Climate

Hurricane Ian continues its damaging path after wreaking havoc in Florida

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One of the most powerful hurricanes to ever strike the United States, Ian, continues to cut a path of destruction. After devastating multiple areas of Florida, Ian has been downgraded to a tropical storm Thursday morning. However, it is expected to regain strength after turning northward of Cape Canaveral.

On Wednesday, September 28, Ian landed in western Florida as a dangerous Category 4 storm. The hurricane packed 150 mph winds as it hit near the barrier island of Cayo Costa, just west of Fort Myers. The center was over 100 miles south of Tampa, sparing the city from a direct impact.

Roads and bridges just north of Fort Myers are impassable, leaving many in need stranded. Governor Ron DeSantis confirmed that the Coast Guard has begun rescuing people who climbed to their rooftops. Even after the storm has passed over this area, floodwaters will likely continue to rise.

Millions of people across 12 counties do not have power supply as of today. At least one death has been reported, but based on 911 calls, DeSantis fears the unconfirmed toll could be “in the hundreds.”

Ian could make a second landfall on Friday, September 30. This time, South Carolina is in the dangerous storm’s crosshairs. As much as one foot (12 inches) of rain has been forecast for the Atlantic coast from northeast Florida up to the South Carolina low country. The entire South Carolina coast, up to the North Carolina border, is under a hurricane warning.

Acting preemptively, the governors of Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Virginia have declared states of emergency. Ian is expected to move inland over the Carolinas, with most of both states upgraded to a tropical storm warning. Up to six inches of rain could fall in southern Virginia, and the southern Appalachian Mountains could experience landslides.

As far inland as the Piedmont region of North Carolina could see 3-6 inches of rain and wind gusts of up to 50 mph through Sunday, October 2. However, the biggest concerns will be flash flooding and wind damage, especially in low-lying areas.

Cover Image: Orange County Fire Rescue’s Public Information Office via AP

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