Hurricane Ian rushed ashore in Florida on Wednesday, battering many coastal towns with 150 mph winds, storm surges and major flooding. At least 13 people have been reported dead in counties across the state, according to CNN. Florida officials have not released an official statewide death total.
The storm left 2.5 million homes and businesses across Florida without power early Thursday, according to PowerOutage.us, a website that tracks power outages. Scenes of winds and flooding in the Fort Myers area spread quickly on social media.
Below are some moments captured during and after the storm, paired with images and maps from before the storm for context.
Sanibel causeway damaged
The Sanibel Causeway, a 3-mile connector between Sanibel Island and mainland Florida, consists of three bridges and two causeway islands. Long sections of the roadway were destroyed Wednesday and will need to be rebuilt, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Thursday morning.
Along with damage to the roadway that cut off access to the island where 6,300 people normally live, Sanibel was hit by a major storm surge. A mandatory evacuation order had been issued before the storm, but the number of people left behind was unclear.
Storm surge in Fort Myers
Fort Myers saw more than 6 feet of storm surge according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Large parts of the city were flooded on Wednesday.
damage to the north
Ian was downgraded to tropical storm status early Thursday but continued to push through with destructive storm surge, flooding and wind damage. The storm returned to hurricane strength the same day and is now expected to bring life-threatening flooding, storm surges and high winds to Georgia and the Carolinas. In Kissimmee, more than 100 miles from Ian’s landing, city officials captured video footage of extensive flooding around HCA Florida Osceola Hospital.