According to Baskin, her Tampa-based organization is “exhausting all efforts” to ensure her rescue is ready. “And it begins,” Baskin said in a video posted to Facebook on Monday. “Hurricane Ian, we are ready for you.”
Baskin said she and her staff team filled and stacked sandbags on Monday in preparation for the historic storm.
“I want to give a huge shout-out to everybody at Big Cat Rescue who has been filling sandbags, and picking up sticks, and chainsawing away limbs and covering the windows,” she said.
In addition, over the last several days, her crew has been boarding up various structures at the rescue, including the gift shop, where some people will stay overnight to ensure the cats are safe during the storm.
She added that some people would check on the cats and their cages hourly during the storm.
Depending on the storm’s path, they could receive 30 hours of tropical storm-force winds and up to 10 hours of hurricane-force winds. Baskin said someone would drive around the compound to ensure fences are up and the cats are safe. The rescue is also trying to ensure proper feeding time for the cats goes uninterrupted.
Carole Baskin pulling out all the stops to keep her big cats safe from Hurricane Ian
“We have to keep food prep safe because you’ve got to feed the cats no matter what the weather looks like,” she added. The staff has also made sure to fuel additional generators on the property. In addition, they gave chainsaws plenty of extra fuel.
According to officials in the area, powerful winds are expected to knock down the rescue’s trees. Power is also expected to go out.
In Baskin’s pics, viewers could see staff members securing limbs, debris, and other loose items. Beyond a loss of power and fallen trees, Baskin is also concerned about the potential for flooding.
Several inches of rain are expected to fall in just a matter of hours. To prepare for torrential rainfall, the rescue has hooked pumps to generators to help the flooding.
According to meteorologists, Hurricane Ian was set to reach the area overnight on Tuesday evening. The most intense part of the storm is expected to hit sometime on Wednesday.
“Staff will be making routine rounds as the hurricane bears down on Tampa to monitor the cats and cages. Dr. Justin Boorstein will be nearby should he be needed,” the rescue wrote in a Facebook post.
“Please continue to send paw-sitive thoughts and prayers for all of Tampa, the interns, staff, volunteers and cats at Big Cat Rescue!” the post added.