More than 1 million homes and businesses in southwest Florida were left without power on Wednesday afternoon after Hurricane Ian made landfall, battering the state’s west coast with high winds and flooding.
Even before the “extremely dangerous” category four hurricane reached Florida’s Lee County, it produced winds of 150 miles per hour and a storm surge over 7 feet high in Naples.
The National Hurricane Center has warned that storm surges in Lee and Charlotte counties could end up being as high as 18 feet.
Video shared online from Fort Myers on Wednesday afternoon showed widespread flooding:
One video purportedly showed homes floating off their foundations in Fort Myers Beach:
In nearby Naples, cars were completely submerged under flood waters:
The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore struggled to report while being hit with high winds in Punta Gorda:
Punta Gorda also saw massive trees uprooted as a result of the storm, per CNN:
Shocking videos emerged from several other cities along Florida’s western coast as well:
Governor Ron DeSantis said on Wednesday afternoon that “Florida is ready to respond” to the storm with “fleets of highwater vehicles, 42,000 linemen, 7,000 National Guardsmen and 179 aircraft prepared to help.”
“It’s going to produce a major amount of rain. It is going to produce major, major flooding,” said DeSantis. He also warned that many residents are likely to lose power and that it was going to be a “nasty, nasty day.”
Approximately 2.5 million people are under an emergency order in the state, and 56 school districts have announced closures.