What impact will Hurricane Ian have on Rochester?

The death toll was rising and thousand of residents desperately sought rescue Thursday as historically powerful Hurricane Ian, now a tropical storm, hammered Florida with heavy rain and strong winds, one of the strongest systems in U.S. history.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis described the storm as a "500-year flooding event" and said Coast Guard helicopters were plucking trapped residents from the roofs of homes. Communities across the state were or will be swamped by the overwhelming waters, he said.

"The impacts of this storm are historic and the damage that has been done is historic," DeSantis said. "We've never seen a flood event like this, we've never seen a storm surge of this magnitude."

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said on CNN that at least five deaths have been confirmed in his county, which includes Fort Myers. And a 72-year-old man in Deltona, about 30 miles northeast of Orlando, died after falling into a canal while using a hose to drain his pool in the heavy rain, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

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Sheriffs in southwest Florida said 911 centers were inundated by thousands of stranded callers, some with life-threatening emergencies. More than 2.6 million Florida homes and business were without power early Thursday.

Ian had weakened to a tropical storm but was forecast to continue roaring across the state most of the day before heading out into the Atlantic. The storm flooded entire communities, leaving residents stranded in their homes after making landfall Wednesday with 150-mph maximum sustained winds – just 7 mph shy of a Category 5 hurricane, the strongest on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale.

The storm previously tore into Cuba, killing two people and bringing down the entire country's electrical grid.

What does Ian mean for Rochester and New York state?

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Buffalo said that, as of Thursday, it does not look like Ian will have much of an impact on Rochester, other than high clouds in the sky. The current forecast predictssunny skies on Saturday and Sunday, with highs expected in the low 60s.

A cold front moving south from Canada is expected to move into New York on Saturday night, and should "keep any remnants from Ian south of the New York/Pennsylvania line," said Weather Service Meteorologist Jon Hitchcock.

Category 4 storms

Category 4 storms can cause "catastrophic damage" with their 130-156 mph winds. A Category 4 storm can cause severe damage to homes, including damaging most of the roof and exterior walls.

Hurricane Ian tracker: Where next?

Currently a tropical storm, Ian is expected to weaken and slow down as it travels across Florida, heading northeast, to the Atlantic coast, which is predicted to take about a day. The storm is forecast to turn northward Friday and approach the northeastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts.

Hurricane Ian tracker: Where is powerful storm headed next?

Contributing: Kate Cimini, USA Today Network-Florida;Jesus Medoza and Kathryn Varn, Sarasota Herald-Tribune; Associated Press

This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: What impact will Hurricane Ian have on Rochester, New York?