Watch: Houses submerged, two million without power as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in Florida

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has told Fox News that Hurricane Ian "is clearly the biggest flood event" the south-west of the state has ever seen

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, September 29, 2022, 10:25 AM IST
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Hurricane Ian made landfall near Fort Myers, Florida, and left the city devastated | Twitter/@toris_version

Hurricane Ian plunged much of coastal southwest Florida into darkness on Wednesday, as the powerful Category 4 storm brought "catastrophic" storm surges, wind and flooding that had officials readying a huge emergency response.

Aside from turning streets into rivers, more than two million people in Florida have no electricity as a result of the hurricane. It made landfall on Wednesday afternoon with maximum sustained wind speeds of 241km/h near the Floridian city of Fort Myers.

The hurricane barrelled through Cuba earlier on Tuesday, killing two people and shattering the country's electrical grid.

Meanwhile, the US Border Patrol said that up to 20 migrants were missing after their boat sank, with four Cubans swimming to shore in the Florida Keys islands and three rescued at sea by the coast guard.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has warned people in the storm's path to get ready for "a nasty, nasty" couple of days. President Joe Biden is set to receive a briefing on Thursday at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

DeSantis has told Fox News that Hurricane Ian "is clearly the biggest flood event" the south-west of the state has ever seen.

"That, of course, presents a lot of hazards on the backend. We've been telling folks: be careful once the storm goes past," DeSantis said.

He said that during Hurricane Irma in 2017, seven people died as a direct result of the storm, but a further 77 people died in the aftermath.

The Republican governor was asked about support from Democratic President Biden's administration.

DeSantis said he had requested financial support from the federal government for the next 60 days, and he was optimistic about receiving it.

"I'll work with anybody that wants to help the people of south-west Florida, throughout our state."

About 2.5 million people were ordered to evacuate southwest Florida before Ian hit, but by law no one could be forced to flee.

News anchors at Fort Myers television station WINK had to abandon their usual desk and continue storm coverage from another location in their newsroom because water was pushing into their building near the Caloosahatchee River.

Though expected to weaken to a tropical storm as it marches inland at about 14 kph, Ian’s hurricane force winds were likely to be felt well into central Florida.

In the hours since landfall, top sustained winds had gradually dropped to 150 kph, making it a Category 1 hurricane crossing the peninsula. Still, storm surges as high as 2 metres were expected on the opposite side of the state, in northeast Florida.

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