29 September 2022| 02 Rabi ul Awwal 1444
Hurricane Ian is making its way through Florida as a Category 1 storm after making landfall as a powerful Category 4 along the state’s southwestern coast Wednesday afternoon. The dangerously strong winds and torrential downpour have brought life-threatening storm surge and flooding to some areas.
The hurricane has weakened since it hit the coast, but officials are still urging residents to take shelter and remain alert as the worst of the storm is yet to come for many in its path.
After hitting the coast with 150 mph winds, Ian is now tied with Hurricane Charley in 2004 as the strongest storm to make landfall on the west coast of the Florida peninsula, according to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.
The storm could rank as one of the top five hurricanes to strike the peninsula, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Winds weakened to Category 1: By late Wednesday night, Hurricane Ian had slowed to a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm’s center was about 70 miles south of Orlando, Florida, at around 11 p.m. “Widespread, life-threatening catastrophic flooding, with major to record river flooding, will continue across portions of central Florida tonight,” the hurricane center noted.
- Storm is shifting toward the Atlantic: Ian’s center is expected to move over central Florida through Thursday morning and continue making its way north. By late Thursday, the National Hurricane Center forecasts the storm will emerge over the Atlantic and continue northward, impacting the northeastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts.
- Rescue efforts underway: The state is planning search and rescue efforts using air, ground and sea resources once it is safe to do so, Florida Department of Emergency Management director Kevin Guthrie said Wednesday. Some local emergency teams were unable to respond to calls for help because of dangerous storm conditions.
- Many residents are without power: More than 2 million customers in Florida are in the dark Wednesday night, mostly in the state’s southwest and central regions, according to outage tracker PowerOutage.us. Some counties in the area are also under boil water advisories due to compromised water infrastructure.
- Damage will be “life-changing,” official says: Repairing damaged power infrastructure could take days or weeks, said Eric Silagy, President and CEO of Florida Power & Light. Silagy said the storm would be a “life-changing event,” adding, “This is a very powerful, catastrophic storm that is going to do significant damage.”
Source – CNN