Hurricane Ian: Florida hit by one of the most powerful storms in US history | American News

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One of the strongest storms in US history has battered the southwest coast of Florida with sustained winds of up to 150 mph (241 km/h) and torrential rain.

Hurricane Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm, but was near peak level 5, when winds of at least 157 mph (252 kph) ).

“This storm is bigger than Florida” – Last Hurricane Ian

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Hurricane Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa in southwest Florida. Photo: AP/NOAA

The storm surge, which likely peaked, was as high as 12 feet (3.6 m) above ground level in some areas, and “life-threatening” flooding was predicted.

Ian was expected to dump 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) of rain over a wide area including Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville in the northeast corner of the state.

The town of Fort Myers Beach was nearly submerged in floodwaters and some homes could be seen floating downstream, along with cars.

US President Joe Biden said Ian was incredibly dangerous and urged residents to obey all storm warnings.

More than two million people were under evacuation orders.

Read more: ‘The water was way over our heads’: Residents recount their dramatic Hurricane Ian escape

Cayo Costa is about 90 miles (145 km) south of Tampa and just west of Fort Myers.

The landing zone has miles of sandy beaches, dozens of resort hotels and numerous mobile home parks.

Photo: Anthony John Calello Sr/Reuters
Image:
Photo: Anthony John Calello Sr/Reuters
Photo: JLN Photography/Shutterstock
Image:
Photo: JLN Photography/Shutterstock

Even as Ian hit the coast in the final hours before he disembarked, authorities warned residents it was too late for anyone who had not yet evacuated to do so safely.

The storm has now been downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane, but residents of central Florida could still experience strong winds.

People were told to treat the winds as if a tornado was approaching moving into an “inner room now”.

Photo: Anthony John Calello Sr/Reuters
Image:
Photo: Anthony John Calello Sr/Reuters

More than a million people affected by power cuts

About 1.8 million homes and businesses were without power.

Meanwhile, 20 people were missing off the coast of Florida after a Cuban migrant boat sank in the hurricane. Four migrants swam to shore in the Florida Keys and three others were rescued.

“Life-threatening flood disasters”

Tropical storm conditions began in the southern state Wednesday morning local time, and extreme conditions are expected to continue overnight.

Heavy rain will spread across the peninsula through Thursday and reach parts of the southeastern United States later this week and over the weekend.

About two-thirds of Florida is on the peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said: “Wide and life-threatening catastrophic flooding is expected in parts of central Florida with extensive flooding in southern Florida, northern Florida, southeast Florida. Georgia and coastal South Carolina.

“Widespread and prolonged moderate to major river flooding is expected in central Florida.”

Hurricane Ian
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Forecast track of Hurricane Ian in the coming days

‘One Wicked, Wicked Two Days’

Mr Biden said he spoke to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis about Ian on Tuesday, adding that the federal government had responded to all requests for help from the coastal state.

“It’s going to be a bad day, two days,” Mr. DeSantis said. “Probably, we think now, it will come out of the peninsula on Thursday.”

Read more:
Hurricane Ian tears Cuba apart
Hurricane Ian leaves millions in Cuba without power

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Hurricane brings storms to Florida

Cuba strives to restore power

Meanwhile, Cuban officials said they had started restoring some power after Ian knocked out power across the island while devastating some of the country’s most important tobacco plantations.

Ian hit the western tip of the island during a major storm.

It made landfall there on Tuesday as a Category 3 storm, causing flooding, damaged homes and trees toppled by high winds.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated and others fled the area before he arrived.

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