Tied for the fifth strongest hurricane to hit mainland U.S., Florida has “never seen a flood event like this,” Governor Ron DeSantis said at a Thursday morning briefing.
Devastating footage of hurricane Ian shows entire houses being swept into the streets of Fort Meyers and Naples, along with yachts, cars, and helpless animals.
Sign up to receive the daily top stories from the National Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.
Thanks for signing up!
A welcome email is on its way. If you don't see it, please check your junk folder.
The next issue of NP Posted will soon be in your inbox.
Some thrill-seekers were seen chasing the eye of the storm for a quick swim.
New video just in from Fort Myers, FL shows swimmers getting into the storm surge as Hurricane #Ian approaches.
This is EXTREMELY dangerous. I can’t believe I have to say this…. DO NOT GET INTO THE WATER! pic.twitter.com/jsoUPvX8uC— Zach Covey (@ZachCoveyTV) September 28, 2022
Hurricane specialist Zach Covey implores residents not to swim in unknown waters.
“DO NOT DO THIS. You don’t know what may be in this water, including chemicals!” he tweeted.
BREAKING | Hurricane #Ian brings catastrophic storm surge to Naples, Florida with water moving into houses. Social media channels show residents SWIMMING in the surge in their houses.
DO NOT DO THIS. You don't know what may be in this water, including chemicals! pic.twitter.com/PeFfCpLklx— Zach Covey (@ZachCoveyTV) September 28, 2022
“The impacts of this storm are historic,” DeSantis said.
The storm, which dumped as much as a foot of rain onto some cities, was continuing to batter the state — with a high risk of flash flooding — before moving into the Atlantic Ocean and, from there, into Georgia and the Carolinas. Governors in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia have declared emergencies in advance of Ian’s arrival.
At least 19.3 inches (49 centimetres) of rain fell in North Point, Florida, near where the storm came ashore, according to the National Weather Service. Many measurement sites were knocked offline by the storm.
Rivers across central Florida have set flooding records, according to the National Weather Service. Throughout the U.S. southeast, at least 31 river and tide gauges were recording flooding.
It came ashore Wednesday afternoon with winds of 155 miles (249 kilometres) per hour, tied for the fifth strongest hurricane to hit the mainland U.S., Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, meteorologists at Yale Climate Connections said.
With additional reporting from Bloomberg