Hurricane ‘Ian’ makes landfall in Florida, ‘high’ winds and ‘catastrophic flooding’

PORT CHARLOTTE | Florida was anxiously awaiting the daytime arrival of the Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday Ianwhich is “escalating rapidly” and could lead to “catastrophic” consequences according to the American weather services, after devastating western Cuba.

• Read also: Cuba devastated, Florida braces for worst of Hurricane Ian

• Read also: Widespread power outage after Hurricane Ian hit Cuba

Ian was already causing « catastrophic sea flooding, winds, and flooding » in Florida, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest bulletin.

Impact from the Category 4 hurricane is expected imminently on the west coast of the Florida peninsula, with the country’s weather services warning that the storm will be « historic ».

Carrying sustained winds of up to 250 km/h and even “higher” gusts, Ian is heading for the west coast of Florida where it is expected in the early afternoon local time. The hurricane must then “move over land” during the day, and “emerge over the western Atlantic by Thursday evening”.

Between 30 and 45 cm of precipitation is expected in central and northeast Florida, and up to 60 cm in some places, according to the NHC.

  • Listen to the interview with Denise Dumont, Florida resident on Philippe-Vincent Foisy’s show broadcast live daily at 7:51 a.m. via QUB-radio :

The phenomena of marine submersion could also reach more than five meters on the coasts.

« This is a major storm, » Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday morning at a news conference, warning that Ian could make landfall as a Category 5 hurricane, the highest category on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

« Very powerful »

In the morning, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis warned that Ian could make landfall as a Category 5 hurricane, the highest category on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

« Clearly this is a very powerful hurricane that will have far-reaching consequences, » he said.

Evacuation orders were given overnight for a dozen counties on the coast, and according to Ron DeSantis these were generally followed in these very sensitive areas, « but perhaps not by everyone ».

The director of Fema (the federal agency in charge of the management of natural disasters) affirmed that Ian would continue to be a “very dangerous” storm for “the days to come”.

Authorities are preparing « for the historic and catastrophic effects that we are already beginning to see, » even though Ian has yet to make landfall, Deanne Crisswell said at a press conference.

In Port Charlotte, a city of about 64,000 people on the west coast of Florida, dozens of motorists were still driving through the streets on Wednesday morning despite the rain and high winds, an AFP journalist noted.

As a result of the beginnings of the storm, the sea has retreated into the estuary near Charlotte Harbor and several small boats are resting on dry land.

» Anxiety «

On Tuesday, Joe Biden also warned that Ian “could be a very violent hurricane, the impact of which would be devastating and put lives at risk”.

“The closer he gets, the more the anxiety obviously rises with the unknown,” observed Chelsea Thompson, 30, who was helping her parents secure their home Tuesday in an evacuation zone southwest of Tampa.

According to, more than 270,000 homes were already without power in Florida as of 11:25 a.m.

Ahead of Ian’s arrival, Tampa airport suspended operations late Tuesday afternoon, while Orlando’s did the same at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

According to the Pentagon, 3,000 members of the National Guard are mobilized in Florida, with 1,800 more on the way.

NASA had given up on the takeoff scheduled for Tuesday of its new mega-rocket for the Moon, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Rapid escalation

Hurricane Ian, then in category 3, had previously hit Cuba on Tuesday, devastating the west of the country for five hours before heading towards the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Cuban meteorological institute Insmet.

Two people were killed in the western province of Pinar del Rio according to Cuban state media. The island and its 11.2 million inhabitants have been plunged entirely into darkness.

As the surface of the oceans warms, the frequency of the most intense hurricanes, with stronger winds and greater precipitation, increases, but not the total number of hurricanes.

According to Gary Lackmann, professor of atmospheric sciences at North Carolina State University, in the United States, several studies have demonstrated a « possible link » between climate change, and a phenomenon known as « intensification fast » – when a relatively weak tropical storm strengthens into a Category 3 or greater hurricane within 24 hours, as was the case with Ian.

“A consensus remains that there will be fewer storms in the future, but that the biggest ones will be more intense,” the scientist told AFP.


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