Hurricane Ian tracker: Storm batters Florida as 2 million left without power
Florida has been hit by one of the most powerful storms in US history, with hurricane Ian unleashing 150mph winds, torrential rain and knocking out the power for more than two million people, as some residents were told “the worst is yet to come”.
The Category 4 hurricane barrelled onshore at Cayo Costa just after 3pm local time on Wednesday (8pm BST) and shot towards the city of Fort Myers, where cars were submerged, power lines were downed and roads were turned into rivers.
In nearby Naples, dramatic videos showed entire homes being swept away in catastrophic flooding, as storm surges of up to 18 feet forced water onshore.
Now, the 140-mile wide system is crawling inland towards Orlando at just 9mph, which is seeing towns and cities suffer sustained punishment.
“This is going to be a storm we talk about for many years to come,” said National Weather Service director Ken Graham. “It’s a historic event.”
Gusts of up to 190mph have ripped the roofs of homes and spread debris over a large area. Storm surges of between 12 to 18 feet may be felt across more than 250 miles of coastline and as much as 24 inches of rainfall is expected in the next 48 hours.
“This is going to be a nasty nasty day, two days,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said.