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Weather & Science

Hurricane Ian Is a Climate Disaster for the History Books

Ian is the type of storm experts have long warned could strike western Florida. And its destruction is nowhere close to done.

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Hurricane Ian Makes Landfall in Florida

After rapidly intensifying over warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Ian slammed into southwestern Florida yesterday as a massive Category 4 storm with winds of up to 155 miles (250 kilometers) per hour. That means it’s one of the strongest storms to ever make landfall in the state as well as in the whole US.

As of Thursday morning, more than 2 million people were without power across the state. Videos and pictures circulating on Twitter showed water surging past beach-front properties into neighboring streets in Fort Myers,  Bonita Springs, and Sanibel Island.  Cars and even homes were sighted floating in flood waters, while power lines and trees were downed, according to early reports. Before reaching the US, the storm knocked out Cuba’s power grid

Ian is proving to be a disaster for the history books — and though it slowed to 90 miles an hour overnight, weakening into a Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson scale,  it’s nowhere close to done.

That’s because Ian is the type of storm that weather experts have long warned could strike the western coast of Florida, where development and population numbers have boomed in recent decades despite the hurricane risk. It’s a triple threat, walloping a large area with catastrophic winds, heavy rainfall and storm surge — when strong winds and low pressure push walls of ocean water ashore.