WATCH: Jim Cantore Gets Hit by Tree Branch, Struggles to Stand in 100+ MPH Winds During Hurricane Ian

by Suzanne Halliburton
Jonathan Saruk/The Weather Channel via Getty Images

As powerful Hurricane Ian approached the coast of southwest Florida Wednesday afternoon, meteorologist Jim Cantore did what he normally does in coverage of major storms. He went viral. It’s his Weather Channel thing.

The 58-year-old Cantore stood in the middle of an empty street to show viewers the very real impact of the harsh winds and rains of Hurricane Ian. Cantore was reporting from Punta Gorda, Fla. So he was about 22 miles northeast from where Hurricane Ian’s eye first made landfall at Cayo Costa, a barrier island on the coast. Landfall was about 3 p.m. local time.

Of course, there was video. Winds ranged from 61 to 110 miles per hour. Cantore crouched like a big cat to stay somewhat upright. Another person appeared and looked like the was dancing the running man into the wind.

Take a look. Then keep reading to see how crazy this got.

Hurricane Ian Finally Forced Cantore Inside

Cantore reported some more. The wind was so brutal it was bending street signs like straws. It picked up pieces of debris and swept it down the street. Cantore got sideswiped by a tree branch.

And as he clutched a One-Way stop sign, he said “you just can’t stand up.” Eventually, he gave Hurricane Ian his due.

“You know what, I think I’m just going to come in here for a second. …. Give me a second. I’m fine, I’m fine. You just can’t stand up.”

At one point, The Weather Channel anchor inside the studio begged Cantore to go to safety. Hurricane Ian didn’t know Cantore was a reporter talking to millions as opposed to some mindless adrenaline junkie trying to test the winds.

“Jim, come on in for some cover my man, come on in,” the anchor said. “We can have a conversation when you’re under some cover. That’s too much. We’re going to give Jim a break there.”

Hurricane Ian was a category 4 storm when it reached the Florida peninsula. It’s following the same path as Hurricane Charley from 2004. After sweeping past the barrier island, it made a second landfall at Punta Gorda, where Cantore was going live. Punta Gorda is just north of Fort Myers. The wind was so powerful in the eye wall that a father and his son-in-law struggled to keep their sliding glass door from opening.

But let’s circle back to Cantore. People who live along the Gulf Coast are familiar with these type of massive storms. It’s gotten to be kind of game to see where Cantore shows up. You never want to see Cantore show up in your town.

One Twitter user wrote: “The six horsemen of an impending hurricane, in order of severity: – Publix begins selling hurricane cakes – Midwestern family starts checking in – Disney closes – Editor asks you to check out plywood supply at Home Depot – Jim Cantore arrives – Waffle House closes.”

Let’s hope everyone stays safe from Hurricane Ian.