Hurricane Ian’s “extremely dangerous” eyewall moves onshore in southwest Florida

Hurricane Ian’s “extremely dangerous” eyewall was moving onshore in southwest Florida late Wednesday morning, just hours after it grew into a Category 4 storm. It was packing sustained winds of 155 mph — making it just shy of a Category 5 hurricane, which is the most powerful storm possible.

Ian’s eyewall was moving onshore at Sanibel and Captiva islands and is forecast to make landfall Wednesday afternoon before moving over central Florida late Wednesday and Thursday, according to forecasters.

“Ian will cause catastrophic storm surge, winds, and flooding in the Florida peninsula soon,” the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 am advisory.

About 2.5 million people were under mandatory evacuation orders as the hurricane started lashing the Florida peninsula with heavy rain and tropical-storm-force winds in the early hours of Wednesday. Strengthening of the storm overnight was “really, really significant,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at press conference. And emergency management directors in southwest Florida were preparing for – and expecting – a Category 5 hurricane, said Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

“This is gonna be a nasty, nasty day – two days,” DeSantis said.

Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg were among the cities bracing for the worst of the storm, but the latest forecasts suggested Ian would make landfall slightly further south, with the Ft. Myers region at risk of a possible direct hit. Given the size and strength of the hurricane and the storm surge it’s expected to drive into coastal areas, officials were clear that much of Florida remained at risk.

Life-threatening impacts are expected and power outages are occurring.

Ian tore across western Cuba on Tuesday with sustained winds up to 125 mph. damage from the storm knocked Cuba’s power grid offlineleaving the entire country in the dark Wednesday morning.

The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore on Hurricane Ian’s path



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