Tropical Storm Ian continued to move east across Florida early Thursday and could still cause “catastrophic” flooding, forecasters warned.
Ian made landfall in southwest Florida as a major Category 4 hurricane, just shy of Category 5, as one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the US.
It left people trapped in homes and large areas of the state without power. Some 2.5 million homes and businesses were in darkness as of 5 a.m. EDT, according to blackout.uyes
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the center of Ian was “expected to move away from the east-central Florida coast later today and then approach the coast of South Carolina on Friday. The center will move inland.” through the Carolinas on Friday night and Saturday. .. A slight re-intensification is forecast, and Ian could be near hurricane strength when it approaches the South Carolina coast on Friday. Some weakening is expected Friday night and Saturday after Ian moves inland.”
The center warned: “Life-threatening and widespread catastrophic urban and flash flooding, with record flooding along rivers, will continue in central Florida. Significant and widespread urban and riverine flash flooding is expected in parts of Northeast Florida, southeastern Georgia, and eastern South Carolina tomorrow through the weekend.”
As of 5 a.m. EDT Thursday, Ian’s center was about 40 miles southeast of Orlando and 35 miles southwest of Cape Canaveral. It was moving northeast at 8 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. Sustained winds of 74 mph are needed for a storm to reach hurricane status.