FLORIDA (WNCN) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued a State of Emergency for 24 state counties, as well as requested federal pre-landfall aid, as Tropical Depression 9 turned into Tropical Storm Ian.

Gov. DeSantis originally requested the aid and declared the emergency early Friday evening with word the depression could reach hurricane status toward the end of next week. However, the National Hurricane Center announced the depression already upgraded to Tropical Storm Ian as of 10:30 p.m. Friday.

“Today, I signed an Executive Order issuing a State of Emergency due to the threat of Tropical Depression 9,” Gov. DeSantis said. “This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations. We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”

The storm formed Friday morning in the central Caribbean, but it could be a major hurricane near Florida next week, CBS 17’s Storm Team reports.

The National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Ian formed over the central Caribbean Sea with winds reaching 40 miles per hour as of 11 p.m. The current track map shows winds could reach as high as 80 mph and reach the tip of Florida by 8 p.m. on Monday.

The spread in forecast track has the potential to become very wide next week as this system passes Cuba and enters the southern Gulf of Mexico, CBS 17’s Storm Team also said.

Gov. DeSantis said the potential for dangerous storm surge, heavy rainfall, strong winds, flash flooding and the potential for isolated tornadic activity went into his decision to declare the State of Emergency.

These 24 counties are currently under the warning:

  • 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
  • St. Lucie

Finally, the CBS 17 Storm Team said some of the impacts could be felt here in central North Carolina. However, it is still too early to make that determination.