Hurricane Ian became an “extremely dangerous”Storm with sustained winds of 155 mph early Wednesday, just hours before it was expected to make landfall on the southwestern coast of Florida. About 2.5 million people when the hurricane began pummeling the Florida panhandle with heavy rain and tropical storm force winds in the early hours.
The strengthening of the storm overnight was “really significant,” the Florida governor said. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference Wednesday morning. And emergency management directors in Southwest Florida are now preparing for and expecting a Category 5 hurricane, said Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
“This is going to be a nasty, nasty day, two days,” DeSantis said.
Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg were among the cities bracing for the worst of the storm, but the latest suggested forecasts Ian would make landfall a little further south, with the Ft. Myers region at risk of a possible direct hit. Given the size and strength of the hurricane and the storm surge expected to hit coastal areas, officials were clear that much of Florida remained at risk.
Life-threatening impacts are expected and power outages will occur, according to authorities.
Ian crossed western Cuba on Tuesday with sustained winds of up to 125 mph.leaving the entire country in the dark on Wednesday morning.