the start of sandbag operations as officials monitor the storm currently known as Tropical Depression Nine, which is expected to become a hurricane in the coming days.

Read more about how to get sandbags here.

Orlando Sentinel Staff

Orlando airports making storm preparations | 3:43 p.m.

Tropical Depression 9 isn’t even a storm, let alone a hurricane, but it has caught the attention of the folks who run Orlando International Airport and Orlando Executive Airport.

The Greater Orlando Airport Authority, which manages the airpotrs, said it is starting to implement pre-storm procedures while Tropical Depression 9 spins in the Caribbean.

Among the facilities impacted by the possible hurricane is Terminal C, whose scheduled dedication next week has now been postponed.

“The Authority will take protective measures throughout the coming days and will continue to monitor the storm and coordinate airport activities accordingly,” the statement said.

Read more about the airport’s storm preparations here.

Orlando Sentinel Staff