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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Hurricane Ian makes landfall at near Category 5 strength

Source: Observed and forecast storm positions from NOAA

By The New York Times

The eye of Hurricane Ian reached shore just after 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, making landfall on Cayo Costa, a barrier island just west of Fort Myers, Florida, after several hours of pounding Florida’s southwestern coast. Ian is one of the most powerful storms to strike the United States in decades, and forecasters warned that a broad swath of the state would experience “catastrophic storm surge, wind and flooding.”

At press time on Wednesday:

— The hurricane was just shy of the Category 5 threshold at landfall, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Only two Category 5 storms have made landfall in the United States in the last 30 years, both in Florida.

— More than 800,000 utility customers in Florida were without power, according to, a website that aggregates data from utilities across the United States.

— Forecasters said to expect “extremely dangerous” rains and winds in the coming hours all along the state’s southwestern coast and stretching far inland. The hurricane is expected to continue tracking to the northeast, bringing high winds and heavy rainfall to central Florida and into southeastern Georgia and coastal South Carolina. Officials have advised residents there to prepare an emergency kit and have their emergency plans ready.

— Millions of residents are under evacuation orders or advisories in parts of coastal Florida, but Gov. Ron DeSantis warned Wednesday that it was too late to leave in Collier, Lee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties, where the most powerful part of the storm was making landfall.

— Officials in Cuba said they were working to restore electricity after the storm knocked out power to the entire island Tuesday night. At least two people were killed.

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