IBEX 2022 cancelled as hurricane rolls in
The International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) has announced this year’s show has been cancelled as Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis says “heavy rains, strong winds, flash flooding, storm surge and even isolated tornadoes,” are expected in the coming days.
The decision is based on the weather reports from NOAA and consultation with the City of Tampa, Tampa Convention Center, and other stakeholders.
A statement on the show’s website says ‘the imminent arrival and uncertain nature of the storm forces us to cancel IBEX 2022. From Governor DeSantis’ recent press conference, it is clear that it is neither safe nor advisable to ask our exhibitors, staff and visitors to travel to, or be in, Tampa, FL this week. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we share this difficult decision.’
“Ian is forecast to be a major hurricane over the eastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday and Wednesday as it approaches the west coast of Florida,” the National Hurricane Centre says, noting that experts expected “significant to rapid intensification” for the storm as it crossed the north-western Caribbean Sea.
“It is a very difficult decision to cancel IBEX 2022, as we were on track to have an excellent event,” says Anne Dunbar, IBEX show director. “The entire IBEX team is very disappointed, but the safety of our community is our priority. This was the right choice. Additional information will be shared with exhibitors and visitors as we work through our cancellation process.”
Weather forecasters are worried that the storm could strengthen quickly since it has access to a large supply of deep, warm water in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Washington Post reports. Experts believe Ian could make landfall near Tampa, located four hours outside Florida’s capital, or touch down just north of the Gulf of Mexico, reports the Post.
In preparation, Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, has issued a state of emergency for all counties in Florida, urging residents to prepare by stocking up on emergency supplies, reports The Guardian.
“This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations,” says DeSantis. “We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”
“The safety of our team, exhibitors and partners is our top priority and given the significant and unpredictable nature of the coming storm, canceling the show is imperative to keeping everyone out of harm’s way,” says Frank Hugelmeyer, NMMA president on the fact that IBEX is cancelled as hurricane Ian approaches. “IBEX is the premier recreational boating trade event delivering critical business for our industry and as such this decision was not made lightly.”
Florida residents have been preparing by heading to their local grocery stores, but many shelves are empty of food and water amid anxiety about the storm’s potential impact, Fox Weather reports. Gas has also reportedly run out in some areas.
Along with the threats of strong winds, Ian could bring storm surges as high as 9 to 14 feet, according to the National Hurricane Centre.
The storm, which developed Friday in the central Caribbean Sea, is expected to reach the US later this week, but with models showing a wide spread of possible scenarios, it’s too early to know where the storm will hit, when — and how strong it will be, says CNN.
“We’re going to keep monitoring the track of this storm, but it’s really important to stress the degree of uncertainty that still exists,” says DeSantis.