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‘Apocalyptic’ Hurricane Ian reaches Category 4 as it bears down on Florida and winds hit 155mph

Dramatic footage show Fort Myers submerged in floodwater as an 18ft storm surge hits the western coastline of Florida.

Catastrophic flooding has engulfed homes in Naples and Sanibel Island, with windows being torn off and multiple properties swallowed by the water.

The ‘monstrous’ storm has sucked all the water from around Tampa Bay as the Category 4 storm hit the Floridian coast as winds ramped up to 155mph.

Shocking footage also shoes swimmers getting into the storm surge, with many officials warning that it is ‘extremely dangerous’.

Ron DeSantis has warned that the storm is ‘knocking on the door’ of a Category 5 storm and ordered Floridians to prepare for ‘major impact’ ahead of making landfall with winds hitting 155pmh. 

DeSantis warned those in Collier, Charlotte and Sarasota county that it was ‘too late’ to leave and urged anyone still out on the roads to get to a ‘safe place as soon as possible.’

He added that Ian was ‘knocking on the door’ of a Category 5, and confirmed that 200,000 homes have already been reported across the state. 

Charlotte Harbor is bracing for the brunt of the water levels, and could see between 12 to 18ft of surge storm as the eyewall continues to move across the state. 

One body has already been found in floodwater in Martin County, with the Sheriff’s Office confirming that he had been working on construction early Wednesday morning. 

The National Hurricane Center said that the eyewall of Hurricane Ian was moving onshore at Sanibel and Captiva Islands. 

As monster storm has hit:

  • Charlotte County Fire & EMS has suspended emergency response to calls for service due to hazardous weather conditions
  • Republican DeSantis spoke with President Biden by telephone to discuss preparations for the storm, according to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
  • DeSantis invoked a statewide state of emergency Sunday and has 7,000 memebrs of the National Guard on standby to help in the aftermath of the storm 
  • Tom Brady has evacuated his family to Miami, as he and wife Gisele Bündchen packed up their things and travelled with their children from their Tampa Bay home 
  • More than 11 million in Cuba were left without power after the initial winds of the powerful then-Category 3 storm pounded the island’s south coast
Naples in Florida has been compeltely submerged by floodwated as the coastal town continues to be battered by Hurricane Ian

Naples in Florida has been compeltely submerged by floodwated as the coastal town continues to be battered by Hurricane Ian

Cars can be seen floating in the 18ft storm surge in Fort Myers, with thousands of homes being submerged underwater as winds batter the trees

Cars can be seen floating in the 18ft storm surge in Fort Myers, with thousands of homes being submerged underwater as winds batter the trees 

Fort Myers, Naples and Sanibell Island have already been flooded, with the beach in Fory Myers currently underwater as stronger rainfall and winds are set to hit

Fort Myers, Naples and Sanibell Island have already been flooded, with the beach in Fory Myers currently underwater as stronger rainfall and winds are set to hit

Charlotte Harbor is bracing for the brunt of the water levels, and could see between 12 to 18ft of surge storm as the eyewall continues to move across the state

Charlotte Harbor is bracing for the brunt of the water levels, and could see between 12 to 18ft of surge storm as the eyewall continues to move across the state

Roofs were damages and trees flattened vehicles as emerghency services  rushed to help those in need in Naples, Florida, as Hurricane Ian hit the coast

Roofs were damages and trees flattened vehicles as emerghency services  rushed to help those in need in Naples, Florida, as Hurricane Ian hit the coast

Utility trucks are staged in a rural lot in The Villages of Sumter County, Florida,in a move to protect the vehicles against the high winds

Utility trucks are staged in a rural lot in The Villages of Sumter County, Florida,in a move to protect the vehicles against the high winds

Properties up and down the coastline have been partially destroyed as the 155mph winds hit, with no major injuries currently being reported

Properties up and down the coastline have been partially destroyed as the 155mph winds hit, with no major injuries currently being reported

Planes at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines were flipped over by a tornado as several tropical storm warnings are in place across the state

Planes at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines were flipped over by a tornado as several tropical storm warnings are in place across the state

Charlotte Harbor is bracing for the brunt of the water levels, and could see between 12 to 18ft of surge storm as the eyewall continues to move across the state

Charlotte Harbor is bracing for the brunt of the water levels, and could see between 12 to 18ft of surge storm as the eyewall continues to move across the state

Residents in Key West, Florida, cross a bridge as a boat floats next to the handrails amid the rising water levels as wind batters the area

Residents in Key West, Florida, cross a bridge as a boat floats next to the handrails amid the rising water levels as wind batters the area

An uprooted tree, toppled by strong winds from the outer bands of Hurricane Ian, rests in a parking lot of a shopping center,  in Cooper City, Florida

An uprooted tree, toppled by strong winds from the outer bands of Hurricane Ian, rests in a parking lot of a shopping center,  in Cooper City, Florida

BEFORE
AFTER

The Pink Shell Resort in Fort Myers has been battered by the storm, with the ocean blue pool being overrun with floodwater

Pictures show water receeding from Tampa Bay, due to the movement of the hurricane, as the same phenomenon happened just before Hurricane Irma hit

Pictures show water receeding from Tampa Bay, due to the movement of the hurricane, as the same phenomenon happened just before Hurricane Irma hit

DeSantis warned those in Collier, Charlotte and Sarasota county that it was 'too late' to leave and urged anyone still out on the roads to get to a 'safe place as soon as possible'

DeSantis warned those in Collier, Charlotte and Sarasota county that it was ‘too late’ to leave and urged anyone still out on the roads to get to a ‘safe place as soon as possible’

Emergency vehicles are the only ones to brave the extreme weather on the Sunshine Skyway over Tampa Bay which has seen extreme flooding

Emergency vehicles are the only ones to brave the extreme weather on the Sunshine Skyway over Tampa Bay which has seen extreme flooding

Water is rapidly receding at Hubbard's Marina as the eye of the hurricane has hit Florida at Charlotte Harbor on the western coastline

Water is rapidly receding at Hubbard’s Marina as the eye of the hurricane has hit Florida at Charlotte Harbor on the western coastline

Extreme wind warnings are currently in place for the Sanibel, Cape Corral and Boca Grande areas.

Naples has recorded a historic storm surge from Hurricane Ian, with the latest reaching 4.8 feet, beating 4.25 feet during Hurricane Irma in 2017.

The eye wall consists of a ring of tall thunderstorms that produce heavy rains and usually the strongest winds. 

Pictures show water receeding from Tampa Bay, due to the movement of the hurricane, as the same phenomenon happened just before Hurricane Irma hit. 

The Category 4 storm is nearing Category 5 hours before it is set to make landfall in Florida, after leaving two dead in Cuba and decimating swathes of the island. 

Tampa is bracing for 6ft storm surge before landfall this afternoon, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis telling those who have remained in the red evacuation zones that it is  time to ‘hunker down’ and ‘prepare for the storm’. 

Charlotte County Fire & EMS has suspended emergency response to calls for service due to hazardous weather conditions. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced that 45 members and support personnel from Pennsylvania-Task Force 1 would deploy to South Carolina later Wednesday to support response operations in the aftermath of the storm.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for four counties, including Sarasota and Manatee, which will be in effect until 5pm on Wednesday. 

Officials have warned that the storm surge could reach 18ft, with deadly winds and flooding along the state’s heavily populated Gulf Coast from Bonita Beach to the Tampa Bay region –  with rainfall reaching 18 inches.

Damages are expected to reach $45billion as the storm continues to grow in strength, as more than two million Floridians have been urged to evacuate.

Two people have already been rushed to hospital after a tornado hit an apartment building for people who are 55 years or older in Kings Point, Delray Beach, on Tuesday evening.

SARASOTA: A sail boat is beached at Sarasota Bay as Hurricane Ian hit the western coastline of the US

SARASOTA: A sail boat is beached at Sarasota Bay as Hurricane Ian hit the western coastline of the US

SARASOTA: A police officer drives by an empty street as Hurricane Ian hit in Sarasota, Florida, which is expected to suffer from major flooding

SARASOTA: A police officer drives by an empty street as Hurricane Ian hit in Sarasota, Florida, which is expected to suffer from major flooding

SARASOTA: A tree's branch broke away as strong winds and rain in Sarasota as teh eyewall of Ian moves on shore

SARASOTA: A tree’s branch broke away as strong winds and rain in Sarasota as teh eyewall of Ian moves on shore

SARASOTA: Boats are anchored in Sarosota as the winds ramp up to almost 155mph across the county as Ian continues to strengthen towards a Category 5

SARASOTA: Boats are anchored in Sarosota as the winds ramp up to almost 155mph across the county as Ian continues to strengthen towards a Category 5

Arthur Perkins walks his two dog as the winds and rain from Hurricane Ian arrive in the area

SRASOTA: Arthur Perkins walks his two dog as the winds and rain from Hurricane Ian arrive in the area

PEMBROKE PINES: Many planes were tipped upside down by the tornado, with more warnings in place throughout the day set to cause devestation

PEMBROKE PINES: Many planes were tipped upside down by the tornado, with more warnings in place throughout the day set to cause devestation

PEMBROKE PINES: Dozens of light aircrafts were damaged as the winds picked up on Florida's eastern coastline, close to Miami

PEMBROKE PINES: Dozens of light aircrafts were damaged as the winds picked up on Florida’s eastern coastline, close to Miami 

Large trees were tossed to the ground as parts of the building were completely torn and lifted with residents being evacuated as the tornado hit.

Another tornado hit South East Florida, with rain lashing down and footage showing a parking lot almost being flooded as palm tree’s swayed in the strong winds.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Ian has exceeded previous estimations of top wind speeds of 130 mph and is centered about 75 miles from Florida and is moving north at a forward speed of 10 mph.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued dozens of coastal Florida counties, with voluntary evacuation recommended in several others.

Florida residents rushed to board up their homes and windows with plyboard, as well as stashing precious belongings on upper floors.

The predicted storm surge is expected to cover the majority of Cape Coral and Fort Myers, with thousands of buildings expected to be underwater.   

Floridas Highway Patrol was also forced to close the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in both directions after winds in the area clocked between 50 and 60 mph.

Troopers announced that the bridge will remain closed until the storm passes and the inclement weather subsides. 

Parts of Georgia and South Carolina also could see flooding rains and some coastal surge into Saturday. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp preemptively declared an emergency, ordering 500 National Guard troops onto standby to respond as needed. 

ST PETERSBURG: Harsh waves have been slamming into the pier at St Petersburg as the first winds of Hurricane Ian arrive on the coast of Florida

ST PETERSBURG: Harsh waves have been slamming into the pier at St Petersburg as the first winds of Hurricane Ian arrive on the coast of Florida

ST PETERSBURG: A lone car drives on deserted state road 682 Pinellas Bayway as the first winds of Hurricane Ian arrive

ST PETERSBURG: A lone car drives on deserted state road 682 Pinellas Bayway as the first winds of Hurricane Ian arrive

ST PETERSBURG: Access roads to the Sunshine Skyway bridge are blocked off as the span is closed due to high winds from Hurricane Ian

ST PETERSBURG: Access roads to the Sunshine Skyway bridge are blocked off as the span is closed due to high winds from Hurricane Ian

ST PETERSBURG: Brave fitness fanatics braced themselves ahead of Hurricane Ian to go for a run on the pier in St Petersburg early on Wednesday morning

ST PETERSBURG: Brave fitness fanatics braced themselves ahead of Hurricane Ian to go for a run on the pier in St Petersburg early on Wednesday morning 

It is unclear exactly when the landfall will hit Florida

The storm surge is expected to put thousands of homes underwarter

The predicted storm surge is expected to cover the majority of Cape Coral and Fort Myers, with thousands of buildings expected to be underwater

DELRAY BEACH: A tornado causes severe damage in the areas of Kings Point, Delray Beach, Florida, as Hurricane Ian hits with lightning and heavy raindfall battering the town

DELRAY BEACH: A tornado causes severe damage in the areas of Kings Point, Delray Beach, Florida, as Hurricane Ian hits with lightning and heavy raindfall battering the town

DELRAY BEACH: Hurricane Ian is battering Florida¿s west coast as multiple tornados are sweeping waves of destruction through the Sunshine State. A tree caught fire as a result of a lightning strike in Delray Beach

DELRAY BEACH: Hurricane Ian is battering Florida’s west coast as multiple tornados are sweeping waves of destruction through the Sunshine State. A tree caught fire as a result of a lightning strike in Delray Beach

This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite handout image shows the eye of Hurricane Ian

This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite handout image shows the eye of Hurricane Ian

DELRAY BEACH: Large trees were tossed to the ground as parts of the building were completely torn and lifted with residents being evacuated as the tornado hit in Kings Point

DELRAY BEACH: Large trees were tossed to the ground as parts of the building were completely torn and lifted with residents being evacuated as the tornado hit in Kings Point

DELRAY BEACH: Two people have already been rushed to hospital after a tornado hit an apartment building for people who are 55 years or older in Kings Point, Delray Beach

DELRAY BEACH: Two people have already been rushed to hospital after a tornado hit an apartment building for people who are 55 years or older in Kings Point, Delray Beach

DELRAY BEACH: Properties across the coast of Florida are already being battered and damaged by the storm, with windows ripped from the homes

DELRAY BEACH: Properties across the coast of Florida are already being battered and damaged by the storm, with windows ripped from the homes

Emergency services are battling to keep people safe as the storm is intensifying and likely to cause more than $45billion in damage

DELRAY BEACH: Emergency services are battling to keep people safe as the storm is intensifying and likely to cause more than $45billion in damage

Disney, airports and popular attractions in Florida are CLOSED ahead of Hurricane Ian

Disney:

  • Disney Orlando theme and water parks
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Typhoon Lagoon
  • Winter Summerland Miniature Golf
  • Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf

Airports:

  • Tampa
  • St Pete International
  • Orlando
  • Sarasota Bradenton
  • Fort Lauderdale (delays and cancelations) 

Attractions:

  • Universal Orlando
  • CityWalk
  • SeaWorld Orlando
  • Kennedy Space Center
  • ZooTampa
  • Straz Center
  • Florida Aquarium
  • The Dali Museum
  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
  • Sparkman Wharf
  • Yacht StarShip
  • Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center
  • 11 Waffle House stores
  • Publix in 11 counties

Sports:

  • Lightning preseason postponed
  • Buccaneers relocated to Miami 

More than 11 million in Cuba were left without power after the initial winds of the powerful then-Category 3 storm pounded the island’s south coast, killing two and causing the electrical system to experience a total collapse. 

Photos show the extent of the damage left in the ‘extremely dangerous’ hurricane’s wake as it makes its way north toward the Sunshine State – where meteorologists have warned that it should make landfall around 4pm.

The Florida Power and Light Company reported 17,255 outages across several counties in Florida, as DeSantis confirmed that 200,000 properties have been left without power. 

In Broward, there were more than 6,700 outages while there were 5,700 outages in Miami-Dade.

Tom Brady has announced he is evacuating his family to Miami, as he and wife Gisele Bündchen packed up their things and travelled with their children from their Tampa Bay home. 

The pair announced the move hours after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers said that they would be evacuating to the Miami area, and will be practicing at the Miami Dolphins facility. 

DeSantis, who invoked a statewide state of emergency Sunday, has prepared 30,000 workers on standby to help once Florida’s power grid inevitably topples in Ian’s wrath. 

Floridians were last night warned that it was their final chance to flee their homes before being forced to brace for Ian’s wrath.

Terrifying footage shows the coast being battered by high winds and homes and buisnesses flooded by more than two feet of water, as more extreme weather is yet to come. 

DeSantis has warned that Hurricane Ian will cause ‘catastrophic’ flooding across the Sunshine State and urged people to prepare for the ‘historic’ storm.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, DeSantis said that ‘safety is paramount’ for anyone in the state, and warned those on the north coast and gulf coast that they could be hit hardest by the ‘different’ storm. 

He added: ‘Mother nature is a very fearsome adversary, please heed those evacuation warnings. You could see power outages, inland flooding, various types of tree damage from wind so be prepared for that.’ 

More than one million homes along Florida’s west coast are at risk of storm surge damage from Hurricane Ian.

The storm will move slower along the coast, maintaining high speed winds, which means that the rainfall and gale-force winds will stay in the same areas for longer. 

Schools in 26 districts across Florida have announced that they will be closed, with some shutting their doors on Tuesday, and all remaining closed through to Friday.

Universities and Florida Colleges are also closing their doors in an attempt to protect the students from the storm.

TAMPA BAY: Wind and rain pick up in the Ybor City neighborhood in Tampa as Hurricane Ian hits the west coast

TAMPA BAY: Wind and rain pick up in the Ybor City neighborhood in Tampa as Hurricane Ian hits the west coast

TAMPA BAY: Hurricane Ian has sucked all the water from around Tampa Bay ¿ a sign that the Category 4 storm is heading closer to the Floridian coast as winds hit 155mph

TAMPA BAY: Hurricane Ian has sucked all the water from around Tampa Bay – a sign that the Category 4 storm is heading closer to the Floridian coast as winds hit 155mph

TAMPA BAY: Pets take shelter in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Ian at Erwin Technical College, a pet friendly shelter for people with special needs

TAMPA BAY: Pets take shelter in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Ian at Erwin Technical College, a pet friendly shelter for people with special needs

TAMPA BAY: A woman takes photos of the rough surf on Tampa Bay ahead of Hurricane Ian, with landfall expected aruond 4pm

TAMPA BAY: A woman takes photos of the rough surf on Tampa Bay ahead of Hurricane Ian, with landfall expected aruond 4pm 

PUNTA GORDA: Homes in  Punta Gorda, Florida, are being partially flooded as water continue sto rise across the state, with some buildings already engulfed

PUNTA GORDA: Homes in  Punta Gorda, Florida, are being partially flooded as water continue sto rise across the state, with some buildings already engulfed

PUNTA GORDA: A car drives on US Road 17 ahead of Hurricane Ian, in Punta Gorda, Florida, with flooding already starting on the road

PUNTA GORDA: A car drives on US Road 17 ahead of Hurricane Ian, in Punta Gorda, Florida, with flooding already starting on the road

Florida on verge of Category 5 monster storm: Hurricane Ian is set to explode into 157mph+ winds, rip trees from their roots and tear apart houses 

Category 2

Sustained winds of 74-95 mph 

Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.

Category 3 

Sustained winds of 96-110mph

Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.

Category 4 

Sustained winds of 111-129mph

Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.

Category 5 

Sustained winds of 130-156mph

Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Sustained winds of 157mph or higher

Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Thousands of guests at Disney World are also being evacuated from hotels and campgrounds in Orlando as Hurricane Ian is baring down on Florida, with areas at the park already suffering from flooding.  

Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom are currently still open and operating under normal conditions, with the company ‘monitoring’ the situation.

The Disney Springs shopping and entertainment complex also will remain open, while Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue will be closed from Wednesday to Friday. 

Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will also be closed for three days. 

Typhoon Lagoon and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf and Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday. 

Cancelation policies are also not being enforced by the entertainment giant, with performances around the Fort Wilderness resort being canceled.

The resort has been battered by heavy rain the past few days, with thousands of visitors braving the weather to enjoy the parks.

A spokesman for the company said: ‘Walt Disney World Resort is currently operating under normal conditions as we prepare to make necessary adjustments based on the latest information from the National Weather Service.

‘We continue to put the safety of our Cast Members and Guests first and will share updates with you as we monitor Hurricane Ian.’

Some hardy Floridians have refused to leave their homes, as two young children were filmed jumping in huge waves along the Key West coast despite the flooding and rough waters on Tuesday.

Many have decided to stay in their homes despite the warning, which means if they do get into any issues then the emergency services will not be able to assist them.

One woman posted on TikTok: ‘I have no evacuation plan except for thugging it out. I’m going to post updates until I drown or survive.’

But others have been desperate to avoid the storm, with Vinod Nair driving from the Tampa area on Tuesday with his wife, son, dog and two kittens seeking a hotel in the tourist district of Orlando.

He said: ‘You can’t do anything about natural disasters. We live in a high risk zone, so we thought it best to evacuate.’

Gil Gonzalez, another in the danger zone was not taking any chances – packing his car with  bottled water, torches, battery packs for their mobile phones and a camp stove before evacuating.

Gonzalez said: ‘All the prized possessions, we’ve put them upstairs in a friend’s house.’

Hurricane Ian could be one of the most expensive cleanup jobs from a storm since Hurricane Irma. 

Excluding Katrina, Irma was the costliest in Florida history, with total U.S. damage from the storm estimated at $50 billion. 

While Hurricane Katrina in 2005 traveled across the southern tip of Florida, most of the deaths and destruction it caused were in New Orleans. 

ORLANDO: Disney's Magic Kingdom was deserted after storms and tornado's hit the souther US coastline on Wednesday

ORLANDO: Disney’s Magic Kingdom was deserted after storms and tornado’s hit the souther US coastline on Wednesday

FORT MYERS: Homes have been boarded up in Fort Myers ahead of Hurricane Ian making landfall, with 200,000 properties being left without power

FORT MYERS: Homes have been boarded up in Fort Myers ahead of Hurricane Ian making landfall, with 200,000 properties being left without power

Biden today said that he would not stand for ¿price gouging¿ by gas and oil companies on the wake of Hurricane Ian, if gas prices were to rise again.

Biden today said that he would not stand for ‘price gouging’ by gas and oil companies on the wake of Hurricane Ian, if gas prices were to rise again.

Satellite imagery shows Hurricane Ian beginning to make landfall over south west Florida after pounding Cuba. Recent data indicates Ian is rapidly intensifying with max sustained winds now up to 155 mph

Worst hurricanes to hit Florida: Ian threatens devastation on a par with Katrina, Andrew and Irma 

While Hurricane Katrina in 2005 traveled across the southern tip of Florida, most of the deaths and destruction it caused were in New Orleans. 

Katrina still ranks as both the deadliest and most expensive hurricane in modern U.S. history.

Excluding Katrina, Hurricane Irma was the costliest in Florida history, with total U.S. damage from the storm estimated at $50 billion.

Hurricane Andrew directly killed 15 people and dozens indirectly, while Hurricane Irma caused seven direct and 80 indirect deaths, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Andrew, 1992

The Category 5 hurricane struck South Miami-Dade County with winds of 165 miles per hour (270 km per hour), causing an estimated $25 billion in damages in the state. Fifteen people were killed as a direct effect of the storm, with dozens more dying of indirect causes. Andrew ranked as the most expensive storm in U.S. history until Hurricane Katrina raged through New Orleans in 2005.

Hurricane Charley, 2004

Charley was an unexpectedly powerful hurricane, rapidly developing into a Category 4 storm just before making landfall at Cayo Costa, an island of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Nine people were directly killed by the storm and an estimated $6.8 billion was lost, according to the NHC.

Hurricane Wilma, 2005

The death toll of Wilma was thankfully low — five people directly — for a Category 4 storm. Even so, the bill for the hurricane’s property damage was particularly high at an estimated $20.6 billion in the U.S. Wilma ravaged the southern part of the state, generating wind gusts of more than 100 mph (161 kph).

Hurricane Irma, 2017

Irma was unique for its extensive size and slow movement, which exacerbated the storm’s damaging winds and heavy rainfall. It left 6.5 million customers without power in the state and caused an estimated $50 billion in property damage, making it one of the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history. Seven people died from the storm and 80 indirectly, according to an NHC tally.

Hurricane Michael, 2018

Michael was the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle, according to the National Weather Service. Wind and storm surge caused catastrophic damage, particularly in the Panama City Beach and Mexico Beach areas. Eight direct fatalities were reported: seven in Florida and one in Georgia. In addition, 43 indirect deaths were attributed to the storm.

Katrina still ranks as both the deadliest and most expensive hurricane in modern U.S. history.

Hurricane Andrew directly killed 15 people and dozens indirectly, while Hurricane Irma caused seven direct and 80 indirect deaths, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Airports in Tampa, St Petersburg and Key West have closed because of the storm.

Disney World has also confirmed that they will be closing their theme parks and water parks on Wednesday and Thursday due to Hurricane Ian.

They will also be closing Disney Springs on Wednesday, while Universal Orland Resort is closing Wednesday and Thursday, as well as cancelling Halloween Horror Nights.

Ian ravaged Cuba’s western regions for more than five hours early Tuesday morning. 

The storm took out Cuba’s power network and plunged the island into darkness, leaving it ‘without electrical service.’

The hurricane proceeded to move out over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, with areas of Florida now experiencing strong winds and flooding as the storm looms just 75 miles off-coast. 

Many Cuban cities have been ripped apart by the 120mph winds, using flashlights and candles to light their homes or using phones to light the street.

The state electric company Unión Eléctrica de Cuba had earlier said they would turn off power in the capital Havana to avoid electrocutions, deaths, and property damage while the island waited out the anticipated storm.

Officials have confirmed that they began to restore some power Wednesday after Hurricane Ian knocked out electricity to the entire island while devastating some of the country´s most important tobacco farms when it hit the island´s western tip as a major storm.

The Energy and Mines Ministry announced it had restored energy to three regions by activating two large power plants in Felton and Nuevitas and was working to get others back on line.

But the capital, Havana, and other parts of western Cuba remained without power on Wednesday in the wake of the major hurricane.

Havana was hit hard by the storm with workers unclogging storm drains and fishermen taking their boats out of the water to try to protect themselves from the flooding.

Ian cut power to nearly 1 million people and tearing roofs off homes as it tracked northward toward Florida, where residents anxiously await the sprawling storm.

Mayelin Suarez, a Pinar del Rio resident who sells ice cream in the provincial capital, was still shaken Tuesday morning after a night she called ‘the darkest of her life.’

Suarez told Reuters: ‘We almost lost the roof off our house. My daughter, my husband and I tied it down with a rope to keep it from flying away.’

Improvised metal roofs on homes and buildings throughout the region, where housing and infrastructure is antiquated and vulnerable, were scattered about streets and yards following the storm. 

A surge of up to 10ft of ocean water and 10 inches of rain is predicted to drench the Tampa Bay area, with as much as 15 inches in isolated areas – enough water to inundate coastal communities.

Experts have warned that Tampa Bay is ‘surge prone’, with Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric and Earth Science.

CUBA: An old American car passes through a flooded street in Havana as the clean up of Hurricane Ian begins on the island

CUBA: An old American car passes through a flooded street in Havana as the clean up of Hurricane Ian begins on the island

CUBA: A man walks by the Malecon in Havana, on September 28, 2022, after the passage of hurricane Ian

CUBA: A man walks by the Malecon in Havana, on September 28, 2022, after the passage of hurricane Ian

CUBA: Power lins can be seen almost falling over in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian as the government attempt to reinstate power across the country

CUBA: Power lins can be seen almost falling over in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian as the government attempt to reinstate power across the country

CUBA: More than 11 million in Cuba were left without power after the initial winds of the powerful then-Category 3 storm pounded the island's south coast

CUBA: More than 11 million in Cuba were left without power after the initial winds of the powerful then-Category 3 storm pounded the island’s south coast

CUBA: A woman holds her head in her hands as she witnesses the damage done by the storm to her property in San Juan Y Martinez

CUBA: A woman holds her head in her hands as she witnesses the damage done by the storm to her property in San Juan Y Martinez

CUBA: People walk through a flooded street in Havana after Hurricane Ian has passed through Cuba and is now battering Florida

CUBA: People walk through a flooded street in Havana after Hurricane Ian has passed through Cuba and is now battering Florida

Thousands of Floridians languish in makeshift shelters in schools, tents and offices stocked with food and water but very little privacy 

Shelters will be stocked up with basic necessities for survival including food, water and a warm place to sleep.

They are often located in schools, office buildings, tents or other facilities, but are unable to provide the same level of convenience or privacy as a hotel or home.

They are able to provide basic first aid, but a person with disabilities/special needs should consider looking into eligibility requirements for a special needs shelter if their particular medical condition requires daily assistance.

 

He said: ‘Strong persistent winds will push a lot of water into the bay and there’s nowhere for it to go, so it just builds up.

‘Tampa Bay is very surge-prone because of its orientation.’

Cathie Perkins, emergency management director in Pinellas County added: ‘That’s a lot of rain. That’s not going to drain out quickly.

‘This is no joke. This is life-threatening storm surge.’

Terrified residents have been desperately digging huge trenches to redirect flood water from their homes while others have stripped supermarket shelves bare of water and essentials.

Floridians lined up for hours in Tampa to collect bags of sand and stock up on essentials from supermarkets as they prepared to bunker down ahead of the monster weather front.

Tampa International Airport said that it would suspend its operations on Tuesday at 5pm local time (2100 GMT).

In Cuba, 50,000 people in Cuba’s western Pinar del Rio province were evacuated to safer locations, 6,000 of them to 55 state-run shelters and the rest to the homes of relatives and friends.

NASA have also been forced to delay the launch of its Artemis rocket again because of the hurricane barreling towards the coast – meaning they will not be able to attempt anther launch for at least three weeks.

The 322-foot-tall rocket has been rolled back four miles to the Vehicle Assembly building at the Kennedy Space Center.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden spoke with DeSantis – a potential 2024 election challenger — on Tuesday evening to discuss preparations for the storm.

The Pentagon said 3,200 national guardsmen had been called up in Florida, with an additional 1,800 coming later.

Authorities in several municipalities, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, were distributing free sandbags to help residents protect their homes from flooding.

Biden preemptively approved emergency aid in Florida through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell highlighted the danger of storm surge, saying it was the agency’s ‘biggest concern.’

‘If people are told to evacuate by their local officials, please listen to them. The decision you choose to make may be the difference between life and death,’ she said.

Biden today said that he would not stand for ‘price gouging’ by gas and oil companies on the wake of Hurricane Ian, if gas prices were to rise again.

He said: ‘Do not, let me repeat, do not use this as an excuse to raise gasoline prices or gouge the American people.’

The Caribbean and parts of eastern Canada are still counting the cost of powerful storm Fiona, which tore through last week, claiming several lives.

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