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Lots of had been feared lifeless Thursday and 1000’s of Floridians desperately sought rescue as traditionally highly effective Hurricane Ian hammered the state with heavy rain and powerful winds, one of many strongest storms in U.S. historical past.
The hurricane’s heart made landfall as a Class 4 monster Wednesday afternoon close to Cayo Costa, a barrier island simply west of closely populated Fort Myers in Lee County.
“Whereas I haven’t got confirmed numbers, I positively know the fatalities are within the tons of,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno mentioned on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America.” “There are millions of individuals which might be ready to be rescued.”
Pressed on the numbers, Marceno mentioned “up to now confirmed within the tons of. Which means that we’re responding to occasions, drownings. Once more, not sure of the precise particulars as a result of we’re simply beginning to scratch the floor on this evaluation.”
Emergency crews sawed by way of toppled timber to achieve individuals in flooded houses. “If the road is busy, hold attempting,” Marceno mentioned in a Fb submit early Thursday.
Greater than 2.5 Florida million houses and enterprise had been with out energy early Thursday.
Ian had weakened to a tropical storm however was forecast to proceed roaring throughout the state a lot of the day earlier than heading out into the Atlantic.The storm flooded whole communities, leaving residents stranded of their houses with battering 150-mph most sustained winds – simply 7 mph shy of a Class 5 hurricane, the strongest on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale.
Meteorologists with the Nationwide Hurricane Heart mentioned Ian will then flip northwest and strengthen to hurricane standing earlier than making landfall once more in South Carolina.
The storm beforehand tore into Cuba, killing two individuals and bringing down the nation’s electrical grid. No accidents or deaths have been reported in Florida.
►The U.S. Coast Guard was nonetheless looking for greater than 20 Cuban migrants after their boat sank in stormy climate close to the Florida Keys.
► Ian’s power at landfall tied it for the fifth-strongest hurricane when measured by wind velocity to strike the U.S. It is tied with 5 different hurricanes that reached 150 mph — two in Florida, two in Louisiana and one in Texas.
► Residents described the terror after a twister tore by way of a condominium advanced close to Delray Seashore, ripping off roofs and turning over autos. “I felt issues blow previous my head and face,” resident Jim Travis mentioned. “After I opened the door, my condominium was destroyed.” Learn extra.
GET TEXT UPDATES: Enroll right here for textual content updates on Hurricane Ian.
HURRICANE IAN TRACKER: The place is Ian headed? See the map.
IAN FORECAST: Ian prone to spend days dumping rain on Florida. This is the outlook.
Hurricane Ian tracker
As now Tropical Storm Ian continues to maneuver throughout Florida on Thursday, USA TODAY’s Hurricane Ian tracker will stay up to date and provide the newest have a look at the place the storm is headed.
Greater than 2.5 million Floridians with out energy
Greater than 2.5 million houses and companies throughout Florida had been with out energy early Thursday, in keeping with PowerOutage.us. Many of the houses and companies in 12 counties had been with out energy.
Sheriff Bull Prummell of Charlotte County, simply north of Fort Myers, introduced a curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. “for life-saving functions,” saying violators could face second-degree misdemeanor prices.
“I’m enacting this curfew as a way of defending the individuals and property of Charlotte County,” Prummell mentioned.
Hospital roof partially torn off, hearth station flooded: Injury in Florida
Elements of Florida’s Gulf Coast noticed main harm as Hurricane Ian swept by way of the state, damaging buildings and houses and flooding communities.
Water coursed by way of the streets of Naples, creating large waves that made roads impassable and flooded town’s hearth division. A video posted by Naples Fireplace-Rescue confirmed crews working to salvage gear and firetrucks in additional than 3 ft of water. In Cape Coral, about 30 miles up the coast, images confirmed a sailboat washed up in the course of a street close to houses.
Close by Fort Myers noticed intense storm surge flooding coastal communities and the world round WINK Information, an area CBS affiliate. Movies confirmed water reaching automotive windshields within the studio’s car parking zone and among the storm surge leaking into the constructing.
Farther north alongside the coast, intense storm surge flooded a hospital’s decrease degree emergency room in Port Charlotte, whereas fierce winds ripped away a part of the roof from its intensive care unit, in keeping with a health care provider who works there.
WHAT IS STORM SURGE?Explaining a hurricane’s deadliest and most damaging menace
Water gushed down from above onto the ICU, forcing workers to evacuate the hospital’s sickest sufferers – a few of whom had been on ventilators – to different flooring, mentioned Dr. Birgit Bodine of HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital. Employees members used towels and plastic bins to attempt to mop up the sodden mess.
Officers warned flash floods had been potential throughout the state, which might result in air pollution and radioactive waste overflow.
SAFFIR-SIMPSON WIND SPEED SCALE:Breaking down wind velocity scale for hurricanes.
HOW DOES HURRICANE IAN COMPARE:Class 5 hurricanes are uncommon. Is Ian’s punch the worst U.S. has seen?
Contributing: Kate Cimini, USA As we speak Community-Florida; Related Press