A powerful storm made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, flooding parts of the coastline as it began moving through the populous US state.
Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwestern Florida at about 3:05 p.m. ET and caused “storm surge, wind and catastrophic flooding”, said the National Hurricane Center. With maximum sustained winds of 150mph, it is rated 4, the second strongest on a five-point scale by meteorologists.
Millions of Florida residents are being ordered to evacuate, though state governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday morning said it was too late to leave Collier, Lee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties, where the storm was hitting.
Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest electricity supplier, has warned of “major damage to electrical infrastructure” and predicts parts of the system will need to be rebuilt after Ian’s departure. via.
The “devastating storm” will be “the storm we talk about for years to come,” said Ken Graham, director of the National Weather Service.
The US National Weather Service said storm surges of 12ft to 18ft are expected to make landfall from Englewood to Bonita. Tampa Bay, however, dried up Wednesday morning as the storm’s counterclockwise winds blew out to sea.