Tropical Storm Ian continued to blast across Florida Thursday morning, causing “catastrophic” flooding across east-central areas of the state, the National Hurricane Center said, warning that Ian could “produce life-threatening flooding, storm surge and gusty winds across parts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.”
Ian made landfall in southwest Florida as a major Category 4 hurricane, just shy of a Category 5, as one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States
It left people trapped in homes and large parts of the state without power. Nearly 2.6 million homes and businesses were in the dark shortly after 1 p.m. 8 ET, according to poweroutage.us.
The hurricane center said Ian’s center “is expected to move away from the east-central Florida coast soon and then approach the South Carolina coast on Friday. The center will move further inland over the Carolinas Friday night and Saturday. – Intensification is expected, and Ian may be near hurricane strength as it approaches the South Carolina coast on Friday. Weakening is expected Friday night and Saturday after Ian moves inland.”
The center said: “Widespread, life-threatening catastrophic and urban flooding, with major to record flooding along rivers, will continue across central Florida. Widespread significant urban and river flooding is expected across parts of northeast Florida, southeast Georgia and eastern South Carolina tomorrow through the weekend.”
From As of 8 a.m. ET Thursday, Ian’s center was about 40 miles east of Orlando and 10 miles west of Cape Canaveral. It was moving northeast at 8 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. Sustained winds of 74 mph are necessary for a storm to reach hurricane status.