Hurricane Ian landed along the southwest coast of Florida near Cayo Costa around 15:05 EST on Wednesday with winds close to 150 mph, making it a severe Category 4 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm delivers a catastrophic trifecta of strong winds, heavy rains, and historic storm surges to the state, and can cause significant power cuts and flooding as it moves slowly through central Florida for the next day or two.

Hurricane Ian is associated with the strongest storm to hit land on the west coast of the Florida peninsula, matching the 2004 wind speed of Hurricane Charley. Already more than 800,000 Florida customers were without electricity at 3:45 pm, according to figures PowerOutage.pland officials in Cape Coral and Punta Gorda have reported significant impacts.

Much of West Central Florida and its hinterland are facing disaster: “Historicalstorm wave up to 18 feet is possible and can swallow houses on the coast; rain can cause flood in most of the state; and blistering winds can ruin homes and stop the supply of electricity for days or weeks.

“It’s a wind storm, a tidal storm, and a flood storm all rolled into one,” said CNN meteorologist Chad Myers. “And that will spread throughout the state. Everyone will see something of it.

Fort Myers Beach already felt the weight of the massive wall of the storm’s eye on Wednesday afternoon. Frank Loni, an architect from California based in this community, posted a video from the building’s balcony showing some of the floods in the streets below.

“The storm tide is very significant. We see cars and boats running down the street. We see trees almost bent in half, said Loni. “There is chaos in the streets.”

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Compulsory evacuations have been ordered for coastal areas at risk of flooding National Weather Service Warning those who stayed to move to higher floors in case of rising water levels.

“This is a powerful storm that should be treated as if you were treating” a tornado approaching your home, Governor Ron DeSantis said around 8am

The photos showed widespread flooding in the coastal neighborhoods of Naples, where officials asked residents to take refuge there until further notice.

In some areas, such as Charlotte County, Florida, 911 response teams have suspended emergency services due to high winds and unsafe conditions. Sarasota mayor Eric Arroyo told CNN’s “At This Hour” that policemen were being removed from the streets because of wind speed and unsafe conditions.

“At this point, it’s too late to evacuate,” said Arroyo.

Ian poses some serious dangers:

• Storm wave: On Wednesday, for the coastal area of ​​Fort Myers, from Englewood to Bonita Beach, it was predicted that approximately 12 to 18 feet of seawater would be pushed ashore. He said. Only slightly less is forecast on the section from Bonita beach to near the Everglades (8 to 12 feet) and from and around Bradenton to Englewood (6 to 10 feet), forecasters He said.

Lower – but still life threatening – growth is possible elsewhere, including north of Tampa and along Florida’s northeast coast near Jacksonville.

• Winds: Florida Southwest faces “catastrophic wind damage.” Winds near Hurricane Ian’s core can exceed 150 mph and gusts up to 190 mph, the hurricane center said. Winds in excess of 100mph have already been reported in many locations, including Sanibel Island.

Ian is expected to maintain hurricane strength for a while as he traverses the peninsula, with hurricane warnings issued not only to Southwest Florida but also to a large portion of central Florida from coast to coast.

• Flooding rainA: As the storm is expected to slow down, 12 to 24 inches of rain could fall on central and northeastern Florida – including Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville. It makes that risk at the highest level for flooding the area with rain.

Where is the hurricane going

Before Hurricane Ian approached Florida battered Cuba on Tuesday, leaving at least two dead and blackout across the island.

Since then, residents of Florida’s fragile Persian Gulf coast have flocked to and from crowded highways. Over 2.5 million people were advised to escape, including 1.75 million on the basis of mandatory evacuation orders – a considerable question in the state of large population of elderly peoplesome of which have to be transferred from long-term care facilities.

The storm wave began as early as late Wednesday morning – over 4.5 feet above the normal high tides it was recorded in the morning in Naplesalready higher than the previous record of 4.02 feet from Hurricane Irma in 2017.

After landing, Ian’s downtown expected move to central Florida by Thursday morning. Heavy rains and flooding are also possible in southern Florida, Georgia, and coastal South Carolina.

As Ian slowly made his way to land, the worst conditions could last for eight hours or more in some areas.

“Widespread life-threatening catastrophic flash, city and river floods expected” in central and south Florida, hurricane center He said.

At the end of Thursday, Ian is expected to make an appearance over the Atlantic Ocean, where he can strengthen again and influence another part of the US.

Parts of far south Florida began to feel the effects of the storm early on Wednesday morning, with tropical winds and at least two possible tornadoes reported in Broward County, including North Perry Airport where planes and hangars were damaged. Major floods have been reported in Key West due to the storm wave as well as power cuts.

Schools, supermarkets, amusement parks, hospitals and airports have announced closure. The Navy moved its ships and the Coast Guard closed its ports. DeSantis said when the winds picked up the gas stations could run out of fuel.

Life has turned upside down as the Floridians prepare to go ashore

In Tampa, police went door-to-door to the mandatory evacuation area on Tuesday, making sure residents were ready to flee. Earlier forecasts indicated Ian was on track to destroy Tampa Bay, and even as the hurricane’s route shifted southward, mandatory evacuations and preparations continued, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said.

Law enforcement officials across the state have warned that people who remain in the evacuation areas cannot expect rescuers to respond to calls for help during a storm when the wind is strong.

“If you call for help when we get (the officers) out of the way… we won’t come. … We are not putting people in danger when (others) have not obeyed the mandatory evacuation order, ”Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Wednesday.

Not all of them moved. Chelsye Napier of Fort Myers stayed home with her fiancé and cats, despite being in the evacuation zone, CNN told CNN on Wednesday. They waited “because we don’t know anyone here” and ultimately decided to stay there, she said.

“If anything happens, we have everything we need here. We have food, we have water. We have everything we need here, ”she said. “So so far everything is fine. But we’ll see later.

Preparations in Florida had been going on for several days, and the townspeople were preparing for Ian’s anger. People lined up for sandbags and flocked to the shops to stock up on water and batteries.

And as the hurricane neared, the closings began.

In Florida, 58 school districts announced closure due to the storm as campuses turned into shelters for evacuees. Disney World will close Wednesday and Thursday, as will the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. And hundreds of Publix grocery stores have closed their doors on Tuesday night and are expected to remain closed until Thursday.

As millions have been told, they are evacuating, 176 shelters have been opened statewide, and hotels and Airbnbs have been opened to people leaving the evacuation zones, DeSantis said.

Local councils and state agencies have also prepared people living in nursing homes and other aged care facilities for evacuation.

According to the Department of Elderly Affairs, there are approximately 6 million people over the age of 60 in Florida – nearly 30% of the total population. As of Tuesday, all nurseries for adults, seniors’ cafes and transport services in the evacuation zones are closed, according to the department.

Authorities also prepared services to deploy and respond to emergency calls and then, in the aftermath of the hurricane, to remedial and remedial actions.

Nearly 400 ambulances, buses and support vehicles responded to areas where a hurricane was expected, according to the governor’s office.

DeSantis activated 5,000 members of the Florida National Guard for Ian’s response operations, and 2,000 more Guardsmen from Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina were activated to aid.

Florida municipal search and rescue teams were also preparing.

“We have five state teams that are activated with an additional five FEMA teams that are in the game,” said Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer at a news conference Tuesday night. “We have over 600 resources to bear in addition to these out-of-town teams.”

Wire-CNN
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