AccuWeather.com is wrapping up live coverage on Ian’s impacts in the United States. AccuWeather forecasters say what’s left of Ian will help produce wet and raw weather in the Northeast into early this coming week. Thank you for staying up to date with the storm on AccuWeather.com. For additional coverage, stream AccuWeather NOW anytime on our website. Stay up to date on the latest weather in your area by downloading the AccuWeather mobile app and visiting AccuWeather.com. And keep an eye on weather news and forecasts by following AccuWeather on Facebook, AccuWeather Twitter and Breaking Weather Twitter, as well as Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.
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As of Saturday afternoon, millions still remain without power after Hurricane Ian made three U.S. landfalls and wreaked havoc on multiple states. Just over 1.2 million people remained without power in Florida, according to PowerOutage.US. The majority of Florida’s power outages were concentrated to the southwest corner of the state — where Ian made its first two U.S. landfalls. In North Carolina, over 200,000 customers were still without power, as of Saturday morning. On the southern boarder of North Carolina, Carroll County accounted for the majority of the outages, with more than 9,000 homes and businesses in the dark. Virginia had just under 62,000 customers without power, and just over 30,000 were in the dark in South Carolina.
The long, winding, destructive path of Ian was illustrated through a Zoom Earth graphic Friday. The moving graphic shows Ian through its formation in the Caribbean, followed by the storm’s movement through Cuba, southwestern Florida, and eventually the third U.S. landfall in South Carolina.
One metric meteorologists use to gauge the overall intensity of a tropical cyclone is ACE, or the accumulated cyclone energy of each named storm in a hurricane season. The statistic takes a storm's intensity and duration into account. During Ian’s lifetime as a tropical cyclone -- from Sept. 24 when it was named through Sept. 30 when it lost its tropical storm status -- Ian, having topped out at Category 4 strength, racked up an ACE value of 17.4, which makes it the second-strongest tropical cyclone of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, according to figures tracked by Colorado State University. Only Fiona, which was a major hurricane as well, finished with a higher ACE value, 26.4, than Ian. Fiona remained a tropical cyclone for three more days than Ian did.
For the Atlantic season as a whole, September was a month of furious tropical activity – particularly coming on the heels of August, which, for the first time in 25 years featured no named systems. Storms in September 2022 generated a higher ACE value than the previous two Septembers, according to Colorado State University meteorologist Philip Klotzbach. Despite the wild finish to the month, however, the overall ACE value at the beginning of October, 79.1 on the first day of the month, still trails what’s considered normal for this point of a hurricane season -- a mark of 95.5.
“Conditions have dramatically improved,” Tony Laubach, AccuWeather national reporter said in a live update from Charleston, South Carolina. Laubach noted the sun was shining, and winds were “much, much calmer” Saturday morning, compared to Friday morning when Ian was wreaking havoc on the city. On Friday, wind gusts over 80 mph were reported across Charleston as trees knocked down power lines, causing thousands in the Palmetto state to lose power. In Charleston, quiet weather conditions, with temperatures in the upper 60s to mid-70s will persist into next week, allowing for good conditions for cleanup efforts.
Clear blue skies hover over Charleston, South Carolina, with eerily calm weather just a day after Hurricane Ian swept through the area with drenching rain, storm surge and flooding on Oct. 1.
There are now just two months left in the Atlantic hurricane season, and October is beginning on a quieter note. Following five named storms in September, including four hurricanes, there are no active systems over the basin at this time, AccuWeather forecasters say. The only immediate area of potential development is in the far eastern Atlantic, near the coast of Africa.
“There is now a high chance that a tropical wave south of the Cabo Verde Islands will develop into an organized tropical system. However, it looks like any system should remain over the open waters of the eastern Atlantic,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said. The next named storm in the basin this season will be called Julia.
Supplies have been running low in Florida communities damaged by Ian, specifically fuel. “There is no power, we don’t even hear the hum of generators here … people that ran out of fuel, that means nothing left to have their generators running,” AccuWeather National Reporter Bill Wadell said during a broadcast update on the AccuWeather Network in Bonita Springs Friday evening. “People that have ran out of gas in their cars, they can’t get around, and that’s if they’re lucky enough to have a car that still works.”Very few gas stations were open Friday, as people waited over an hour to use pumps at a Sam’s Club in Fort Myers, leading to some heated moments. “We heard about fights at the gas station, people getting knocked out, stuff like that,” said Lindsey Walsh, who walked four miles with a friend in order to fill up a single gas canister.
Local law enforcement was called in to the few gas stations available in order to help with traffic, and to calm down those who didn’t get gas. Wadell said that people venturing back into storm-stricken communities should be “overly prepared” with supplies such as fuel, and to be mindful of employees that are making sacrifices in a rough time.
Police were on hand to de-escalate conflicts when gas pumps ran empty just as drivers arrived after spending much of their day waiting.
As Hurricane Ian caused havoc across South Carolina on Friday, the storm brought with it a wave of destruction. The Cherry Grove Pier located in North Myrtle Beach was one of the structures damaged by the hurricane. As the storm came through, the pier partially collapsed as flood waters rose across areas of the state. Video shows the intensive storm surge rushing ashore and swallowing everything in its path as it flooded into the city.
As Ian made its third landfall in the U.S. on Sept. 30, flooding coursed through North Myrtle Beach.
Nearly 20 hours after Ian made landfall in South Carolina, the system, now deemed a tropical rainstorm by AccuWeather, presented as a disorganized mess on radar as it spread rain from Kentucky to New Hampshire. Ian is expected to bring impacts up the spine of the Appalachians and into parts of the Northeast. AccuWeather forecasters warn that Ian will also play a role in the development of a new coastal storm that will bring prolonged wet, windy and cool weather to the Northeast late this weekend and into early next week. As of 11 a.m. EDT Saturday, Ian was about 160 miles (260 km) west-southwest of Richmond, Virginia, moving north-northeast at 10 mph with maximum sustained winds of 25 mph.
This radar image from Saturday morning, Oct. 1, 2022, shows rain from Ian dampening portions of the mid-Atlantic and southeast New England. (AccuWeather)
After closing down due to the impacts of Ian, two of Florida’s top tourist destinations are continuing their reopening process. On Friday evening, Walt Disney World Resort announced that all four Walt Disney World theme parks and Disney Springs are now open, after officials stated earlier this week that the parks would be closed Wednesday and Thursday to ensure the safety of its cast and guests. Meanwhile, Universal Orlando Resort announced it will reopen the resort and the Halloween Horror Nights event to all guests on Saturday. “Our hearts continue to be with all those impacted by Hurricane Ian and we are grateful for the hard work of our team members during this challenging time,” resort officials stated on Twitter.
Fort Myers Mayor Ray Murphy told residents to hang in there, that this too shall pass after Hurricane Ian swept through their beautiful island community. “There’s no way to sugarcoat it, there’s just a hell of a lot to do down here,” Murphy said during a short Facebook update he provided residents on Friday. “But we’re up to the task … Good news is that the island is crawling with emergency people right now” to help the town. He added that emergency crews and contractors from out-of-state have been pouring in. One silver lining is the reopening of the local beach, which is expected to happen Monday if all goes well, the mayor said.In closing out his mini-report, he said they will find the strength to soldier on: “As Winston Churchill said, ‘When you’re going through hell, just keep going’ and that’s what we’re going to do.”
A section of Interstate 75 in Punta Gorda, Florida, was closed on Friday due to rising water levels in the Myakka River, according to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The closure of a 14-mile stretch on I-75 resulted in a sea of red lights as cars inched slowly off the highway Friday evening. The Myakka River was still well above flood stage as of Saturday morning, according to NOAA. Flood stage for the Myakka River is 7 feet, but river levels on Saturday were reported at 12.65 feet. According to the river level forecast, it is expected to dip below flood stage by midday Sunday. In a traffic update shared on social media, local ABC 7 traffic reporter Holly Harper mapped out an alternative route for motorists to take. FDOT plans to reopen that section of I-75 once water levels recede.
Nearly three days removed from Ian’s landfall in the state, Florida remains rife with power outages as of Saturday morning. According to PowerOutage.US, there were over 1.2 million outages in Florida as of Saturday morning, with a heavy concentration still found in the southwest corridor of the Sunshine State. Lee County accounts for 348,958 outages, nearly 74% of the county’s population, while Charlotte (77.55%) and Hardee (84.58%) counties still had over three-quarters of their populations without power. North Carolina had over 320,000 outages Saturday morning, with one of the state’s northwestern counties, Guilford, accounting for the most (45,377 out). Virginia had 97,790 outages as of Saturday morning, while South Carolina was at 62,161.
The death toll continues to grow in Ian’s wake. As of Saturday morning, at least 30 people have died from Hurricane Ian, including 27 from Florida, The Associated Press reported. Three deaths occurred in Cuba before the Ian made landfall in the U.S. The AP noted that most deaths were from drowning, but others were from the storm’s aftereffects. The death toll is expected to increase once officials are able to search some of the hardest-hit areas.
Hurricane Ian made landfall on the South Carolina coast early Friday afternoon, bringing with it record-challenging storm surge, fierce winds, mounting power outages and flooding rainfall across parts of both North and South Carolina. The highest wind gust reported in the Carolinas on Friday came from Shutes Folly, South Carolina, where a 92 mph wind gust was recorded. Up north in North Carolina, a storm surge of 3-6 feet was reported in Wrightsville Beach, which is preliminarily the highest on record. Over 8 inches of rain fell in Charleston, South Carolina, and at the height of the power outages in the region, over 600,000 tracked customers were without electricity.
The Artemis 1 rocket stands ready for launch on Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. No damage was noted to the flight hardware after an initial inspection post-Ian. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
After conducting an initial inspection, teams at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida confirmed there was no damage to Artemis flight hardware. NASA also reported all facilities were in good shape and only minor water intrusion was found in a few locations. "Next, engineers will extend access platforms around the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to prepare for additional inspections and start preparation for the next launch attempt," NASA said in an online statement. The launch period for Artemis I is now set to open on Nov. 12 and lasts until Nov. 27.
Sarasota County Schools announced all schools will remain closed on Monday and until further notice. Teams have been assessing damage to schools and facilities caused by Hurricane Ian. "Sadly, there has been much devastation in our county and schools including massive power outages, down power lines, flooding, cellular and cable outages, basic water and plumbing issues," Sarasota Schools said in an online statement. The district said many are still occupying schools as shelters and communication remains unstable throughout the county. Sarasota Schools said they will reopen once they can ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students and staff.
In one marina at Fort Myers, Florida, the boats were no match for the storm surge that rushed into the area on Wednesday, tossing them about like toys. While the water has since receded, some areas farther north are still dealing with flooding. In North Port, Florida, AccuWeather National Reporter Kim Leoffler joined a few boat captains from the Tampa Bay Area who were volunteering their time and helping rescue people from flooded neighborhoods. Gary Bartell, Jr., the captain who Leoffler tagged along with, told her he had rescued about 20 people within the first hour he had started.
While Bartell was with Leoffler, he received a call about a dog left alone in a flooded house and quickly jumped into action. The dog was found, and Leoffler reported it went running into the captain’s arms. “That’s been the toughest one so far,” Bartell told Leoffler. “That was the emotional one yet.”
AccuWeather's Kim Leoffler was with a volunteer boat captain on Sept. 30 when he came to the aid of a dog that was alone in a flooded house.
More than 48 hours after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida, the number of power outages across the state continued to fall. As of late Friday evening, outages across Florida are just under 1.5 million. The largest percentage of customers without power in the state was in Hardee County, where over 90% of electric customers are still without power, according to PowerOutage.US. Most outages span the southwestern portion of the state, but outages extend up to the northeast. On Thursday morning, power outages eclipsed 2.6 million before finally coming down.
After Ian made landfall in South Carolina on Friday afternoon, impacts from the storm lingered in both North and South Carolina. Power outages in both states have combined for over 464,000 as of Friday evening. North Carolina leads the two with over 334,000 outages while South Carolina is reporting over 130,000. To the north, Virginia is also reporting a significant amount of power outages with more than 74,000 without power -- mostly in the southeastern part of the state.
The Washington Nationals have postponed their game against the Philadelphia Phillies Friday evening as Tropical Rainstorm Ian moves into the area. The game was originally scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Friday against the Phillies but is now scheduled for Saturday at the same time. The Nationals said all tickets from the game originally scheduled for Friday will be honored at the evening game Saturday. The team's Saturday afternoon game will go ahead as scheduled.
While the hurricane's storm surge and dangerous winds proved deadly over the past few days, two more lives were claimed when power outages impacted essential medical equipment.
The outages proved particularly fatal in Sarasota County, Florida, where two older residents who relied on oxygen machines died when electricity was cut off as the storm raged and disabled the devices.
The county Sheriff’s Office said on Friday that one of the victims was a 94-year-old man who lived in the Palmer Ranch area and the other victim was an 80-year-old woman from north Sarasota. “Our thoughts are with the loved ones of these two individuals and with all others impacted by this catastrophic weather event,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement posted to Facebook.
Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie on Friday confirmed at least 21 fatalities due to Ian's impact, according to The New York Times, although officials said that number was likely to increase as emergency crews worked to reach some of the hardest-hit areas.
Officials said that Sarasota County emergency services offers a medical needs program that allows residents with qualifying medical needs to get on the county’s registry for transportation and sheltering at a “medically-dependent Evacuation Center during a disaster.”
Countless water rescues have taken place throughout South Carolina's coastal communities as Ian brought rising flood waters to the state on Friday. Multiple water rescues took place in Litchfield, South Carolina, as vehicles struggled to move across the flooding. Rescue crews can be seen shuffling through waist-deep water and saving both people and animals. One woman and her dog were caught in the flood waters when rescuers came to help them through the water.
A series of water rescues were conducted in Litchfield, South Carolina, as entire neighborhoods are submerged underwater by Hurricane Ian on Sept. 30.
Numerous roads have become flooded and filled with debris in North Myrtle Beach as Tropical Rainstorm Ian continued to impact the state into the evening hours Friday. Officers in the area are trying to keep people off the roads due to down power lines, according to WMBF News. In videos and photos posted on social media, rushing water can be seen flooding buildings and devouring roads. One image even shows some of the debris that had been scattered across roads that are not flooded.
As Ian made its third landfall in the U.S. on Sept. 30, flooding coursed through North Myrtle Beach.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry gave updates on where the city stands after being impacted by Hurricane Ian earlier in the week. The mayor said beaches in the area are now open to the public but advised those going to stay out of the water. In addition to the beaches, piers will also reopen at 7 a.m. on Saturday. Curry also said shelters will close on Friday and waste collection will resume on Monday.
The devastation caused by Hurricane Ian across southwestern Florida, one of the strongest storms ever to hit the United States, continued coming into sharper focus on Friday as rescue crews reached the hardest-hit areas. The total damage and economic loss of Hurricane Ian will be between $180 billion and $210 billion according to AccuWeather Founder and CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers. The death toll, meanwhile, is mounting. On Friday, Florida Division of Emergency Management director Kevin Guthrie said the confirmed death toll was at least 21, Reuters reported.
The St. Louis-based brewing company Anheuser-Busch sent 350,000 cans of water to the American Red Cross ahead of Hurricane Ian, the Red Cross said over Twitter on Friday. Photos the organization posted on Twitter Friday showed cans of water packed and ready to be distributed to communities in Florida following Ian’s catastrophic landfall. Several boil notices were issued across the state’s hard-hit counties, including Lee, Charlotte and Pasco counties.
Ian has lost wind intensity and is now considered a tropical rainstorm, but the storm will continue to pose a threat to the Carolinas. The storm will continue to trek through the Southeast over the weekend, delivering rainfall that could trigger flash flooding in major cities, such as Columbia, South Carolina, and Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh in North Carolina, according to AccuWeather forecasters. While the storm lost its tropical status, Ian still had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph Friday afternoon.
Hurricane Ian makes landfall near Georgetown, South Carolina, around 2 p.m. Friday. The cyclone lost wind intensity and became a tropical rainstorm later in the afternoon. (CIRA/NOAA/NESDIS)
The powerful waves and surf generated by Ian when it was a monstrous hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico changed the appearance of the ocean floor off the coast of southern Florida. On Sept. 25, before Ian arrived in Florida, satellite images showed that most of the area north of the Florida Keys appeared dark blue with some hints of green. On Sept. 30, in the wake of Ian, most of the region appeared turquoise in color from space. Upon closer inspection, plumes of brown, muddy river water can be seen flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.
The color of the Gulf of Mexico changed between Sept. 25 (left) and Sept. 30 (right) due to the waves and surf generated by Ian. (NASA WorldView)
A large waterspout was spotted off the coast of North Carolina in Bogue Sound just after 2 p.m. when Hurricane Ian was making landfall much farther south near Georgetown, along the South Carolina coast.
An image of the waterspout seen churning through the water was taken by a worker at the National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead, North Carolina. Hurricanes are known to spawn waterspouts and tornadoes. And despite being weaker than most tornadoes, they can still be strong enough to overturn boats and create rough seas.
With the Tampa area avoiding the worst of Hurricane Ian and their game back on track against the Kansas City Chiefs, high-ranking members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are donating to those who are in great need in the wake of the storm. On Thursday the Glazer family, owners of the franchise, and quarterback Tom Brady pledged to donate to organizations that are leading relief efforts across the state.
“The destruction suffered in Southwest Florida and the damage inflicted throughout our state will be felt for some time,” said Buccaneers Co-Owner Darcie Glazer Kassewitz. “It will take entire communities resiliently working together for an extended period, and our family is committed to aiding in the recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with the countless people affected, the heroic first responders and all of those helping to keep others safe.” The Glazers said their donation would be for $1 million.
“Happy were[sic] able to head home for Sunday night, but so many people in Florida won’t be able to do the same. I’ll be making a donation to the Florida Disaster Fund to get things started, and I’m hoping the rest of the NFL family in our state will follow suit,” Brady said in a Twitter post.
It should be a tranquil night for football on Sunday in the Tampa area. AccuWeather’s quarter-by-quarter forecast shows temperatures will dip from the 80s pregame to the mid-70s by the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium.
Police in Myrtle Beach issued a stern warning Friday afternoon for people to stay off flooded streets of the small coastal city as torrential rain continued ahead of Hurricane Ian’s fast-approaching landfall.
“Don’t drive through flooded roadways. Take another route and stay safe. There is no reason to take this risk,” the Myrtle Beach Police Department said on social media showing a view of a deeply flooded 3rd Avenue South at Ocean Boulevard.
The National Weather Service urged people in coastal areas to shelter in place and to plan for life-threatening wind as Hurricane Ian was about to make landfall. About 4 to 7 feet of storm surge is forecast for the area. Conditions have deteriorated so badly along the South Carolina coast that Charleston police issued an alert saying they were sheltering in place beginning around 1 p.m. EDT.
Over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into dangerous floodwaters, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. “People underestimate the force and power of water,” the NWS states.
Hurricane Ian closed in on the Carolinas, drenching the streets of Charleston, South Carolina, with severe flooding on Sept. 30.
Nearly 200,000 customers in South Carolina were without power after Hurricane Ian’s landfall near Georgetown Friday afternoon, according to data from PowerOutage.US. The majority of outages were between Georgetown and Charleston counties, with the latter accounting for roughly 71,000 outages. Overall, there were 172,000 outages in the state as of 2:30 p.m. EDT, and the outages will likely increase as the hurricane continues its trek inland. Ian made landfall near Georgetown, South Carolina, at 2:05 p.m. EDT Friday as a Category 1 hurricane.
The Carolinas are already severely impacted by Hurricane Ian as trees and power lines were spotted knocked down by the storm in Georgetown, South Carolina, on Sept. 30.
Reports are coming in of intensely strong wind gusts along coastal South Carolina, while a record-setting storm surge hit a beach in North Carolina. Here’s the latest data:
• Wind gusts as high as 92 mph were recorded Friday around lunchtime at Shutes Folly, South Carolina, in the Folly Island Channel just east of downtown Charleston.
• Another weather station at Winyah Bay, southeast of Georgetown, South Carolina, measured a wind gust of 87 mph.
• The storm surge at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, is preliminarily the highest on record at 4.18 feet, beating Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 and Hurricane Florence in 2018, which previously held the record.
As AccuWeather meteorologists predicted, Ian made landfall in South Carolina near Georgetown, South Carolina, around 2:05 p.m. EDT. The Category 1 hurricane roared ashore with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. It’s Ian’s third landfall overall and fourth when accounting for the storm’s track through Cuba on Tuesday. Ian made two landfalls in Florida--one on a barrier island and another on the state’s Gulf Coast.
Conditions are getting worse in the Charleston area as Hurricane Ian lurks just off the coast. The city’s police department issued an update shortly after 1 p.m. that officers are sheltering in place at local police substations due to the intense storm. Officers will, “on a limited capacity, respond to critical calls only until further notice. We will update, and expect to return to full service shortly,” the department said. Charleston County sheriff’s deputies were also taking shelter. The Charleston Fire Department reported that there were about two dozen road closures and 18 traffic lights out around the city earlier Friday. Charleston County currently has 56,000 without power. The entire state of South Carolina is reporting about 126,000 total outages.
Ian’s catastrophic storm surge is getting worse the closer it gets to landfall. The Pawleys Island Police Department shared images of the Pawleys Island pier after it collapsed and was floating south thanks to the raging ocean Ian had churned up. Pawleys island is located about 20 miles south of Myrtle Beach. Elsewhere near Myrtle Beach, one Twitter user captured footage of storm surge pushing inland at Murrells Inlet.
South Carolina is bracing for Ian’s next landfall, its fourth since becoming a named storm in the Caribbean on Friday, Sept. 23. AccuWeather Hurricane experts say that landfall will occur near Cape Romain and Georgetown, South Carolina, as a Category 1 hurricane. Ian first made landfall in Cuba before making two landfalls in Florida -- one on the barrier island of Cayo Costa before hitting the mainland. Landfall is defined as the point when the center of Ian’s eye reaches land.
AccuWeather RealVue™ satellite image of Hurricane Ian as nears landfall in South Carolina. (AccuWeather)
Florida residents who have been living in the Sunshine State for decades have never seen anything close to the damage that Hurricane Ian caused as it roared into Florida’s western coast as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday. “Our families have lost everything ... [there is] a boat sitting almost in our apartment,” Michele Reidy, who has been living near Fort Myers for 29 years, told AccuWeather during an interview. AccuWeather Founder and CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers estimates that the damage and economic losses due to Hurricane Ian will be $100 billion to $120 billion. “Ian will go down as one of the most damaging and impactful storms in U.S. history, along with 2017's Hurricane Harvey, which caused $190 billion in total damage and economic loss,” Myers said.
Emergency crews rescue a woman in Sanibel Island, Florida, following Hurricane Ian on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.
As of Friday morning, Ian’s death toll stood at a reported number of 21, Florida Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said, according to Reuters. The update comes one day after President Joe Biden said that Ian could be the “deadliest hurricane in Florida history,” during a press conference with FEMA officials on Thursday. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Thursday that while he anticipated a number of deaths, he did not agree with Biden’s statement.
The deadliest hurricane to ever strike Florida was the hurricane that hit Okeechobee in 1928 that killed more than 2,500, while the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 killed a reported 409 people. “I don’t think we will be anywhere approaching that,” DeSantis said, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
CORRECTION: This post previously misstated who gave an update on the death toll in Florida on Friday.
The extent of Ian’s tropical-storm-force winds ranges from southeastern Georgia to south-central North Carolina as of just before noon on Friday. Earlier in the day, the storm’s winds stretched almost as far north as Norfolk, Virginia, and as far south as Jacksonville, Florida. The storm’s wind field has grown smaller a bit since then but winds of tropical storm strength still extend 240 miles to the northeast of Ian’s center and 120 miles to the southeast. Hurricane-force winds are arriving along the coast of South Carolina with the center just 60 miles east-southeast of Charleston.
This image from the National Hurricane Center shows where tropical-storm-force winds are present (light orange) and where hurricane-force winds are present (dark orange). (NHC)
Millions of Floridians remain in the dark nearly 48 hours after Ian roared ashore as a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane. As of Friday morning, around 2 million power outages were reported across Florida, according to PowerOutage.us, down from the 2.6 million outages reported on Thursday morning. However, the outage numbers are little changed in the counties near where Ian made landfall. In Hardee County, 99% of all homes and businesses still are without power. Access to the internet is also a widespread issue due to the outages and ravaged utility poles. Power outages are also rising in South Carolina as Ian approaches a Category 1 hurricane. As of 11 a.m. Friday, over 40,000 residents in the Palmetto State were in the dark, a number that is likely to rise throughout the day.
A Charleston police officer moves a barricade to block a flooded street as the effects from Hurricane Ian are felt, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Hurricane Ian’s forward speed increased to 14 mph, according to the latest update from the NHC. The hurricane was moving at around 9 mph just three hours earlier. Its maximum sustained winds were still at 85 mph. Ian was about 60 miles east-southeast of Charleston.
Video shared by the Isle of Palms Police Department showed flags being pummeled by the intensifying winds as well as turbulent seas off the shore of the city of Isle of Palms, located just to the east of Charleston. The police department urged people not to venture out onto the roads or near the beaches. “Stay out of the water and stay off the beach. Please don’t put first responders in unnecessary danger,” the police department said.
Hurricane Ian is bearing down on South Carolina, and although the Palmetto State frequently encounters strong storms due to its location along the southeastern coast, it hasn’t been on the receiving end of a hurricane landfall since Hurricane Matthew in 2016. At the height of its strength, Matthew was a Category 5 storm in the Caribbean and ultimately blasted into Haiti as a strong Category 4 storm, the first storm to make landfall there at that strength since 1964. Matthew left the country in ruins and was blamed for more than 500 deaths there.
After trekking through the Caribbean, Matthew churned along the Atlantic coast of Florida for days, buffeting the state’s coastal areas with strong winds, rough seas and heavy rain. Matthew never made landfall in Florida, but like Ian is forecast to do, the storm made landfall as a Category 1 storm in South Carolina on Oct. 11 near McClellanville, South Carolina. Matthew was responsible for epic rainfall totals in the Carolinas, with some areas reporting multi-day totals over 18 inches from the storm. The storm was blamed for 25 direct fatalities in North Carolina and four in South Carolina.
“Although the southeastern U.S. was spared the full brunt of Matthew’s strongest winds as the core of the powerful hurricane remained just offshore, widespread wind damage to roofs, along with downed trees and utilities lines, still occurred from the Florida peninsula northward through the Carolinas,” the National Hurricane Center said in its postmortem report of the storm.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was unprecedented in terms of how many named storms formed. Thirty named storms formed that year and there were multiple major hurricanes that made landfall in the U.S. including hurricanes Laura and Zeta in Louisiana. But even though the 2022 season is far behind the epic pace of the 2020 season, it does have 2020 beat in one regard.
According to Colorado State University Meteorologist Phil Klotzbach, September 2022 has generated more Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) than each of the past two Septembers. ACE is what forecasters use to study both a storm’s intensity and a season’s overall intensity.In 2020, there were 10 named storms that roamed the Atlantic that September, which is two more than the entirety of the current season. One big factor for why there is a higher ACE value this month is that several of the hurricanes, notably Danielle, Ian, Earl and Fiona, have been long-lasting storms, and two of them, Fiona and Ian, have become major hurricanes.
The seasonal ACE value for the Atlantic ratcheted up to 78 as of Friday morning, which is considered an average hurricane season, but was still falling short of the climatological average of 94.0 for the date, according to Colorado State researchers.
As the sun rose on the East Coast on Friday morning, most of the region was blanketed by clouds extending outward from the center of Hurricane Ian. Clouds started to spread over the mid-Atlantic late on Thursday, sparking a colorful sunset for folks who were outside late in the day. The eye of the storm was located off the coast of South Carolina, but clouds extended northward nearly 1,000 miles, filling the sky as far away as Boston, New York City and Pittsburgh. As of 8 a.m. EDT, the eye of Ian was located 105 miles south-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, and the storm was tracking northward at 9 mph. As Ian advances northward, clouds will thicken over the mid-Atlantic and southern New England, eventually transitioning to tropical rain heading into the weekend.
Clouds from Hurricane Ian spread across most of the East Coast on Friday morning. (NOAA)
This image from AccuWeather's wind flow map shows the direction the winds are flowing in relation to Hurricane Ian.
Strong winds from Hurricane Ian are becoming more prevalent along the South Carolina coast as the hurricane edges closer to land. The National Weather Service in Charleston, South Carolina said a 74 mph hurricane-force wind gust was recently measured by an offshore buoy, while a 66 mph wind gust was measured along Folly Beach, SC. As of 8 a.m. EDT Friday, Ian was located about 105 miles south-southeast of Charleston. The storm’s maximum sustained winds were around 85 mph and it was moving to the north at a speed of 9 mph.
Charleston was also under a flash flood warning and heavy rains from Ian were only expected to intensify. Combined with rising tide levels, that could bring a significant flood threat to Charleston and other parts of the region. AccuWeather forecasters are warning of a life-threatening storm surge of 3-6 feet in the Charleston area.
Fort Myers Airport in Southwest Florida (RSW) remains closed as of Friday morning. “As soon as power and water is restored, we will open for commercial flights,” RSW Airport wrote in an update. Tampa International Airport (TPA) reopens at 10 a.m. EDT and Orlando International Airport (MCO) will reopen at 12 p.m. Friday. It is recommended that travelers check online first to ensure their flight isn’t delayed or canceled. As of Friday morning, more than 1,660 flights have been canceled in the U.S., according to FlightAware.
Hurricane Ian was just 175 miles south-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, as of 5 a.m. Friday morning. Rain from Ian stretched for more than 425 miles along the southeast coast, drenching cities from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, to Virginia Beach, Virginia. Life-threatening impacts will continue to spread northwards across the Southeast as Ian swings back over land on Friday. Hazards will include flooding rainfall, dangerous storm surge, damaging winds and severe weather as Ian makes that trek.
As of 5 a.m. EDT Friday, Ian is located just 145 miles south-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina. The storm is moving north-northeastward at 9 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. Forecasters say that the hurricane will turn northward and then northwestward. Ian will come ashore just to the north of Charleston by early afternoon. Although not nearly as powerful as when it made landfall in Florida, Ian is still expected to unleash flooding rain, storm surge, damaging winds and even isolated tornadoes.
With debris covering roads and some areas cutoff due to bridges being washed out, the restoration of power has been slow in Florida. More than 2.6 million customers were without power on Thursday morning, according to PowerOutage.us. As of 2:30 a.m. EDT Friday, there are still just over 2.2 million customers in the dark.
The hardest hit counties are in southwestern part of the state, where Hurricane Ian had the most significant impacts. Hardee County remains the most affected county, with more than 99% of the county still without electricity.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) announced plans to reopen on Friday. The airport made an online statement saying passenger flights will resume at noon on Friday, Sept. 30. The decision was made, "after conferring with the National Weather Service, airlines, and federal partners," according to the statement. The airport also reported the decision comes after workers conducted a thorough investigation for any property damage and kept careful consideration for the safety and security of those being in the airport.
The Associated Press reported an additional two deaths in Sanibel, one of the hard-hit barrier islands of Florida’s west coast, bringing the total number of fatalities confirmed by the news agency to four. Meanwhile, other reports Thursday night indicated that more than a dozen fatalities had been confirmed, according to reporting by CNN and the Tampa Bay Times.
The latest fatalities were confirmed by fire officials, Sanibel city manager Dana Souza told the AP, but there were no other details provided. In addition to these fatalities, a 38-year-old man from Lake County died Wednesday in a motor vehicle accident after hydroplaning, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Medical examiners had determined his death was storm-related, the AP reported. Also, a 72-year-old man from Deltona also was confirmed dead on Thursday. Officials with the Volusia County sheriff’s office said the man went outside to drain his pool and fell into a canal. He was later found dead.
While addressing the possible loss of life at a press conference Thursday evening, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t confirm a specific number. “We absolutely expect to have mortality from this hurricane,” he said, before adding that the death toll would “be made apparent over the coming days.”
AccuWeather National Reporter Bill Wadell spoke with residents on San Carlos Island near Fort Myers Beach who described just how extensive the damage was historically from Hurricane Ian. One man shared how strong winds tossed boats into the air, with a large piece of one landing right in his house. It's "the worst hurricane I've ever seen," the man, Johnny Two Feathers, said, adding that he's experienced about five so far. Wadell said people who have lived on the island for decades have told him they have never experienced anything like what Ian has done before. An estimated storm surge of at least 15 feet wreaked havoc on the island.
AccuWeather's Bill Wadell reported live from San Carlos Island on Sept. 29, where residents told him the damage from Hurricane Ian is the worst of any hurricane they can recall.
Wadell said he’s seen convoys of U.S. Coast Guard members along with search and rescue crews looking for survivors. “We know that police have been out checking on people on boats and structures that they're having trouble to get to on the islands,” said Wadell.
Images of the catastrophic damage left behind by Hurricane Ian on Florida’s Gulf Coast and central regions continued to emerge Thursday, one day after the cyclone made landfall on the barrier islands. The economic damages caused by the storm will be immense, AccuWeather Founder and CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers said -- perhaps on par with some of the worst hurricane damage in U.S. history. According to Myers, the total losses caused by Hurricane Ian could approach $120 billion in the U.S.
Hundreds of people have been rescued following the apocalyptic damage caused by Ian. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in an update Thursday evening that there have been more than 700 confirmed rescues, and he expects the number to continue to rise as more data comes in. The rescues took place across areas including Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, Marco Island and the Barrier Islands.
While addressing the possible loss of life, DeSantis didn’t confirm a specific number. “We absolutely expect to have mortality from this hurricane,” he said, before adding that the death toll would “be made apparent over the coming days.”
From severe damage to infrastructure in Sanibel to the hundreds of rescue across the state to the tragic expectation of deaths, Governor Ron DeSantis laid out the latest information available on Hurricane Ian's effects across Florida.
As Hurricane Ian impacted Florida, there was another concern in addition to storm surge and high winds -- tornadoes. The National Weather Service in Miami surveyed and confirmed multiple tornadoes had touched down across the state from Ian. One of the tornadoes was an EF2 that caused damage in Delray Beach on Tuesday night. Several other tornadoes were also confirmed by NWS Miami, including an EF1 in southern metro Broward County and another EF1 in Palm Beach County.
The U.S. Geological Survey captured an awe-inspiring view of Hurricane Ian’s eye as it churned closer to Florida earlier this week. The calm of the hurricane’s center, known as the “eye,” and the swirling, enveloping storm surrounding it, could be seen courtesy of the Landsat 8 satellite.
The distinct image of the hurricane eye was captured about 31 miles (50 kilometers) west of Fort Myers before the storm made landfall as a strong Category 4 hurricane Wednesday afternoon on the barrier islands of southwestern Florida, just west of the heavily populated Fort Myers. Climate enthusiast Pierre Markuse shared the image via Twitter:
Orange County Fire Rescue in Florida have been working to rescue about 200 people from assisted living facilities in the county on Thursday. The department said in an online post that the rescue is taking place at the Bridge and Life Care Center in Orlando. The facility is located northeast of downtown Orlando just to the east of Florida State Road 417. On Thursday morning, the department said they were working to evacuate residents through floodwaters in Orlando, according to another online post.
First responders with Orange County Fire Rescue use an inflatable boat to rescue a resident from a home in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Leaders in Sanibel in Lee County have rescued about 50 people from the island, according to ABC Fort Myers. Sanibel leaders estimated about 200 people did not evacuate despite warnings. LCEC and Island Utilities are unable to assist until Friday. Sanibel Island has at least two deaths due to Hurricane Ian, brining the state total to 11 as of Thursday evening.
Susan Clarke used a kayak to get her grandchildren to safety amid severe flooding south of Fort Myers.
The Associated Press reported at least nine hospitals were left with no potable water across the Fort Myers region on Thursday. At the same time, about 3,400 residents had to be evacuated from the 43 nursing homes in southwest Florida, Kristen Knapp of the Florida Health Care Association told AP.
Some facilities were lucky enough to have generators to make up for the power outage, yet others still had to deal with lack of water, torn apart roofs and flooded emergency rooms, AP said.
“We have one large health system in southwest Florida that is without water in all of their facilities. And so they are fast approaching a point where they will not be able to safely take care of their patients. So that is an urgent focus to get those patients transferred,” Mary Mayhew, the president of the Florida Hospital Association, told AP.
Mayhew said 1,200 additional patients were being evacuated and they were working to locate available beds in the region. Dr. Birgit Bodine told AP she spent the night at the HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital in Port Charlotte, north of Fort Myers, expecting the storm to be a busy time, “but we didn’t anticipate that the roof would blow off on the fourth floor,” she said. A nurse at the hospital shared a video showing floors and nurse's stations getting deluged by incoming water.
The death toll from Hurricane Ian’s wrath keeps mounting and by Thursday evening, reports indicated more than a dozen fatalities confirmed, according to reporting by CNN and the Tampa Bay Times. Meanwhile, The Associated Press was reporting four confirmed deaths. “The numbers are still unclear,” President JoeBiden said at a press conference earlier Thursday, “but we’re hearing early reports of what may be substantial loss of life.” And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday: "We absolutely expect to have mortality from [Hurricane Ian]" and the number of casualties "will be made apparent over the coming days."
Search-and-rescue crews continue to be called out, traversing the floodwaters and in some cases using rescue helicopters, to help countless frantic residents from their homes – some from their rooftops. Thousands of those stranded have so far been rescued, according to officials.Ian pummeled much of central and southern Florida, dumping upwards of 18 inches of rain in many locations, submerging vehicles and leaving behind waist-deep floodwaters.
While the scene across Jacksonville, Florida, was calmer on Thursday than the previous day, the city’s mayor warned that residents should wait to return. “We still have another high tide,” Mayor Lenny Curry told AccuWeather Prime Host Adam Del Rosso and Assistant Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Geoff Cornish. “We ask people in certain zones to leave to avoid the surge and flooding. We don’t want them to go back home tonight. Let’s get through tonight and reassess tomorrow.”
He had feared, Curry had told the two reporters, that Ian would have looked like Matthew and Irma. The former had largely been a “beach event,” with storm surge at the northeastern Florida city’s beach communities, and Irma had been a St. Johns River event, flooding low-lying areas near the river. Fortunately, the impacts Ian brought to Jacksonville hadn’t matched the two storms.
AccuWeather spoke live with Mayor Lenny Curry about the impacts of Ian in Jacksonville and what's to come.
The tidal gauge in Fernandina Beach, Florida, is rising once again, indicating the beach is undergoing a third storm surge. At 4.68 feet and rising, the gauge is now recording the highest storm surge so far from Ian. On Wednesday, the first surge of about 3 feet came in during the afternoon and the second surge of almost 4.5 feet came in early Thursday morning. Thursday's surge is the worst on record since the 1898 Georgia Hurricane.
Michele Reidy is one of countless longtime Floridians living along the Gulf Coast who lost practically everything to Hurricane Ian. “I’ve been here 29 years and I’ve never experienced or seen anything like this,” Reidy said of the devastation Ian wrought on her community of Iona, near Fort Myers. Her family and her relatives, she explained, “have lost everything – there’s a boat sitting almost like in our apartment, it’s all underwater.” She said the storm surge, 5- to 8-feet high in most spots, crashed into the walls of her house, demolishing them.
“It, it’s very sad… I know there are people screaming for help and people still on roofs,” she said, adding that her family used a blow-up canoe they had to travel along the floodwaters on their property so they could retrieve some valuables and other items “and save our cats.”
In a voice of despair, she described the shock: “It’s kind of hard to talk about because we don’t have a place to go… we, we don’t know.”
A survivor of Hurricane Ian says the storm was unlike anything she's experienced in nearly 30 years in Florida, leaving her family with nothing.
Walt Disney World Resort announced on Thursday that the park will reopen in a phased approach beginning on Friday, Sept. 30. The park said it continues to closely monitor the weather conditions as they assess the impact caused by Hurricane Ian. “While theme parks and many operating areas remain closed to guests today, we anticipate weather conditions to improve this evening,” the park said in an online statement. Earlier this week, Disney World officials announced they would close its parks on Wednesday and Thursday to ensure the safety of its cast and guests.
The coastal region of Charleston County, South Carolina, Thursday declared a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Ian’s arrival on Friday as officials prepare to deal with the storm’s impact. The intense tropical storm strengthened yet again into a hurricane Thursday afternoon after veering into the Atlantic Ocean.
“There is the potential for major flooding tomorrow,” said Joe Coates, Charleston County emergency management director. “If you live on a barrier island or a low-lying area that historically floods, and you haven’t moved to higher ground, I recommend you relocate NOW.” AccuWeather meteorologists are predicting the county seat of Charleston, South Carolina, will be the target of Ian’s next landfall. Forecasters say torrential rain and strong wind gusts from Ian will begin in the area Thursday night and continue through Friday evening. Charleston could end up with more than a foot of rain from Ian.
After losing wind intensity and becoming a tropical storm over eastern Florida before emerging into the Atlantic, Ian restrengthened into a Category 1 hurricane at 5 p.m. EDT Thursday.
Hurricane watches and warnings lined the southeast coast from Florida to South Carolina ahead of the storm’s restrengthening, with tropical storm warnings lining the coast of North Carolina. State of emergencies were declared across Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia over the course of the week as it became evident the storm would directly impact more than just the Sunshine State. AccuWeather forecasters say Ian will continue to spread life-threatening impacts northward across the Southeast as the storm curves back toward the shore of South Carolina, near Charleston. It is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane.
Ian now ranks second only to Fiona for accumulated cyclone energy, or ACE, value so far this hurricane season. Meteorologists use ACE to track the strength of tropical storms and hurricanes throughout their lifetime. As of Thursday morning, Ian had an ACE value of 14.8, coming in behind Fiona’s value of 26.3, according to Colorado State University. Ian beat out Hurricane Earl, which had an ACE of 14.2, to climb into spot two. Ian’s ACE score could continue to climb as it restrengthens into a hurricane and makes yet another landfall in the U.S. The seasonal tally for the Atlantic had ratcheted up to 76.5, which is considered an average hurricane season, but was still falling short of the climatological average of 93.0 for the date.
On Thursday morning, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marcelo took a tour of the hurricane-ravaged county to get a sense of the damage. The sheriff’s office later release sobering footage of the devastation, which showed inundated neighborhoods, washed-out highways and many damaged homes.
“We are devastated. Our hearts go out to every resident who is impacted. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is mobile and will stop at nothing to help our residents, officials said in a statement. “We will get through this together. We are one community and we will overcome this tragedy.”
This aerial video shared by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office reveals the extent of the damage left by Hurricane Ian on Sept. 29, with structures damaged, debris strewn everywhere and roads washed out.
A couple was seen on social media trying to call out for help and escape their completely flooded home in Winter Springs, an Orlando suburb, on Thursday.
A friend of Dimitrios Frantzis and his fiancé Amanda Trompeta posted a video and “jaw-dropping images” showing the extent of Hurricane Ian’s torrential rain damage and deep floodwaters throughout the couple’s home. Water can be seen almost reaching the kitchen countertops where a pet cat sought refuge, and furniture is floating around the dining room.
Frantzis, with slight agitation in his voice, at one point provides an update on their situation: “The boat people rode by outside but this door was still stuck so I couldn’t open the door to yell at them, and Amanda panicked a little bit so I stood opening the window to scream at them, she was screaming at them…. so, we just missed them,” he said.
But in a happy ending, the couple eventually makes it out safely when another rescue crew from Seminole County passes through their neighborhood and is able to pick them up. “They are on a boat headed to dryer [sic] land!” friend Amanda Rabines posted on Twitter, as Trompeta is seen clutching her dog Hercules on the boat. “The rescue mission is a stressful one,” Rabines noted. Rainfall in the Orlando region ended up topping close to 17 inches from the hurricane.
AccuWeather meteorologists are predicting Charleston, South Carolina, to be the site of Ian’s next landfall on Friday. The storm made landfall in Cuba on Tuesday and Florida on Thursday. Forecasters say Ian’s impacts will begin in the area Thursday night and continue through Friday evening. Charleston could end up with more than a foot of rain from Ian, which would double its monthly September average of 6.01 inches. Watch below to hear AccuWeather Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Bernie Rayno share his latest thoughts on Ian’s path.
Despite the best efforts of Hurricane Ian, Sunday night’s marquee showdown in the NFL between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs will take place in Tampa as originally scheduled. With Hurricane Ian bearing down on Florida earlier this week, the NFL created a contingency plan to move the game to Minneapolis if it was not safe to hold the game in the Tampa area. Although the Tampa area suffered widespread flooding and some wind damage as the result of Ian’s path through the state, it avoided the direct strike that many feared it could sustain at one point. The Buccaneers did move to Miami this week to use the Miami Dolphins' practice facilities because of Ian’s impending arrival.
“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the many thousands in the Southwest Florida region who have been severely impacted by Hurricane Ian,” the team said in a statement Thursday.“We are also very thankful that the Tampa Bay area was spared the most damaging consequences of this powerful storm. We have informed the NFL, after consulting with local and state agencies, that we are ready to play Sunday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium as originally scheduled.”
The Buccaneers also thanked first responders who were putting their lives on the line to help those in need. “We also want to express our sincere appreciation to the first responders and emergency personnel who are already battling the elements, saving lives, and helping our neighbors in those most impacted areas to our south.”
President Joe Biden warned during a press briefing at FEMA headquarters that Ian could be the “deadliest” hurricane in Florida’s history. “The numbers are still unclear, but we’re hearing early reports of what may be substantial loss of life,” Biden said. As authorities assess the damage caused by the storm, Biden pledged to support local and state officials, saying the federal government will cover the entire cost of clearing debris and rebuilding public buildings, such as schools. The government will also be providing support to people with damaged or destroyed homes. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Thursday that there were at least two confirmed deaths in the state.
According to historical data, Hurricane Okeechobee in 1928 is considered to be the deadliest hurricane in Florida, with more than 2,500 deaths reported. The Labor Day hurricane of 1935 is the ninth deadliest hurricane, with 409 deaths. The majority of hurricanes that are blamed for causing the highest number of fatalities occurred before the 20th century. In 2004, Hurricane Charley’s death toll was roughly 35 people and Hurricane Michael’s death toll in 2018 was roughly 75 people.
President Joe Biden speaks about Hurricane Ian during a visit to FEMA headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Washington. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas listens at right. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Australian news program Sunrise was in the middle of a live broadcast from Naples, Florida, on Wednesday when the newscast took an unexpected turn. The video feed showed a reporter in Florida with a flooded road in the background when suddenly the cameraman dropped the camera and ran into the floodwaters. The man behind the camera saw a family trying to traverse the high waters with children, a dog and cases of water and stepped in to help. Watch the video clip below:
Ian’s impacts in Florida have truly been felt statewide. From the Florida Keys to the Panhandle to the Atlantic coast, the storm has impacted the entire state in some way. AccuWeather National Reporter Tony Laubach reported live from Jacksonville Beach earlier Thursday as Ian was slamming the area with a powerful storm surge and tropical-storm-force winds. Laubach reported that even though beaches were closed in the area, some people were still coming to the coast to get a sight of the angry ocean for themselves. In nearby St. Johns county, officials said that many roads along the coastline were impassable due to flooding.
The center of Ian has traversed Florida and is now over the waters just off the coast of the southeastern U.S., but Ian’s wrath is far from over. AccuWeather is forecasting Ian to restrengthen into a Category 1 hurricane before it makes landfall near Charleston, South Carolina, on Friday around midday.
The entire coast of South Carolina is under a hurricane warning, with tropical storm warnings expanding farther inland. Tropical storm warnings are also in effect for parts of North Carolina, including Raleigh, Charlotte and Wilmington.
Dramatic footage captured on Wednesday as Ian was bearing down on Bonita Springs, Florida, showed good Samaritans helping a man in a life-threatening situation. The man found himself stranded in a truck that was stalled in chest-deep water. Unable to continue driving, five good Samaritans came to the rescue, pulling the stranded man from the vehicle and carrying him to safety.
A man whose vehicle was trapped in several feet of floodwater in Bonita Springs, Florida, on Sept. 28, was rescued by several good Samaritans as Hurricane Ian swept through the region.
AccuWeather forecasters on Thursday morning revised their latest forecast on Tropical Storm Ian to show the storm becoming a Category 1 hurricane over the open Atlantic. Once the storm moves over the warm ocean waters, Ian is expected to regain enough strength to maintain hurricane status until its projected landfall in South Carolina on Friday. That would be Ian’s third U.S. landfall and fourth overall after the storm slammed into Cuba on Tuesday. Ian made two Florida landfalls Florida on Wednesday, first on a barrier island and then on the peninsula itself near Punta Gorda, Florida. As of 11 a.m. EDT, Ian was located about 25 miles north-northeast Canaveral, Florida, and 285 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina. The National Hurricane Center said a hurricane warning has been issued for the entire coast of South Carolina.
Over a dozen rivers in Florida along Hurricane Ian's track have exceeded major flood stage or are forecast to, and several have preliminarily broken records, according to NOAA river gauges. The Horse Creek near Arcadia has shattered its old record of 18.0 feet, cresting at 21.24 feet overnight. That record high reading was set in 2003, but records at this station go back to 1951. According to NOAA, when the river is above 17.7 feet, flooding affects more than 100 homes. The Shingle Creek at Campbell broke its record stage of 62.3 feet set during Hurricane Irma in 2017 early Thursday morning, and the Peace River at Zolfo Springs was still rising after it broke its record of 25 feet set in 1933.
The Horse Creek near Arcadia has shattered its old record of 18.0 feet, cresting at 21.24 feet overnight.
Governor Ron DeSantis said at a press conference Thursday morning: "Right now if you look in central Florida, you're looking at potential major flooding and orange and Seminole counties, St. John's River all the way up potentially into northeast Florida in Jacksonville. The amount of water that's been rising and will likely continue to rise today even as the storm is passing, is basically a 500-year flood."
Orlando is experiencing one of its wettest months in years due to the intense downpours that Ian unleashed across Florida. Over the course of 72 hours, a weather station in Orlando measured 16.77 inches of rain, nearly three times the typical September rainfall of 6.37 inches. Preliminary weather data from Orlando International Airport shows that the monthly rainfall total is at 22.45 inches, which would make this September the wettest month in city history. The current monthly rainfall record is 19.10, which was set back in October of 1915. One of the highest rainfall totals in Florida has been 18.91 inches in North Port, located near Florida’s Gulf Coast, about 35 miles northwest of Fort Myers and about 30 miles north of where Ian made landfall on Wednesday.
Search and rescue operations ramped up Thursday morning across Florida as Ian continued to dump heavy rainfall across the Sunshine State. AccuWeather National Reporter Jillian Angeline captured footage of rescues taking place in the Orlovista neighborhood in Orlando Thursday morning.
The United States Coast Guard shared a video to Twitter of ongoing search and rescue efforts in the Key West area. Officials were also surveying damaged properties in the wake of Ian.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis offered his thanks Thursday morning for the first responders who were actively looking to rescue those who remain stranded and in harm’s way. “I just want to thank the urban search and rescue teams, the National Guard, the state resources and the Coast Guard for not waiting around but going in there and understanding that time is of the essence and we got a lot of people we need to help,” he said.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Thursday morning that a 72-year-old man died of an apparent drowning during the overnight hours Thursday. The victim went outside his home in the city of Deltona to drain his pool during Ian’s approach, the sheriff’s office said, Deltona is located roughly 25 miles northeast of Orlando. “Deputies responded to a home on Poinciana Lane near Lake Bethel around 1 a.m. after the victim’s wife reported he disappeared after heading outside. While searching for him, deputies found his flashlight, then spotted the victim unresponsive in a canal behind the home,” officials said in a statement. “The initial investigation indicates the victim was using a hose to drain the pool down a hill and into a 30-foot-wide canal, where a steep decline into the water was extremely soft and slippery due to the heavy rain.” After the victim was pulled from the canal he was given CPR when paramedics arrived. He was then transported to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.
The wrath of Ian has left entire towns in the dark across Florida. As of 8:45 a.m. EDT Thursday, more than 2.6 million electric customers were without power across the state, according to PowerOutage.us. The bulk of the outages was in the area where Ian made landfall, with virtually every resident and business in Hardee County in the dark.
Internet outages and disruptions to cell phone service are also plaguing residents who are cut off from the rest of Florida due to Ian. “Portable towers are on the way for cell service,” the Collier County sheriff’s office said. “Chances are your loved ones do not have [the] ability to contact you.” Utility crews will begin to work to restore power on Thursday as floodwaters recede and Ian moves away from Florida.
Hurricane Ian brought storm surge and torrential rain to Marco Island, which is just southwest of Naples, on Wednesday, flooding multiple roadways across the island. But, by early Thursday morning, the floodwaters had receded, Marco Island Police Department said in an update. Utilities and traffic lights are still out and cell phone coverage is intermittent, the police department wrote.
Jason Beal, a Marco Island resident, shared photos of the flooding on social media on Wednesday. Among the photos, a river of water was pictured covering North Collier Boulevard, which is one of the main roads to get on and off the island. ”The water looked like a stream coming down the road when it came in,” Beal said to AccuWeather. “I think this will be less damage than Irma on Marco [Island].” Beal noted the differences between the two storms, stating Hurricane Irma brought extensive wind damage to the island, while Hurricane Ian was more like a flash flood.
Storm surge, torrential rain and high winds turned streets into rivers and knocked out power on Marco Island in southwest Florida on Sept. 28, 2022. (Jason Beal)
President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for Florida early Thursday morning, allowing for federal aid to be used to help the recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ian. The declaration was approved for nine of the hardest-hit counties: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota. “Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster,” the White House said in a press release. Other federal resources will be available across the entire state as millions work together to pick up the pieces following the historic storm.
A section of the Sanibel Causeway, the only bridge that leads to Sanibel Island, collapsed on Wednesday night in the wake of Hurricane Ian. The island is a barrier island located just south of where Ian made landfall on Wednesday and is home to around 6,500 people. It is unclear how many people rode out the storm on the island or how long it will take until repairs can be made. Officials are planning to evaluate the rest of the bridge to determine if other sections are at risk of collapse.
AccuWeather forecasters caution that Ian’s center will move across the Florida Peninsula and emerge over the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday. When this occurs, Ian will drift off the coast of northeastern Florida for a period of time before moving inland and making a third landfall. Given Ian’s current track, the most likely timing for its third landfall is late Friday afternoon to early Friday evening. Forecasters have narrowed down landfall to be between Folly Beach and Edisto Beach, both of which are just south of Charleston, South Carolina.
Hurricane Ian joined some infamous company Wednesday, becoming the sixth hurricane designated as Category 4 or more to strike the Gulf Coast since 2017. The storm joins 2018’s Category 5 Hurricane Michael and 2017’s Category 4 Hurricane Irma as hurricanes that made landfall in Florida. Other notable hurricanes to hit the Gulf Coast since 2017 include 2017’s Category 4 Hurricane Harvey (first landfall made in Texas), 2020’s Hurricane Laura (first landfall made in Louisiana) and 2021’s Hurricane Ida (first landfall made in Louisiana).
Click here for previous reports on Hurricane Ian.