Hurricane Ian hit Florida's southwestern coast on Wednesday as a powerful force just shy of a strong Category 5 storm.
Emergency workers warned that they would have to take down addresses for recovery and rescue and wait for the storm to pass. Many areas were too dangerous for rescue workers to enter.
Water levels rose rapidly in Fort Myers, Florida, as Ian's intense storm surge hit the coast:
Ian's top sustained winds of 150 mph tore roofs off structures and put millions without power. The storm crossed the coast near Cayo Costa, Florida.
Powerful storm surge was top of mind for emergency workers, with FEMA warning that 90 percent of fatalities come from storm surge.
A driver captured the moment a power line in Naples, Florida, ignited as storm surge waters inundated the area:
After Ian made landfall on the Florida coast, FEMA warned that it would slowly graze across the state of Florida, bringing flooding and tornadoes along with powerful lightning strikes.
Firefighters in Naples, Florida, had their trucks stuck in storm surge waters:
Over 1.8 million energy customers across Florida had their power knocked out as "extremely dangerous" winds and rain continued to wreak havoc.
The powerful winds pushed up 12-foot storm surge in some areas. Cars and emergency vehicles became submerged, houses were knocked off their foundations, and residents were trapped. Fort Myers Beach and nearby towns were hit hard.
Storm surge outside of my moms house on Fort Myers Beach.— Beth 🌪️ (@itsbethbooker) September 28, 2022
I’m so sick. pic.twitter.com/12ujJqmacH
Ian was already shaping up to be one of the most powerful storms to hit the United States in decades.
The New York Times reported that a hotel worker in Naples said people were coming from all aroundtrying tofind hotel rooms for a place to take shelter. The worker said, “There’s going be thousands of people homeless tomorrow when the sun comes up,” he estimated.
As Ian barrels across Florida, the damage is expected to be expensive. This story will continue to be updated with information and images.