Hurricane Ian almost a Category 5 as it nears Florida
Florida’s heavily-populated Gulf Coast—specifically, the stretch from Naples to Sarasota—is at the highest risk for devastating storm damage Wednesday afternoon. About 7 a.m., the storm had top winds of 155 mph, just short of the speed for the most dangerous category of hurricanes. The U.S. Air Force confirmed that Ian gathered strength in the Gulf of Mexico after roughing up western Cuba, damaging so much of the electric grid that the whole island lost power.
What’s predicted to happen? Ian could push ashore as much as 12 feet of ocean water, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says. Rainfall near the landfall site could top 18 inches. At 6 a.m., Ian was centered on a spot about 55 miles southwest of Naples. Since the early morning hours, Florida Gulf winds have already exceeded the tropical storm force of 39 mph. More than 2.5 million people have been told to evacuate.
Dig Deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Jamie Dean’s article about 2019 Daniel of the Year Michael Miller’s work helping Honduras recover from a deadly hurricane.
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