Hurricane Ian, one of the most violent storms ever recorded in the United States, made landfall in southwest Florida on Wednesday, inundating city streets with water and uprooting trees along the shore.
Wednesday afternoon, the core of the hurricane made landfall at Cayo Costa, a sheltered barrier island west of densely populated Fort Myers. As it traverses the peninsula to the northeast, the enormous storm was forecast to cause flooding across a large portion of Florida.
At a news conference on Wednesday evening, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stated that over 1.1 million power outages had been reported around the state. He noted that structural damage had been reported in Lee and Charlotte counties, but that storm surge and floods posed the greatest threat.
“This hurricane is doing havoc on the state of Florida,” warned DeSantis.
In one part of Naples, storm surge from Ian nearly entirely flooded automobiles.
Wednesday, Hurricane Ian made landfall and Naples ordered a mandatory curfew for all citizens. Chris Hush of NBC 6 reports.
Mark Pritchett left his home in Venice around 35 miles south of where the hurricane made landfall. He described it as horrifying.
Pritchett wrote in a text message shortly after landfall, “I literally could not stand against the wind.” “Rain spraying like needles. My road resembles a river. Cut down limbs and trees. And the worst has not yet occurred.”
The Category 4 hurricane pounded the coastline with winds of 150 miles per hour and blasted a wall of storm surge gathered during its long march over the Gulf of Mexico.
Before the storm arrived, approximately 2.5 million people were told to leave southwest Florida. Ian’s hurricane-force winds were anticipated to be felt well into central Florida, despite the fact that it was expected to decrease as it moved inland at 9 mph.
Off the coast of Sanibel Island, just south of where Hurricane Ian made landfall, traffic cameras captured water flooding streets and reaching halfway up mailbox posts hours earlier. As the hurricane neared, seawater poured out of Tampa Bay, exposing portions of the muddy bottom, and waves crashed over the end of a wooden pier in Naples.
Tom Hawver, a handyman from Fort Myers, was forced to abandon his intention to ride out Hurricane Ian at home in order to travel across the state to Fort Lauderdale due to Ian’s quick intensification overnight.
“We were intending to stay but opted to leave when we awoke to 155 mph gusts,” Hawver stated. “We have no generator.” I simply do not understand the benefit of sitting there in the dark, in a heated place, and observing water enter your home.”
Wednesday, NASA released photographs of Hurricane Ian captured by the International Space Station.
DeSantis stated that residents of high-risk areas who did not evacuate have already requested assistance. Once the weather clears, the state has 30,000 linemen, urban search and rescue teams, and 7,000 National Guard troops from Florida and other states ready to assist.
DeSantis stated during a news conference on Wednesday, “This is going to be a dreadful day and a half.”
Ahead of the hurricane’s impact, Floridians hurriedly boarded up their homes, stashed valuables on upper levels, and joined lengthy lines of cars evacuating the coast.
Some chose to attempt to weather the storm. The home of Jared Lewis, a Tampa delivery driver, has survived hurricanes in the past, albeit none as severe as Ian.
Lewis remarked, “It’s a little unnerving and causes some anxiety.” “After a year without any, you now have Category 4 or 5 storms.” We are more familiar with the 2s and 3s.”
Ian made landfall more than 100 miles south of Tampa and St. Petersburg, sparing the densely populated Tampa Bay area a direct strike by a major hurricane for the first time since 1921. Officials issued a warning to residents of Tampa, Florida, that strong gusts and up to 20 inches of rain are still possible.
In a dramatic image reminiscent of Hurricane Irma in 2017, the water in Tampa Bay drained prior to the arrival of Hurricane Ian, exposing the sandy bottom.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said in a Twitter video, “Please, please, please be mindful that we are not yet out of danger.” Flooding will continue to occur.
Wednesday morning, Ash Dugney cautiously observed ocean water being dragged out from beneath a Tampa Bay pier. He stated that he did not have faith in Tampa’s storm drainage infrastructure to protect his corner tuxedo rental company from flooding, which he claimed occurred even during light storms.
Dugney stated, “I don’t care about the wind and rain and stuff like that; I only care about the floods,” adding that he moved vital items out of the shop and raised other items to a level above waist-high.
All of Florida was susceptible to flash floods. More than one billion tons of mildly radioactive waste from Florida’s phosphate fertilizer mining business are kept in large ponds that could flood during heavy rainfall.
As Ian headed onshore, DeSantis stated that hurricane-force winds were possible in central Florida.
The storm spawned isolated tornadoes well before touchdown. One tornado caused damage to small aircraft and a hangar at North Perry Airport, which is located west of Hollywood along the Atlantic coast.
More than one million homes and businesses were without power, and Florida Power and Light cautioned citizens in the path of Hurricane Ian to prepare for days without energy.
The federal government dispatched 300 ambulances with medical teams and was prepared to transport 3.7 million meals and 3.5 million liters of water to areas affected by the storm.
President Joe Biden stated on Wednesday, “We’ll be there to assist you clean up and rebuild, and get Florida back on its feet.” “We will be with you every step of the way. This is my unwavering commitment to the people of Florida.”
Hurricane Ian causes widespread power outages in Florida.
As Hurricane Ian approaches landfall in Florida, widespread power disruptions are anticipated to increase. The Category 4 cyclone wreaked havoc on the state with its catastrophic winds and flooding.