Thursday 29 September 2022 10:47 AM Monster Hurricane Ian devastates Florida leaving 2million without power, many ... trends now
Hurricane Ian is barreling its way across Florida, leaving a devastating trail of destruction in its wake as scores of people remain trapped in their flooded homes and two million are without power.
Helpless Floridians desperately called their relatives and the police, pleading to be rescued from their homes as they watched the flooded water break through their doors and begin rising dangerously higher and higher.
Streets were turned into rivers, with the storm surge flooding the lower level emergency room of HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital in Port Charlotte, while fierce winds tore part of its fourth floor roof from its intensive care units.
Water poured in from above onto the ICU, forcing staff to evacuate the hospital's sickest patients - some of them on ventilators - to other floors, said Dr Birgit Bodine, who had camped out at the hospital to help patients.
The formidable hurricane blasted ashore with catastrophic force on Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 storm, packing sustained winds of 150mph and barreling homes with an 18ft wall of water in some areas. The cost of repairing and reconstruction of homes is set to cost up to $260billion, according to property experts CoreLogic.
The hurricane, one of the strongest to ever hit the US, diminished significantly in force after nightfall and was downgraded to a tropical storm in the early hours of Thursday morning with sustained Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 65mph.
It is now close to Melbourne on Florida's east coast and is moving towards the Atlantic at 10mph and is expected to emerge over the waters later today.
But the slow-moving hurricane is continuing to unleash drenching rains as it creeps inland, trapping scores of people - believed to be thousands - in their flooded homes.
Hurricane Ian is barreling its way across Florida, leaving a devastating trail of destruction in its wake as scores of people remain trapped in their flooded homes and two million are without power
Video images of the storm's fury on local TV and social media showed floodwater nearly reaching rooftops in some communities, sweeping away cars and the ruins of homes as palm trees were bent almost in half. Pictured: Stills from video shows an orange roof of a house floating down a flooded street in Naples
A flooded street is seen in downtown as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in southwestern Florida, in Fort Myers
Storm debris litters a street in the wake of Hurricane Ian September 28, 2022 in Sarasota, Florida
A time lapse video from Fort Myers shows the devastating flooded water streaming in and flooding streets
Hurricane Ian passed over Naval Air Station (NAS) Key West overnight Sept. 27, causing flood damage and prompting evacuations of Navy personnel and families
A flooded street is seen in downtown as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in southwestern Florida, in Fort Myers on Wednesday
Florida's idyllic southwestern shoreline, dotted with sandy beaches, coastal towns and mobile home parks, was rapidly transformed into a disaster zone inundated by seawater.
Video images of the storm's fury on local TV and social media showed floodwater nearly reaching rooftops in some communities, sweeping away cars and the ruins of homes as palm trees were bent almost in half.
Fire crews and police officers have been inundated with calls from people trapped in flooded homes, while others posted on social media pleading for themselves or loved ones to be rescued after they chose to ride out the storm at home rather than heed evacuation orders.
But rescue crews have been unable to reach them thus far due to the ferocity of the winds and flooding, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said.
Video posted on social media shows debris-strewn water flooding the ground floor of homes, prompting residents to rush to higher levels.
Brittany Hailer, a journalist in Pittsburgh, contacted rescuers about her mother in North Fort Myers, whose home was swamped by 5 feet of water.
'We don't know when the water's going to go down. We don't know how they're going to leave, their cars are totaled,' Hailer said. 'Her only way out is on a boat.'
A hurricane warning remained in effect north of Bonita Beach, about 31 miles south of Fort Myers, to Anclote River