Mandatory evacuations are underway in Tampa, FL ahead of Hurricane Ian’s expected landfall later this week. Florida Governor DeSantis has issued a state of emergency for the state, which includes waiving registration and hours of service requirements for commercial drivers. Now a Category 3 storm after passing over Cuba, the storm is set to make landfall on Florida’s western coast around 2am on Thursday.
According to the National Hurricane Center, “Life-threatening storm surge is possible along much of the Florida west coast, with the highest risk from Fort Myers to the Tampa Bay region.” Hurricane-force winds and heavy rain will also hit the region in the coming days, at least temporarily cutting off fuel deliveries as the storm passes.
Ports in Tampa, St Petersburg, Manatee, and Ft. Myers are currently at alert level “Zulu”, meaning gale-force winds are expected within 12 hours, closing the port. Some fuel terminals near Tampa are closing as early as this morning, with more closures coming tomorrow. This means fuel deliveries will have to be made from more distant terminals. With markets already facing low inventories due to global supply chain challenges, the additional pre-storm demand has strained delivery capacity.
Mansfield is moving to Level 4 Alert, which means markets are currently constrained and the highest level of operational precision is required. Mansfield is also moving the Florida market to delivery Code Red, requesting 72-hour notice from customers on new deliveries.
When prevailing winds exceed roughly 35 mph, road conditions can become unsafe. Flooding adds to road safety concerns. As the storm approaches and weather changes, Mansfield will be closely evaluating conditions to determine when the highest level of alert, Level 5 / Code Blue, should go into effect.