Hurricane Jan hit right in Lee County, Florida, last week, destroying coastal towns and killing dozens of people.

Now questions are being raised about whether county officials gave enough warning to residents who had to evacuate before the storm made landfall last Wednesday.

Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis protected county officials, saying they were “monitoring the data” and noted that the storm was initially forecast to make landfall further north in the state.

But some reports suggest that even with the changeable forecast, evacuation orders may have been issued later than recommended by the county’s emergency plan.

A hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon, with the center of the storm at the northern tip of Lee County — home to cities like Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

During the weekend leading up to the storm, Hurricane Ian’s path looked more like it was heading toward areas closer to the Florida panhandle or the Tampa Bay area. But as the storm approached the Florida coast, the forecast began to shift further and further south.

By Monday, two days before going ashore, National Hurricane Center forecast four to seven feet (1.2 to 2.1 meters) of storm surge along much of the Lee County coast.

District emergency response planapproved in 2018, recommends evacuation from Zone A — the lowest-lying and most coastal areas — when there is a 10 percent chance of a storm surge of six feet (1.8 meters).

There were no evacuation orders in Lee County Monday. But by Tuesday, the forecast had shifted further south, and it was clear that Hurricane Ian was headed for a direct hit on southwest Florida with a storm surge of 8 to 12 feet (2.4 to 3.7 m).

That day, Lee County officials ordered evacuations in Zones A, B and C, the three most vulnerable areas for possible storm flooding.

The Independent has reached out to a Lee County spokesperson for comment on the evacuation timeline.

Talking on CNN over the weekend, Mr. DeSantis noted that the storm’s track appeared to have moved further north earlier in the week as he supported the county’s decision.

“Where was your industry located when the storm hit? Have you been to Lee County? No, you were in Tampa. So they were watching the weather forecast,” Mr. DeSantis added to the news organization.

In addition, said Kevin Guthrie, chief of the Florida Department of Emergency Management press conference that county officials made the best decision with the information they had at the time.

FEMA Administrator Dina Criswell also reportedly defended the county’s response.

“Just 72 hours before landfall, the Fort Myers area and Lee County were not even in the cone of the hurricane,” Ms. Criswell said. ABC News on Sunday.

“And as it continued to move south, local officials immediately, as soon as they knew they were in the threat zone, made decisions to evacuate and get people to safety.”

Parts of Lee County, especially around Fort Myers, were completely devastated by the hurricane. And while many people in the path of the storm did evacuate ahead of time, some did not.

Dozens of people have been confirmed dead in the hurricane as rescue teams and officials continue to search for victims and assess the damage from the storm.

As of Monday, more than 50 percent of consumers in the county were without power, in accordance with poweroutage.us.

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