Hurricane Ian latest: People trapped and 2.25 million without power as monster storm swamps Florida

Hurricane Ian: Waves flood roads in Key West as storm strengthens to category 4

Hurricane Ian, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the US, turned streets into rivers and knocked out power to 2.25 million people after slamming into southwest Florida with 150mph winds.

People were trapped in flooded homes and many took to social media on Wednesday to share videos of debris-covered water in their homes as they pleaded for rescue.

A lower-level emergency room in Port Charlotte was swamped by coastal surges and a fourth-floor intensive care unit had its roof torn down by fierce winds, according to a hospital worker. Many areas have a curfew order in place.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis urged Floridians to hunker down, noting that it would be a “nasty” couple of days.

Disney World Resort Florida and Universal Orlando Resort have been closed to visitors on Thursday and Friday as the storm moved through central and eastern Florida, when it was expected to drop 12 -18 inches of rain overnight with wind speeds of around 76 mph.

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Disney and Universal closed as storm passes Orlando

Both Walt Disney World Resort Florida and Universal Orlando Resort have announced park closures as Hurricane Ian moved through central Florida and just south of Orlando on Thursday morning.

Disney said: “We are continuing to closely monitor Hurricane Ian and are making necessary operational adjustments to maintain the safety of our Guests and Cast Members.”

Guests were allowed to stay at resort hotels if they checked in before 3pm on Wednesday, but will be expected to shelter in place at the resort. An estimated reopening of Friday remains unconfirmed.

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Some Florida residents evacuate art collections as Hurricane Ian threatens the state

ICYMI: Florida residents are taking steps to protect collections worth millions as the storm makes landfall in the state.

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Satellite captures stunning view of Hurricane Ian from 22,000 miles away as storm slams into Florida

ICYMI: As the massive Hurricane Ian began to pound the Florida coast, Noaa’s satellite kept the storm dead in its sights.

Jon Kelvey has the story.

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Hurricane Ian: In pictures

One sightseer witnesses the receding waters of Tampa Bay because of low tide and tremendous winds from Hurricane Ian with downtown in the distance in Tampa, Florida, Wednesday, 28 September 2022

(AP)

Sisters Angel Disbrow and Selena Disbrow walk along the shore of a receded Tampa Bay as water was pulled out from the bay in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Ian on September 28, 2022 in Tampa, Florida

(Getty Images)

Hilton employees Louie Fonseca, Frankie Monica, Bryan Kinbacher and Jaime Miranda use rope to secure the front door at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fort Myers

(AP)

Brianna Renas, 17, inspects a fallen palm tree outside her home in Cape Coral after riding out Hurricane Ian with her family on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, in Cape Coral

(AP)

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ICYMI: Dramatic time-lapse shows Hurricane Ian storm surge flood Florida island

Dramatic time-lapse reveals Hurricane Ian storm surge flood Florida island

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What leaks, hurricanes and fires mean for Nasa’s Artemis I moon mission launch date

As if launching a gigantic Moon rocket for the first time isn’t hard enough on its own, Nasa has faced multiple fuel leaks, engine troubles, and now a building fire and category 4 hurricane in its attempt to get the Artemis I mission launched before the end of the year.

As Nasa’s Space Launch System (SLS) Moon rocket and Orion spacecraft waiting out Hurricane Ian inside the Vehicle Assembly Building — essentially a giant rocket hangar — at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a launch attempt that had been scheduled for Tuesday could now slip into the middle of October, or even into early November.

Nasa’s Artemis I mission will be the first test flight of the SLS rocket, which will send the solar powered Orion spacecraft on more than month-long journey to, around, and back from the Moon in an uncrewed shake down of the rocket and spacecraft system that Nasa homes will take humans back to the surface of the Moon in 2025.

Read more in this report from Jon Kelvey:

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Experts: Negative storm surge in Tampa Bay as Ian approached

Water drained from Tampa Bay on Wednesday as Hurricane Ian approached Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The storm eventually made landfall near Fort Myers, about 100 miles to the south.

A number of people posted photos on social media of themselves and others walking out onto the silty and sandy bay floor, despite warnings from local officials. Tampa Bay has a normal average deputy of about 12 feet (4 meters).

Curious sightseers walk in the receding waters of Tampa Bay due to the low tide and tremendous winds from Hurricane Ian in Tampa, Florida, Wednesday, 28 September 2022

(AP)

The phenomenon of the bay emptying also happened in 2017, when experts said Hurricane Irma caused a negative surge. Because a tropical storm’s winds blow counterclockwise, the winds at the northern edge of Hurricane Ian were blowing from east to west with so much force that they pushed the water from the bay into the Gulf of Mexico.

Water eventually refilled the bay.

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Naples Fire Department live streams water rescue

ICYMI: In the video, posted to the department’s social media, a group of rescuers helped a woman through deep water in a city street and into the safety of a partially flooded building.

“I’m going to take you there with me as long as I can swim there. This water is cold,” said a firefighter who was videoing the rescue.

The grateful resident can be heard thanking the firefighters as the video ends.

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More than 2.25 million customers without power in Florida

As of 1.57am ET, around 2,250,000 customers are currently without power in Florida because of Hurricane Ian, according to poweroutage.us.

Power outage figures in Florida

(Screengrab/poweroutage.us)

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People trapped, hospital damaged after Ian swamps southeast Florida

Hurricane Ian left a path of destruction in southwest Florida, trapping people in flooded homes, damaging the roof of a hospital intensive care unit and knocking out power to two million people before aiming for the Atlantic Coast.

One of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States barreled across the Florida peninsula overnight Wednesday, threatening catastrophic flooding inland, the National Hurricane Center warned.

In Port Charlotte, along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the storm surge flooded a lower-level emergency room in a hospital even as fierce winds ripped away part of the roof from its intensive care unit, according to a doctor who works there.

Water gushed down onto the ICU, forcing staff to evacuate the hospital’s sickest patients — some of whom were on ventilators — to other floors, said Dr. Birgit Bodine of HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital. Staff members used towels and plastic bins to try to mop up the sodden mess.

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