Hurricane Ian made landfall near Florida’s Punta Gorda yesterday as a category 4 storm, bringing huge storm surges and high winds. It has since weakened into a tropical storm but is predicted to continue flooding parts of Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Since the storm has moved over the state, Ian has dropped torrential rainfall across several cities. Homes and businesses have been destroyed by the strong winds and flooding, and more than 2.5 million households across Florida are without electricity as of Thursday morning. President Joe Biden declared a “major disaster” in the state, opening up federal funding for relief.
Lee and Charlotte Counties, which are some of the worst affected, faced the brunt of the storm surge and winds. Some people have had to be rescued from rooftops in those areas. Over in Port Charlotte, a hospital suffered severe damages, the Associated Press reported. An emergency room was inundated, and winds tore a fourth floor roof of the building. Patients and staff had to evacuate to a middle floor to wait for rescue workers. Earlier this week, the storm left all of Cuba in the dark.
Though the storm seems to be weakening in intensity, it is expected to strengthen once it is over the ocean again, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is likely to make it to the Carolinas, and coastal South Carolina is under a hurricane warning in anticipation of Ian’s arrival.