Hurricane Ian made landfall at Florida’s southwestern coast Wednesday as one of the most powerful storms in U.S. history, leaving behind ruin and stranding residents. The confirmed death toll according to the Washington Post is 48, but this number is expected to rise.
The storm came ashore near Cayo Costa as a Category four storm Wednesday afternoon with maximum winds measured at 150 mph, just seven mph short of a Category five classification. According to the National Hurricane Center, it was moving north-northeast at nine mph Thursday afternoon.
The Movement of the Storm
Before making landfall in the United States, the storm previously tore into Cuba, resulting in two casualties and bringing down the country’s electrical grid.
Hurricane Ian slowed as it carried through the sunshine state and was downgraded to a Category 1 storm Wednesday night, as reported by the National Hurricane Center.
Flooding has wiped out 911 emergency call centers and trapped people in their homes, leaving nearly two million without power according to PowerOutage.us.
Governor Ron DeSantis calls the impacts of the storm “historic”. In an initial analysis of the damage, hurricane-related losses range between $25 and $40 billion, the Fitch Ratings credit agency reported Thursday.
Evacuation warnings were issued for most regions of the state prior to the storm making landfall. Universities and schools have approached the evacuation carefully.
Colleges including the University of South Florida, University of Central Florida, Florida State University and Florida A&M University canceled classes for the week beginning next week. As of Tuesday, 31 public colleges and dozens of private institutions cancelled classes. However, the University of Florida kept its campus open Tuesday with an inflexible academic schedule, leaving parents and students frustrated with the university protocols.
Students had to decide whether to seek refuge in Florida or return home to their families as airline ticket costs skyrocketed. Storm preparation has transformed campuses and schedules for the fall semester.
Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 1 storm in South Carolina Friday afternoon. Track Ian’s trajectory here: https://www.usatoday.com/pages/interactives/storm-tracker/