(WGHP) — Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida after already bringing “catastrophic” winds and flooding to the state before driving north into the southeastern United States, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Around 3:15 p.m., Hurricane Ian made landfall at Cayo Costa, Florida. The storm had winds of 140 miles per hour after making landfall at 145 miles per hour as a Category 4 storm.
As of 10 p.m., the Category 2 storm is heading north-northeast at 8 mph. Wind speeds reduced when it hit land with max winds at 100 miles per hour.
“By tomorrow afternoon, it’ll be northeast of Orlando as a tropical storm, and then it will go back out in the Atlantic, and then it will start to hook back toward Hilton head and Savannah as we go into Friday afternoon,” FOX8 Chief Meteorologist Van Denton said. “And then it goes from Columbia back into western North Carolina as a depression…we’ll see our heaviest rain on Saturday night and some lingering rain on Sunday as well.”
Now that it’s made landfall, the storm will continue to weaken.
Wednesday night, the storm will likely move over central Florida, and it will likely cross into the western Atlantic by late Thursday.
The NHC says the storm will cross into the western Atlantic by late Thursday before turning north Friday and approaching the northeastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts late Friday. The center warns the storm could be near hurricane strength at that point.
Storm surges and the tide could cause flooding with water potentially rising as much as 12 feet in certain areas.
“Widespread, life-threatening catastrophic flash, urban and river flooding is expected across central Florida,” NHC reports. “Widespread considerable flash, urban and river flooding is expected across portions of southern Florida through Wednesday, and northeast Florida, southeastern Georgia and coastal South Carolina later this week through the weekend.”
The NHC has released the following estimates of heights water could reach if peak surge happens during high tide:
- Englewood to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor: 12-18 ft
- Middle of Longboat Key to Englewood: 6-10 ft
- Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee: 8-12 ft
- Chokoloskee to East Cape Sable: 5-8 ft
- Anclote River to Middle of Longboat Key, including Tampa Bay: 4-6 ft
- Suwannee River to Anclote River: 3-5 ft
- Lower Keys from Key West to Big Pine Key: 3-5 ft
- Flagler/Volusia County Line to Altamaha Sound: 4-6 ft
- Altamaha Sound to South Santee River: 3-5 ft
- St. Johns River north of Julington: 3-5 ft
- St. Johns River south of Julington: 2-4 ft
- East Cape Sable to Card Sound Bridge: 2-4 ft
- Florida Keys east of Big Pine Key: 2-4 ft
- Patrick Air Force Base to Flagler/Volusia County Line: 1-3 ft
- North of South Santee River to Surf City NC: 1-3 ft
- Dry Tortugas: 1-3 ft
Tornadoes are possible Wednesday across central and south Florida.
Watches and Warnings
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:
- Chokoloskee to Anclote River, including Tampa Bay
- Sebastian Inlet to Flagler/Volusia County Line
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:
- Suwannee River southward to Flamingo
- Tampa Bay
- Lower Florida Keys from Big Pine Key westward to Key West
- Flagler/Volusia Line to the mouth of the South Santee River
- St. Johns River
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
- Indian Pass to the Anclote River
- All of the Florida Keys
- Flamingo to Sebastian Inlet
- Flagler/Volusia County Line to Little River Inlet
- Flamingo to Chokoloskee
- Lake Okeechobee
- Florida Bay
- Bimini and Grand Bahama Islands
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:
- Florida Keys from the Card Sound Bridge westward to east of Big
- Florida Bay
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:
- Flagler/Volusia County Line to the South Santee River
- Lake Okeechobee