On Wednesday afternoon, Hurricane Ian officially hit the sunshine state. According to reports, the storm made landfall in Fort Myers, Fla., submerging the area in floodwater as an 18-foot storm surge hit the state’s western coast.
Now, devastating flooding has slammed into Naples and Sanibel Island homes, with people’s windows being ripped off and multiple properties being engulfed by the flood water.
In addition, the massive storm sucked all the water from around Tampa Bay as the Category 4 storm hit the coast as winds intensified up to 155mph. Additionally, Hurricane Ian is the fifth storm in history to crash into the shore at that speed.
Hurricane Ian first ripped into Fort Myers once it made landfall, with apocalyptic images from after the initial surge showing homes destroyed by its deadly path.
At the same time, Naples and Sanibel Island communities were also decimated by the unprecedented hurricane, with houses overtaken by flooding and debris.
As for the entire state, at this time, at least 650,000 households are without power. However, according to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, he expects the number to extend into the millions.
DeSantis also urged Floridians who decided to brave the storm to stay in their homes or their emergency bunkers while the historic hurricane battered the coastline.
However, some risky residents ignored his statements and went to the ocean with inflatables and surfboards, while others watched on piers to take photographs of the cyclone.
Hurricane Ian batters in Florida, residents brace for impact
Hurricane Ian’s landfall comes just days after it blasted into Cuba, causing millions of dollars of damage. In addition, it’s also left one person dead.
In Martin County, authorities have already discovered one body in floodwater. The Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the victim had been working on construction early on Wednesday morning.
Currently, extreme wind warnings are in place for the Sanibel, Cape Corral, and Boca Grande areas. In addition, Naples has recorded a historic storm surge from Hurricane Ian. It reported a surge as high as 4.8 feet, ousting 4.25 feet during 2017’s Hurricane Irma.
As for damages, state officials believe it’s expected to reach $45 billion as the hurricane grows in strength and intensity.
In Fort Myers, the city has been engulfed in 18 feet of storm surge. In addition, power lines in the area have reportedly sparked near homes from the hurricane. Additionally, cars have been seen floating in some areas.
According to meteorologists, the western eyewall is currently ramming into Estero Blvd, with water rising as high as three-story buildings.
Beyond Florida, parts of Georgia and South Carolina could also see flooding and some coastal surge into Saturday. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has already declared an emergency, deploying 500 National Guard troops onto standby to respond as needed.