NOTE: Follow the storm’s live radar as it nears landfall in the streams above and below.
The most damaging winds from Hurricane Ian began battering Florida’s southwest coast on Wednesday, battering the state with heavy rain and causing a devastating storm surge, but as of 1 p.m. the storm still had no not officially landfall.
According to NBC 5 Storm team meteorologist Paul Deanno, the hurricane was expected to make landfall Wednesday afternoon in Florida, although the storms are moving slowly across the Gulf Coast.
At 1:00 p.m. CT, the National Hurricane Center said Ian was “very close to the southwest coast of the Florida peninsula.”
Ian’s center was about 80 kilometers west of Naples at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, as he headed for the coast at 15 kph. Ian’s brisk pace meant the storm was expected to spend a day or more crawling across the Florida peninsula, dumping torrential rains of 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 centimeters) over a wide area including Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville. in the northeast corner of the state.
Fed by warm waters from the Gulf of Mexico, Ian became a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane overnight with peak winds of 155 mph (250 km/h), according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm plodded along a track to make landfall north of the heavily populated Fort Myers area, which forecasters said could be inundated by a storm surge of up to 18 feet (5.5 meters).
“It’s going to be a bad day, two days,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Wednesday, stressing that people in Ian’s path along the coast should rush to the safest shelter possible and stay there.
Follow the storm’s live radar as it approaches landfall in the stream above and below.