Hurricane Ian barrels towards Florida as ‘extraordinarily harmful main hurricane’

Hurricane Ian continued to bear down on Florida’s Gulf Coast on Tuesday as an “extraordinarily harmful main hurricane” after it knocked out energy to all of Cuba, officers stated.

The Class 3 hurricane was transferring northeast Tuesday evening at 10 mph over the Gulf of Mexico and is predicted to cross west of the Florida Keys earlier than it slams right into a stretch of shoreline between Naples and Tampa on Wednesday, the Nationwide Hurricane Middle stated.

Gov. Ron DeSantis advised reporters late Tuesday that the most recent forecast observe appeared to point out the storm making landfall at Charlotte and Lee counties, south of Tampa.

The storm, which had sustained winds of 120 mph and a projected storm surge of as much as 12 toes in some areas, was forecast to strengthen in a single day, the Nationwide Hurricane Middle stated. 

Storm surge flooding was already occurring early Wednesday throughout the decrease Florida Keys, the middle stated.

Visitors strikes slowly Tuesday on Interstate 4 East in 4 Corners, Fla., as residents evacuate the Gulf Coast of Florida prematurely of the arrival of Hurricane Ian.Win McNamee / Getty Photos

Greater than 2 million folks alongside Florida’s Gulf Coast had been underneath evacuation orders, DeSantis stated.

He urged individuals who hadn’t left already to take action instantly and warned of the havoc the slow-moving storm may unleash throughout the state.

“When it really reaches landfall, it’s going to sluggish to a trickle,” DeSantis stated. “That’s going to dump an infinite quantity of rain on the state of Florida.”

Rain totals of 6 to eight inches had been forecast for a lot of the Florida Keys and South Florida. A foot to 18 inches was anticipated for the central and northeastern elements of the state, the hurricane heart stated.

DeSantis warned of attainable tornadoes that had been noticed on radar and stated bridges had been more likely to be closed Wednesday.

Hundreds of individuals within the southern a part of the state had already misplaced energy Tuesday evening — a quantity DeSantis stated would rapidly rise into the thousands and thousands by Wednesday.

The most recent on Hurricane Ian

  • The Class 3 storm was 95 miles from Naples, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, early Wednesday.
  • Ian knocked out energy to all of Cuba after making landfall Tuesday
  • Tropical storm-force winds have reached Florida’s southern peninsula.
  • About 2.5 million residents are underneath some kind of evacuation order in Florida.
  • Ian was producing storm surge flooding early Wednesday throughout the decrease Florida Keys.

In Cuba, the place Ian made landfall early Tuesday within the western province of Pinar del Río, all the island of 11.3 million folks was with out energy after the storm broken its energy grid, the nation’s nationwide electrical service stated Tuesday.

The company stated it anticipated energy to be restored Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

Reuters reported that violent wind gusts shattered home windows and ripped steel roofs off previous houses and buildings.

Roads into the areas immediately hit by the hurricane remained impassable, blocked by downed bushes and energy traces, Reuters reported.

Hirochi Robaina, the proprietor of a cigar manufacturing unit in Pinar del Río, posted practically two dozen photographs Tuesday on Fb displaying the wreckage the storm left behind.

“It was apocalyptic,” he stated. “An actual catastrophe.”

Michelle Acevedo and Carmen Gonzalez contributed.

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