Monster Hurricane Ian devastates Florida leaving 2.5million without power, many trapped in homes

Authorities in Florida have warned that fatalities will be ‘in the hundreds’ as Hurricane Ian continues to barrel its way across the state leaving a trail of complete destruction in its wake.

Scores of people remain trapped on the roofs of their flooded homes as 2.5million are without power, with officials warning evacuees not to return home after the Sunshine State was battered by 150mph winds and 18ft storm surges.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno, whose area covers Fort Myers, which has been one of the worst affected by the monster storm, confirmed that he was expecting hundreds of fatalities in his jurisdiction alone.

He told GMA: ‘While I don’t have confirmed numbers, I definitely know the fatalities are in the hundreds.

‘Thousands of people are waiting to be rescued, I cannot give a true assessment until we are on scene assessing each scene and we can’t access people that is the problem. 

‘This will be a life changing event for the men and women who are responding. This is a life-changing event for all of us.’

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood predicted the recovery effort for the tsunami-life waves hitting the state will be like ‘something we’ve not seen in this county ever.’

Sanibel Island appears to have been cut off from mainland Florida as shocking photos show the Causeway Bridge collapsed into the Gulf of Mexico, as President Biden declared a ‘major disaster’. 

Hurricane Ian blasted ashore with catastrophic force on Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 storm, but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm by the National Hurricane Center in an update early on Thursday.

It is located around 35 miles southwest of Cape Canaveral, with maximum speeds of 65mph, and is moving northeast at around 8 mph.

However it could be nearing hurricane strength again when it approaches the coast of South Carolina on Friday, which is set to be it’s second US landfall.

Experts are expecting the damages to cost up to $260billion, though the clean-up efforts are currently unable to get underway as swathes of Florida remain underwater.

Horrifying pictures show the level of devastation in Fort Myers with boats usually in the marina being forced onto the shore amid broken palm trees and damages infrastructures

A section of the Sanibel Causeway was knocked out by Hurricane Ian, leaving the population of 6,300 residents stranded in the aftermath of the killer storm as it is the only way on or off the island 

Hurricane Ian is barreling its way across Florida, leaving a devastating trail of destruction in its wake as scores of people remain trapped in their flooded homes and 2.5 million are without power

Video images of the storm’s fury on local TV and social media showed floodwater nearly reaching rooftops in some communities, sweeping away cars and the ruins of homes as palm trees were bent almost in half. Pictured: Stills from video shows an orange roof of a house floating down a flooded street in Naples

This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite handout image shows Hurricane Ian, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm, making it’s way over the Atlantic 

The hurricane, one of the strongest to ever hit the US, diminished significantly in force after nightfall and was downgraded to a tropical storm in the early hours of Thursday morning with sustained winds of 65mph. It is now close to Melbourne on Florida’s east coast and is moving towards the Atlantic at 10mph and is expected to emerge over the Atlantic waters near the Kennedy Space Center later in the day

A flooded street is seen in downtown as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in southwestern Florida, in Fort Myers

Storm debris litters a street in the wake of Hurricane Ian September 28, 2022 in Sarasota, Florida

A time lapse video from Fort Myers shows the devastating flooded water streaming in and flooding streets 

Biden declares major disaster in Florida: President frees up funds for state ravaged by Hurricane Ian

Joe Biden declared a ‘major disaster’ in Florida early Thursday morning after Hurricane Ian made landfall, leaving 2.5 million without power.

The president’s declaration makes federal funding available to nine counties on the Gulf Coast of the Sunshine State. The funding could include assistance for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to help cover uninsured property, among other programs. 

The cost of repairing and reconstructing homes from the storm damage could cost up to $260 billion, according to property experts CoreLogic. 

Hurricane Ian is now close to Melbourne on Florida’s east coast, moving towards the Atlantic, and is expected to emerge over the Atlantic waters near the Kennedy Space Center later on Thursday.

Lee County Sheriff’s Office have advised people struggling to get through to ‘keep trying’ as no electricity and patchy cellphone coverage meaning many calls for help weren’t getting through.  

The slow-moving hurricane is continuing to unleash drenching rains as it creeps inland, trapping scores of people – believed to be thousands – in their flooded homes.

‘Severe and life-threatening storm surge inundation of 8 to 10 feet above ground level along with destructive waves is ongoing along the southwest Florida coastline from Englewood to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor,’ the National Hurricane Center warned.

Florida’s idyllic southwestern shoreline, dotted with sandy beaches, coastal towns and mobile home parks, was rapidly transformed into a disaster zone inundated by seawater. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott earlier this week sent urban search-and-rescue teams, consisting of 45 people, four boats and two canines, to help with the efforts. 


The town of Punta Gorda, north of Fort Myers, was in near-total darkness after the storm wiped out power, save for the few buildings with generators.

Video images of the storm’s fury with floodwater reaching rooftops in the worst-hit communities, sweeping away cars and the ruins of homes as palm trees were bent almost in half.

Fire crews and police officers have been inundated with calls from people trapped in flooded homes, while others posted on social media pleading for themselves or loved ones to be rescued after they chose to ride out the storm at home rather than heed evacuation orders.

A flooded street is seen in downtown as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in southwestern Florida, in Fort Myers, Florida, on Wednesday

A general view of docks damaged due to high waves, wind and rain on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in southwestern Florida

A man walks among fallen palm leaves and debris in a street in downtown as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in southwestern Florida, in Fort Myers, Florida

People play in the breaking waves at the Malecon, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Havana, Cuba on Wednesday 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said rescue crews have been unable to reach them due to the ferocity of the winds and flooding.

Horrifying footage shows  debris-strewn water flooding the ground floor of homes, prompting residents to rush to higher levels.

Brittany Hailer, a journalist in Pittsburgh, contacted rescuers about her mother in North Fort Myers, whose home was swamped by 5 feet of water.

She said:  ‘We don’t know when the water’s going to go down. We don’t know how they’re going to leave, their cars are totaled. Her only way out is on a boat.’

Robbie Berg, senior hurricane specialist with the National Hurricane Center, said: ‘It doesn’t matter what the intensity of the storm is. We’re still expecting quite a bit of rainfall.’


Thousands of residents on Sanibel Island have had their only way to flee completely destroyed, as the Causeway fell into the see.

It cut off access to the barrier island where 6,300 people usually live, though it is unclear how many chose to stay on the island despite the mandatory evacuation orders.

The island was battered by 150mph winds and huge tsunami-like waves as Ian made landfall yesterday, with footage showing hotel guests battling to keep the windows on a building.

A timelapse video shows how quickly the remote coastline island was swallowed by the masses of floodwater, becoming completely submerged in just 30 minutes. 

SANIBEL: Family and friends of residents on Sanibel iIsland are terrified as they have not been able to make contact with those who did not flee the mandatory evacuation zone


Firefighters in Naples are urging locals to find the highest point of their home to remain safe, but are warning residents to stay out of their attic’s.

Authorities are also asking everyone to stay off the roads as it is ‘not safe’, telling anyone who remained in the county to wait for the storm to pass.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office, which includes Naples, added: ‘Portable towers are on the way for cell service. Chances are your loved ones do not have ability to contact you.

‘We can tell you as daylight reveals the aftermath, it’s going to be a hard day.’

Thousands of people were understood to be trapped on the roof of their properties yesterday, with recuse attempts expected to get underway today.


Up to a foot of rain is forecast for parts of Northeast Florida, coastal Georgia and the Lowcountry of South Carolina. 

As much as 6 inches could fall in southern Virginia as the storm moves inland over the Carolinas, and the center said landslides were possible in the southern Appalachian mountains.

The Weather Underground predicted the storm would pass near Daytona Beach and go into the Atlantic before veering back ashore in South Carolina on Friday.

The governors of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia all preemptively declared states of emergency. 

Hurricane Ian passed over Naval Air Station (NAS) Key West overnight Sept. 27, causing flood damage and prompting evacuations of Navy personnel and families

A flooded street is seen in downtown as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in southwestern Florida, in Fort Myers on Wednesday


No deaths have officialle been reported in the United States from Ian, but a boat carrying Cuban migrants sank Wednesday in stormy weather east of Key West. 

The U.S. Coast Guard initiated a search and rescue mission for 23 people and managed to find three survivors about two miles south of the Florida Keys, officials said. 

Four other Cubans swam to Stock Island, just east of Key West, the U.S. Border Patrol said. Air crews continued to search for possibly 20 remaining migrants.    

The storm previously tore into Cuba, killing two people and bringing down the country’s electrical grid.


The hurricane’s eye made landfall near Cayo Costa, a barrier island just west of heavily populated Fort Myers, with water draining from Tampa Bay as it approached.

More than 2.5 million Florida homes and businesses were left without electricity, with most of the homes and businesses in 12 counties without power.

Streets were turned into rivers, with the storm surge flooding the lower level emergency room of HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital in Port Charlotte, while fierce winds tore part of its fourth floor roof from its intensive care units.

Water poured in from above onto the ICU, forcing staff to evacuate the hospital’s sickest patients – some of them on ventilators – to other floors.

Sheriff Bull Prummell of Charlotte County, just north of Fort Myers, announced a curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. ‘for life-saving purposes,’ saying violators may face second-degree misdemeanor charges.

‘I am enacting this curfew as a means of protecting the people and property of Charlotte County,’ Prummell said. 


Strong gusts and horizontal rains were still lashing Venice, Florida, a city of about 25,000 residents some 32 miles northwest of where Ian first came ashore at the barrier island of Cayo Costa seven hours earlier.

Larger structures remained mostly intact, but small, residential areas off of Highway 41, a major artery through the area, were left in a shambles.

Downed trees and power lines covered roadways to the point that the asphalt was not visible, roofs were ripped off of some homes, and water was pouring into neighborhoods from seemingly all directions.

A large open lot in front of a Winn Dixie grocery store became a lake, with white-capping waters reaching the trunks of some the cars parked there. Power was out in larger swaths of the area, with communications nearly impossible in many spots.

DeSantis said Ian had generated life-threatening storm surges – waves of wind-driven seawater rushing in along the coast – of up to 12 feet in some places. Forecasters also warned of intense thunderstorms and possible tornadoes.

‘This is a storm that we will talk about for many years to come, an historic event,’ said Ken Graham, director of the National Weather Service.

By comparison, Hurricane Michael came ashore in Florida’s panhandle in 2018 with steady winds of 155 mph, while Ida last year packed sustained winds of 150 mph when it landed in Louisiana.

Even as Ian lashed the coast before it finally swept ashore, authorities warned residents it was too late for anyone who had yet to evacuate to safely do so. Earlier this week, more than 2.5 million residents had been told to evacuate.

Many mobile home residents took refuge in local schools and other facilities converted to emergency shelters. The area’s numerous assisted-living facilities were mostly evacuated, too. Monster Hurricane Ian devastates Florida leaving 2.5million without power, many trapped in homes

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