Hurricane Ian causes “catastrophic” flooding in Florida | The World | D.W.

The powerful hurricane Ian swept the state of Florida on Wednesday (09.28.2022) with violent winds and torrential rains causing “catastrophic” flooding and power outages in that region of the southeastern United States.

Ian left nearly two million homes without electricity at nightfall on Wednesday in Florida, especially in the areas around the hurricane, according to the specialized site PowerOutage, which records power outages in the United States.

Many of the counties near where Ian made landfall were almost completely without power, according to the same source.

The city of Punta Gorda was also plunged into darkness. During the night, only a few buildings with electric generators were still lit, the only noises around were the roar of the wind and the persistent rain.

came back stronger

Hours before, the city had a brief respite when it was in the eye of the hurricane. But the squalls and rain came back with more force, ripping off signage panels and washing away large chunks of roofing and tree limbs.

In Southwest Florida’s Naples, MSNBC channel images showed completely flooded streets and cars floating in the current, while in Fort Myers, the floods were so great that some neighborhoods resembled lakes.

This image provided by NASA shows Hurricane Ian as photographed from the International Space Station.

In some areas, flooding can exceed ten feet, state Governor Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday night.

Governor DeSantis said Wednesday night that Ian “is one of the five most powerful hurricanes to ever hit Florida.”

catastrophic storm surge

“This is a storm that will be talked about for many years,” National Weather Service (NWS) Director Ken Graham said at a news conference.

The hurricane continued to “attack” with “catastrophic storm surges”, winds above 180 km / h (and will pass tonight through the central region of the state, reported the National Hurricane Center (NHC) of the United States.

Sailboats anchored in Roberts Bay are blown away by strong winds as the hurricane approaches Florida.

Sailboats anchored in Roberts Bay are blown away by strong winds as the hurricane approaches Florida.

At 8:00 local time (02:00 CET), the eye of Ian, which has lowered the force of its winds after touching, was located 50 km northeast of Punta Gorda and 150 km south of Orlando, in the state of Florida.

It is carrying maximum sustained winds of 185 km/h, which means it is still a powerful Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the NHC said. It moves north-northeast course with a speed of 13 km/h.

Georgia and South Carolina in the crosshairs

On the forecast track, the eye of Ian is expected to move across central Florida tonight and Thursday morning, then emerge over the western Atlantic late Thursday and then turn northward Friday and approaches the coasts of northeastern Florida and the states of Georgia and South Carolina.

Hurricane Ian thus left “catastrophic flooding” in its wake, said the Center, which also downgraded the hurricane’s strength to category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, from one to five, although it is still dangerous.

jc (afp, efe)

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