Ian Slams Florida
More than 2.5 million people are without power this morning in Florida after Hurricane Ian made landfall as a powerful Category 4 storm along the state's Gulf Coast yesterday afternoon. The system reached maximum sustained wind speeds of 155 mph—two miles per hour short of Category 5 status—before arriving just north of Fort Myers. No US deaths had been reported as of this morning, though search and rescue teams have been slowed by weather conditions.
The storm's counterclockwise spin pulled water out of Tampa Bay (see video) while inundating areas along Florida's southwestern coast, with between 12 and 16 feet of storm surge in some locations. The effect, generated by the force of the wind pushing excess water onto land, caused dislodged a number of buildings in the Fort Myers area. As of this morning the storm had been downgraded to a tropical storm.
Ian is expected to traverse the peninsula to the Atlantic Ocean, then bend back over the Carolinas and head toward the Midsouth and Midwest over the weekend. See its trajectory here.