Weather Channel Reporter Jim Cantore Hit By Flying Tree Branch As Category 4 Hurricane Ian Makes Landfall

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Category 4 Hurricane Ian made landfall this afternoon near Fort Myers, Florida with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. In doing so, it became the fifth-largest storm to hit the U.S. mainland — at least in recorded history — and the Weather Channel was there to cover it.

Meteorologist Jim Cantore was at ground zero to document the storm’s arrival, an assignment that is not without its risks.

Video: DeSantis says 2 million outages in Florida from Hurricane Ian

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Cantore was doing a live man-on-the-street report in sustained 61 mph winds — with gusts to 110 mph — when he was blown backward as a tree branch shot across the street, hit him in the leg and knocked him over.

Hurricane Ian: Deadline’s Full Coverage

The footage also gives a sense of just how hard Cantore has to struggle to remain in place — much less upright — further evidence of which is the street sign blown down behind him as he grabs onto another for balance.

In what seems to be a later clip, Cantore has taken refuge on a building balcony saying,”We have come up here for safety from the surge…and where we were earlier, it looks like there’s three or four feet of water. Waves crashing over the area from earlier this morning.”

He continues, “This is one of the worst hurricanes I have ever been in. It may be the worst in terms of covering over 25 years and 90 storms.

“It looks like a North Atlantic Ocean storm here in Fort Myers,” the meteorologist says looking out over the rising muddy waters and waves breaking closer and closer to the balcony. “The ocean, the river and the gulf has taken over everything.”

The storm’s official landfall came at 3:05 p.m. ET at Cayo Costa, a barrier island outside the bay at Fort Myers. That’s per the New York Times. The maximum wind speed of 155 mph puts the story just 2 mph below the 157 mph threshold for a Cat. 5 storm.

Reporters covering Ian resorted to some unusual headgear to stay safe in the gale.

Charles Peak was also in Fort Myers wore what looked to be a softball batting helmet while his Weather Channel colleague Stephanie Abrams wore a baseball helmet in Englewood, Florida. Both of those seem like smart solutions given Cantore’s experience.

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