Home News Hurricane Ian strengthens into a Category 4 storm on its way to Florida as residents warned to get out now

Hurricane Ian strengthens into a Category 4 storm on its way to Florida as residents warned to get out now


Hurricane Ian continued to batter the Florida peninsula with a catastrophic trifecta of excessive winds, heavy rain and historic storm surge Wednesday evening, even because it weakened to a Class 2 storm, the Nationwide Hurricane Middle stated.

Amid widespread flooding, property harm, energy outages and water-rescue calls, and with the slow-moving hurricane inching inland hours after making landfall alongside Florida’s susceptible western shoreline, officers throughout the state continued to difficulty dire warnings to residents to remain inside.

The storm surge alongside the west coast of Florida has peaked and is starting to recede because the storm strikes inland, based on the hurricane heart.

Nevertheless, “water ranges are fairly excessive in these areas nonetheless and so it would take a while for the water to recede,” Cody Fritz, storm surge specialist on the Nationwide Hurricane Middle, warned.

“There’s nonetheless loads of onshore circulate alongside the coast maintaining water ranges elevated, so whereas the height surge values will lower right here relative to earlier worth, I nonetheless anticipate waters to be up for awhile and the necessity to preserve the storm surge warnings,” Fritz stated.

In Collier County, authorities have been inundated with water rescue calls. The Sheriff’s Workplace stated it’s in “name triage mode” and getting quite a few calls of individuals trapped by water.

“At this level nearly all of our 911 calls are water rescues,” Collier County Sheriff’s Workplace Chief Stephanie Spell informed CNN in a cellphone name.

Spell couldn’t specify what number of calls have are available in right now nor touch upon accidents.

“Water is in all places,” based on a Sheriff’s Workplace assertion late Wednesday, which added that “our East Naples deputies did 30 rescue missions in the present day. We’re nonetheless accumulating numbers from different areas. We’re nonetheless rescuing individuals.”

“Some are reporting life threatening medical emergencies in deep water. We’ll get to them first. Some are reporting water coming into their home however not life threatening. They should wait. Presumably till the water recedes,” a publish on the county’s Fb web page learn.

To make issues worse, the Lee County’s 911 system is down and calls are be rerouted to Collier County Sheriff, based on the publish. “You may’t think about the calls,” the publish learn.

A compulsory curfew was put in place for all of Collier County starting at 10 p.m. Wednesday and ending at 6 a.m. Thursday, the county authorities tweeted Wednesday.

Lee and Charlotte counties have additionally carried out curfews. Lee County’s started at 6 p.m. and is in place till additional discover, whereas Charlotte County’s begins at 9 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m.

In Punta Gorda, CNN’s Randi Kaye took shelter in a parking storage as she described how the streets have been devoid of individuals and vehicles. Bushes have been both knocked down or standing and stripped naked. Particles is also seen flying down the road and the one car seen within the metropolis had “STORMCHASER” written on the aspect.

The storm made landfall as a Class 4 close to Cayo Costa round 3:05 p.m., with winds close to 150 mph, based on the hurricane heart. At this level, Hurricane Ian is tied for the strongest storm to make landfall on the west coast of the Florida peninsula, matching the wind pace of Hurricane Charley in 2004. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stated Wednesday Ian will rank as one of many prime 5 hurricanes to ever hit the Florida peninsula, behind Hurricanes Andrew (1992) and Michael (2018).

Practically 2 million Florida utility prospects have been with out energy as of 6 p.m., based on PowerOutage.us. Officers in Cape Coral and Punta Gorda reported important impacts, and the storm surge set information for the very best water ranges ever noticed in Fort Myers and Naples.

“The storm surge could be very important. We’re seeing vehicles and boats float down the road. We’re seeing bushes practically bent in half,” Frank Loni, an architect from California staying in Fort Myers Seashore for the storm, stated noon Wednesday. “There’s fairly a little bit of chaos on the streets.”

DeSantis stated storm surge from Ian has hit as much as 12 toes in some areas.”It’s our meteorologist’s view that the storm surge has probably peaked and will probably be much less within the coming hours,” he stated.


Ian is anticipated to retain hurricane energy by the day and into tomorrow as the middle of the storm strikes northeast over the Florida Peninsula, passing near Orlando and Daytona Seashore, earlier than shifting again into the Atlantic Ocean Thursday afternoon. Hurricane warnings have been issued for not solely southwest Florida, but in addition a lot of central Florida from coast to coast.

A lot of different climate advisories have additionally been issued all through Florida. A flash flood emergency impacting greater than 300,000 individuals is in impact south central Sarasota county, southeast Manatee, northwest Desoto, Hardee, and northwest Highlands counties by 10:45 p.m..

An excessive wind warning is in impact for Sebrin, Avon Park and Arcadia till 9:30 p.m. for terribly harmful hurricane winds because the storm passes.

‘The worst storm I’ve ever seen’

Water ranges in Fort Myers rose greater than 6 toes over the span of seven hours and have been nonetheless rising as sturdy winds proceed to push water from the Gulf of Mexico ashore, based on CNN Meteorologist Brandon Miller.

“I’ve been right here for the reason that mid-70s, that is truly — by far — the worst storm I’ve ever seen,” Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson informed CNN’s Jake Tapper.

About 96% of Fort Myers is with out electrical energy, Anderson informed CNN’s Anderson Cooper late Wednesday. The mayor doesn’t understand how many individuals didn’t heed evacuation orders, however there are hundreds at the moment in shelters.

Anderson additionally emphasised that it’s nonetheless unsafe to be outdoors and that individuals ought to steer clear of floodwaters.

“There’s no telling what’s in these waters, they don’t seem to be protected. you may step on particles. , there’s runoff from sewers and simply — it’s simply not a very good state of affairs,” he stated.

Jennifer Dexter, a spokesperson for the city of Fort Myers Seashore, informed CNN backup water pumps are down.

“When the backup water pump system goes down, that exhibits you the way severe it’s,” Dexter stated. A boil water discover went into impact as a result of storm surge, lack of energy and harm to the backup turbines for the ingesting water provide.

President Biden spoke with the mayor Wednesday, the White Home stated in an announcement. The 2 leaders “mentioned Fort Myers’ ongoing wants together with assist for the aged members of the neighborhood, households that dwell in cell houses and different neighborhood members who’re significantly susceptible to the impacts of the storm,” based on a readout of the decision supplied by the White Home.

The President additionally tried to succeed in the mayors of Cape Coral, Sarasota and the Chair of Charlotte County, Florida, however was unable to succeed in them and left messages as a substitute, the White Home stated.

In Tampa, Mayor Jane Castor urged residents Wednesday to shelter in place, saying the worst of the storm is “but to come back.”

“We predict that we’re going to get nearly all of the rain and the upper winds beginning about 8 p.m. and so they’re going to final all through the evening,” she stated. “We’re nonetheless anticipating widespread flooding all through our metropolis, and wherever from tropical storm wind speeds to the probably of class one hurricane wind speeds.”

Castor stated that officers predict flooding someday within the subsequent 24 hours.

“We’re going to see the continued rain, the rain will enhance dramatically after which that water goes to come back again into the Bay as Hurricane Ian continues its northeasterly trajectory.”

Additional south, The Olde Naples Seaport, a neighborhood of condos that overlooks the Naples Bay, was consumed by storm surge, based on video shot by Graham Pederson. Pederson skilled knee-high water attempting to flee.

In one other video shot from the second ground, wind is seen whipping bushes and vehicles practically submerged by the water. Pederson retreated to the second ground to attend out the storm, his brother-in-law Kyle Wendel informed CNN.

DeSantis stated Wednesday requires assist are coming into a number of counties because of the storm. The governor stated emergency responders have acquired calls from individuals in evacuation zones that didn’t evacuate. These calls are being logged, he stated.

“Native first responders will deploy as quickly because it’s protected to take action,” DeSantis stated. “By and huge till the storm passes, they don’t seem to be going to enter a state of affairs for rescue and put their very own of us in danger.”

DeSantis requested Biden approve a significant catastrophe declaration for all 67 counties within the state as a result of Hurricane Ian, his workplace stated in a information launch. DeSantis can also be requesting that the President grant FEMA the authority to supply 100% federal value share for particles elimination and emergency protecting measures for the primary 60 days from Ian’s landfall.

Ian already producing document water surge ranges

A lot of west-central Florida and locations inland face “historic” storm surge, rain and crushing winds. “This can be a wind storm and a surge storm and a flood storm, multi functional,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers stated.

Photos and video have confirmed intensive flooding in coastal neighborhoods in Naples and Fort Myers Seashore.

Storm surge started rising late Wednesday morning — greater than 4.5 toes above regular highest tides was recorded earlier than midday in Naples, already increased than the earlier document there of 4.02 toes from Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Necessary evacuations have been ordered for flood-prone areas on the coast, and the Nationwide Climate Service warned those that stayed behind to maneuver to higher flooring in case of rising water ranges.

Ian’s risks nonetheless embody:

• Storm surge: Some 12 to 18 toes of seawater pushed onto land was predicted Wednesday for the coastal Fort Myers space, from Englewood to Bonita Seashore, forecasters stated. Solely barely much less is forecast for a stretch from Bonita Seashore right down to close to the Everglades (8 to 12 toes), and from close to Bradenton to Englewood (6 to 10 toes), forecasters stated.

Decrease — however nonetheless life-threatening — surge is feasible elsewhere, together with north of Tampa and alongside Florida’s northeast coast close to Jacksonville.

• Winds: Southwest Florida is dealing with “catastrophic wind harm” from ongoing hurricane-force winds. Winds close to the core of Hurricane Ian may exceed 140 mph, with increased gusts, the hurricane heart stated. A number of places, together with Sanibel Island, recorded wind gusts above 100 mph.

• Flooding rain: 12 to 30 inches of rain may fall in central and northeastern Florida — together with Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville. That makes for a top-of-scale danger for flooding rainfall throughout this space. This quantity of rain would normally be two to a few months’ price, however is now falling in lower than two days, based on CNN meteorologist Gene Norman.

“As this storm passes your neighborhood, perceive that is nonetheless a hazardous state of affairs” due to downed powerlines, misuse of turbines and standing water, Gov. DeSantis stated throughout a Wednesday night information convention.

The place the hurricane is headed

Ian’s heart is anticipated to maneuver over central Florida by Thursday morning. Heavy rain and flooding additionally is feasible in southern Florida, Georgia and coastal South Carolina. The governors of Virginia, North and South Carolina have already declared states of emergency of their respective states.

Storm warnings have expanded northward to North Carolina, based on the Nationwide Hurricane Middle’s 5 p.m. replace. A tropical storm warning has been prolonged to Surf Metropolis and a tropical storm watch has been issued from north of Surf Metropolis to Cape Lookout, North Carolina.

A storm surge watch has been issued north of South Santee River, South Carolina, to Little River Inlet.

As a result of Ian slowly approached land, the worst circumstances may stay over some areas for eight or extra hours.

“Widespread, life-threatening catastrophic flash, city, and river flooding is anticipated” throughout central and southern Florida, the hurricane heart stated.

By late Thursday, Ian is because of emerge over the Atlantic Ocean, the place it may strengthen once more and have an effect on one other a part of the US.

Previous to nearing Florida, Hurricane Ian pummeled Cuba on Tuesday, leaving no less than two useless and an islandwide blackout. The US Coast Guard stated it has rescued no less than three individuals off the Florida coast, about 2 miles south of Boca Chica.

“They have been dropped at the native hospital for signs of exhaustion and dehydration. Air crews are nonetheless looking,” the Coast Guard stated in a tweet.

In line with US Border Patrol Chief for the Miami Sector, the company has been trying to find greater than 20 migrants after the arrival of Cubans who swam to shore after their boat sank as a result of Ian.

After the devastation in Cuba, greater than 2.5 million individuals in Florida have been suggested to flee, together with 1.75 million beneath obligatory evacuation orders — no small ask in a state with a big aged inhabitants.

Officers put together for post-storm rescue

Legislation enforcement officers across the state warned that individuals who stayed behind in evacuation areas can not anticipate rescuers to answer requires assist in the course of the storm when winds are excessive.

“In case you name for assist, as soon as we pull (officers) off the street … we’re not coming. … We’re not placing individuals in peril when (others) didn’t heed the obligatory evacuation order,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri stated Wednesday.

Not everybody moved. Chelsye Napier, of Fort Myers, stayed dwelling together with her fiance and cats regardless of being in an evacuation zone, she informed CNN Wednesday. They waited “as a result of we don’t know anybody down right here,” and finally determined to remain put, she stated.

“If something occurs, we’ve all the things that we want right here. We’ve obtained meals, we obtained water. We now have all the things that we want right here,” she stated. “So it’s all OK for proper now. We’ll see, although, afterward.”

As tens of millions have been informed evacuate, 176 shelters opened statewide and lodges and Airbnbs opened to individuals leaving evacuation zones, DeSantis stated.

Native governments and state businesses additionally ready these dwelling in nursing houses and different senior care services to evacuate. Florida has round 6 million residents over the age of 60, based on the state’s Division of Elder Affairs — practically 30% of its complete inhabitants.

Authorities additionally readied companies to fan out and reply to requires rescue after which, within the aftermath of the hurricane, for restoration and restore efforts.

Practically 400 ambulances, buses and assist autos have been responding to areas the place the hurricane was anticipated to make landfall, based on the governor’s workplace.

DeSantis activated 5,000 Florida Nationwide Guard members for Ian’s response operations, and a couple of,000 extra guardsmen from Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina have been being activated to help.

Florida city search and rescue groups additionally have been prepping.

“We now have 5 state groups which might be activated with further 5 FEMA groups which might be in play,” Florida Chief Monetary Officer Jimmy Patronis stated at a information convention Tuesday evening. “We now have over 600 assets to bear along with these out-of-town groups.”

Assistance is coming from out of state, too. At the least 26 states have answered the decision for help by Florida, DeSantis stated Wednesday night, together with Alabama and Louisiana.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards tweeted Wedensday his state has already despatched “important assets” to Florida.

“We’re additionally ready to ship further assist as soon as harm evaluation begins,” Edwards’ tweet learn.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey tweeted her state despatched Blackhawk helicopters to assist. Tennessee and Louisiana additionally despatched assets to help in search and rescue.

“In the event that they want it and we’ve obtained it, then we’re going to ship it,” Ivey tweeted.

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