Florida braces for Ian

Hurricane Ian started to hit Florida's southwest coast on Wednesday, strengthening to just shy of the most dangerous Category 5 status.

By

National News

September 28, 2022 - 1:46 PM

Christopher Stawasz, with Global Medical Response, walks among ambulances gathered at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 27, 2022. The ambulances were staging in preparation for Hurricane Ian, which is approaching Florida’s west coast. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., (AP) — Hurricane Ian’s most damaging winds began hitting Florida’s southwest coast Wednesday, lashing the state with heavy rain and pushing a devastating storm surge after strengthening to just shy of the most dangerous Category 5 status.

Fueled by warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Ian grew to a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane overnight with top winds of 155 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm trudged on a track to make landfall north of the heavily populated Fort Myers area, which forecasters said could be inundated by a storm surge of up to 18 feet.

“This is going to be a nasty nasty day, two days,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said early Wednesday, stressing that people in Ian’s path along the coast should rush to the safest possible shelter and stay there.

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