Hurricane hunter pilot discusses his mission
Tropical Storm Ian continued moving east across Florida early Thursday and could still cause "catastrophic flooding," forecasters warned.
Ian hit land in southwestern Florida as a major Category 4 hurricane, just shy of a Category 5, one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the U.S.
It left people trapped in homes and wide swaths of the state without power. Some 2.5 million homes and businesses were in the dark as of 5 a.m. EDT, according to poweroutage.us.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Ian's center was "expected to move off the east-central coast of Florida later today and then approach the coast of South Carolina on Friday. The center will move farther inland across the Carolinas Friday night and Saturday. ... Some slight re-intensification is forecast, and Ian could be near hurricane strength when it approaches the coast of South Carolina on Friday. Weakening is expected Friday night and Saturday after Ian moves inland."
The center warned that, "Widespread, life-threatening catastrophic flash and urban flooding, with major to record flooding along rivers, will continue across central Florida. Widespread considerable flash, urban, and river flooding is expected across portions of northeast Florida, southeastern Georgia, and eastern South Carolina tomorrow through the weekend."
Biden to visit FEMA headquarters Thursday
As Hurricane Ian continues to batter Florida, the White House said President Biden would visit FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. While there, he will receive a "briefing on impacts from Hurricane Ian and ongoing Federal response efforts."
The president will then deliver remarks about the hurricane.
Ian hits Port Charlotte hospital hard
Hurricane Ian swamped a Florida hospital from both above and below, the storm surge flooding its lower level emergency room while fierce winds tore part of its fourth floor roof from its intensive care unit, according to a doctor who works there.
Dr. Birgit Bodine spent the night at HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital in Port Charlotte, anticipating the storm would make things busy, "but we didn't anticipate that the roof would blow off on the fourth floor," she said.
Water gushed down Wednesday from above onto the ICU, forcing staff to evacuate the hospital's sickest patients - some of them on ventilators - to other floors. Staff members resorted to towels and plastic bins to try to mop up the sodden mess.
The medium-sized hospital spans four floors, but patients were forced into just two because of the damage.
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CBS Fort Meyers affiliate evacuated
The CBS affiliate in Fort Meyers, Florida, WINK-TV, was being cleared out early Thursday, according to a tweet from a meteorologist at the station, Dylan Federico, who said, "212AM: Just woke up. We are being emergency evacuated from the WINK News building. I have no idea what's going on."
Fort Meyers isn't far from where Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday.
But Wednesday night, he'd tweeted that, "The storm surge has peaked at WINK. Water has gone down about a foot, but the wind on the back side of this hurricane is unbelievably strong. We are safe in the 2nd floor."
He also said, "Fort Myers is pitch dark. Likely catastrophic failure of grid."