Hurricane Ian, weakened but still formidable, crossed Florida towards the Atlantic coast this Thursday, after battering the Gulf coast of the state with fierce winds of up to 240 km / h, torrential downpours and raging waves that inundated coastal communities. Some South Florida locations, such as Cape Coral and Fort Myers, have been “devastated” by Hurricane Ian, state governor Ron DeSantis said Thursday. Nearly two million people have lost power across the state.
‘Ian’ made landfall in southwestern Florida on Wednesday afternoon as a category four hurricane, tying for the fifth strongest hurricane in US history, according to ‘The Washington Post’. The hurricane is reminiscent of ‘Charley’ in 2004, the strongest to make landfall on the west coast of the Florida peninsula, with winds of 240 kilometers per hour.
However, in the last hours the hurricane has weakened to become a tropical storm, but is still expected to bring strong winds, heavy rain and storm surge to parts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, the US National Hurricane Center said.
Ian is expected to be in inland Florida for the remainder of the day and emerge over the western Atlantic at night, according to the NHC. Meanwhile, it has wreaked havoc in different parts of Florida. The city of Punta Gorda was 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. 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 Naples, in southwestern Florida, images from the channel MSNBC showed completely flooded streets and cars floating in the current, while in Fort Myers, the floods were so great that some neighborhoods resembled lakes. In some areas, flooding can exceed the three metersState Governor Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday night.
The President of the United States, Joe Biden, declared this Thursday the state of disaster in the state of Florida. With this declaration, the president has ordered the delivery of federal aid to local authorities so that they can launch recovery efforts in the most affected areas, especially in the counties of Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota.
The hurricane is expected to cause more than €68.8 billion in damages and losses, according to the Bloomberg news agency. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has previously explained that, at the moment, there are already at least 200,000 power outages registered throughout the state of Florida, ensuring that the interruption of the electrical network will be “widespread.”