Hurricane Ian made landfall on Wednesday afternoon, causing over one million power outages for Floridians.
BREAKING: Hurricane Ian has made landfall near Cayo Costa, Florida, as a massive Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. Follow our live updates. https://t.co/SX5l0AoJoQ pic.twitter.com/TBoRg2g0qC
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 28, 2022
According to the National Hurricane Center, the effects of Ian will be on a catastrophic level, with winds, flooding, and a storm surge expected to devastate Florida.
Early Wednesday morning, there had only been 35,000 power outages, and just hours later, the number reached seven figures, with the majority of outages occurring in Sarasota, Collier, and Lee counties.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) urged Floridians to prepare for the worst.
“If you are in any of those counties, it’s no longer possible to safely evacuate,” said DeSantis. “It’s time to hunker down and prepare for this storm.”
“This is going to be a nasty, nasty day, two days,” he warned. “[T]his is going to be a rough stretch.”
On Wednesday, the storm winds had reached 155 miles per hour as the storm neared Naples, Florida. Ian made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, just short of being classified as a Category 5, before weakening to a Category 3.
The eye of the hurricane initially made landfall at 3:05 p.m. EST near Cayo Costa State Park, north of Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Eighteen years ago, Hurricane Charley made landfall in the same location.
State Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie cautioned citizens about being deceived by the eye of the storm.
“You’re most likely to have [a] bright sunshiny area here very soon,” explained Guthrie. “You’re in the eye of the storm.”
“Stay inside, stay indoors,” said Guthrie. “Do not go outside. That eyewall will collapse, so please stay safe.”
In addition to the threat of tornadoes, officials are concerned about the likelihood of flash floods.
“Flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations is imminent or occurring,” stated the National Weather Service in a flood warning issued Wednesday afternoon.
DeSantis expressed his appreciation to the Biden administration “for responding in this time of need.”
“We have everything we need in terms of the immediate response needs, but there will be thousands of Floridians who will need help rebuilding,” he said.
DeSantis detailed that state officials are ready to help Florida recover once the storm passes, with 250 aircrafts, 1,600 high water vehicles, and more than 300 boats waiting to be put to use.