Ian, which is now a tropical storm, is expected to regain strength and become a hurricane – again – on Thursday evening. The storm has left Florida and is forecast to hit South Carolina, where a hurricane warning was issued for the entire coast.
Ian made landfall in southwestern Florida on Wednesday as a major Category 4 hurricane, just shy of a Category 5, then tore across the state. It was one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the U.S. and left a path of flooding and destruction.
People are trapped in homes. Videos and images show devastating flooding. And wide swaths of the state — more than 2.6 million homes and businesses — are without power, according to poweroutage.us.
“Major-to-record river flooding will continue across central Florida through next week,” the National Hurricane Center says. “Considerable flash, urban, and river flooding is expected across coastal portions of northeast Florida, southeastern Georgia, and eastern South Carolina through Friday.”
Ian is now churning off of Florida’s east coast. The storm’s center was some 25 miles north-northeast of Cape Canaveral and about 285 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina, as of 11 a.m. Thursday. It was moving north-northeast at 9 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.
Sustained winds of 74 mph are needed for a storm to reach hurricane status, which is expected to happen on Thursday before Ian hits South Carolina on Friday.