Termed the deadliest storm in the history of the US, the former Category 4 hurricane made landfall west of Fort Myers near Cayo Costa shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday local time. Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm as it continued to move northeastward across central Florida. As per the broadcast by the US National Hurricane Centre, the tropical storm has weakened but is still expected to produce strong winds, heavy rains and storm surge across portions of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.
“This is going to be a tragic event,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Wednesday as the storm neared shore. “It’s something that is going to be there for days, weeks, months and unfortunately in some circumstances even years.” More than 2 million people fled the state while those laid back braced for blackouts and floods.
Ian’s strength at landfall tied it for the fifth-strongest hurricane when measured by wind speed to strike the U.S. It’s tied with five other hurricanes that reached 150 mph — two in Florida, two in Louisiana, and one in Texas.
Some city officials said they believed that as many as half of the city’s 205,000 residents may have decided to stay in their homes, despite mandatory evacuation orders for much of the city that had been issued Tuesday. The brunt of the storm was initially expected to hit farther north, in Tampa. They added that around 40,000 people occupied one-tenth of the shelter while some residents still inquired about the availability.