While Florida residents began stockpiling food, gathering emergency supplies, and preparing for evacuation last week, Hurricane Ian’s threat has only intensified.
As of today, Ian has sustained maximum winds of one hundred and fifty-five miles per hour. So even though the hurricane is currently a Category 4, the storm could become a Category 5 after it makes landfall.
“A storm of this magnitude will produce catastrophic flooding and life-threatening storm surges,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis warned in an address earlier this morning.
“This is going to be one of those historic storms. And it’s going to really shape the communities in southwest Florida and have a profound impact on our state. We just ask people for their thoughts and their prayers.”
As of early Wednesday afternoon, Ian has begun pounding the state’s western coast near Port Charlotte. And at close to a Category 5, Ian is currently the third most powerful storm to hit the United States in the last thirty years.
There are already over three hundred thousand power outages, with the largest incidences occurring in Sarasota, Collier, and Lee counties, where the eye of the storm is making its way ashore.
Over two and a half million residents were also ordered to evacuate earlier this week. However, those who opted to stay put are advised to remain in place at this point.
“It is no longer possible to safely evacuate. It is time to hunker down and prepare for this storm,” Governor DeSantis said.
In turn, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a preparation guide for weathering this brutal storm.