Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said on Wednesday evening that the storm surge from Hurricane Ian had likely peaked, but added that damage would likely be inflicted across the state, Reuters reported.
Hurricane Ian had made landfall along the southwestern coast of Florida, near Cayo Costa, around 3:05 p.m. ET Wednesday with winds near 150 mph, making it a strong Category 4 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said.
The storm is delivering a catastrophic trifecta of high winds, heavy rain and historic storm surge to the state and is set to cause significant power outages and flooding as it moves at a slow pace across central Florida over the next day or two, reported CNN.
Hurricane Ian is tied for the strongest storm to make landfall on the west coast of the Florida peninsula, matching the wind speed of Hurricane Charley in 2004.
Already, over a million Florida utility customers were without power as of 3:45 p.m., according to PowerOutage.us. Officials in Cape Coral and Punta Gorda reported significant impacts, and the storm surge set records for the highest water levels ever observed in Fort Myers and Naples.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office, south of Fort Myers, reported people being trapped in their homes, according to the department’s post on Facebook. The Sheriff’s Office said it’s in “call triage mode” and getting numerous calls of people trapped by water.
DeSantis requested President Joe Biden approve a major disaster declaration for all 67 counties in the state due to Hurricane Ian, his office said in a news release. DeSantis is also requesting that Biden grant FEMA the authority to provide 100% federal cost share for debris removal and emergency protective measures for the first 60 days from Ian’s landfall.
On Tuesday, authorities in Florida ordered 2.5 million residents to evacuate as Hurricane Ian was moving north from Cuba.