‘Ian’ has left a trail of flooding, power outages and material damage from Wednesday to Thursday night as it crossed Florida. Some 2.5 million customers have been left without electricity due to the cyclone, which has lost strength. By lowering the speed of the winds, it is no longer considered a hurricane and has returned to the category of tropical storm. The President of the United States, Joe Biden, has declared a large part of Florida a catastrophic area.
“Ian is now a tropical storm,” said the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in its part at 5 in the morning, Florida time (11:00, Spanish peninsular time). However, it is still expected to produce high winds, heavy rain and storm surge across portions of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. The good news is that the hurricane continues to move at a good pace, which mitigates the risk of flooding due to continued rains in the same areas.
The NHC located the eye of the hurricane at that time a few kilometers from the east coast of Florida, which has crossed the state from one side to the other diagonally, from south to north and from west to east. Return to the Atlantic through the Port Orange area, slightly northeast of Orlando.
According to the agency that monitors the evolution of tropical cyclones, a turn to the north-northeast is expected later, followed by another turn to the north and north-northwest with an increase in travel speed on Friday and Friday in the night. On the forecast track, after returning to the Atlantic off the east coast of Florida, the center of Ian is expected to approach the coast of South Carolina on Friday and move inland across the Carolinas on Friday night. And the saturday.
Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 65 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) with higher gusts. Once it’s back over the sea, a slight re-intensification is expected, bringing Ian near hurricane strength when it approaches the South Carolina coast on Friday. It is expected to weaken Friday night and Saturday after Ian moves inland, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The combination of storm surge and the tide will still cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising water levels moving inland. However, compared to the 12 to 18 feet (approximately four to six meters) that was forecast on the West Coast, on the East Coast the maximum rise in water level is estimated between 4 and 6 feet.
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The President of the United States has declared much of Florida a disaster area and has ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts. That declaration makes federal funding available to affected people in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help families and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Federal funding is also available to local authorities and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal.
The arrival of the hurricane led to decreeing the evacuation of some 2.5 million people, although many decided to remain in their homes. Rain and wind have caused power outages for some 2.5 million people.
The arrival of Ian, which made landfall as a category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 240 kilometers per hour, caused strong storm surges on the east coast of Florida. The combined effect of the rain and the swells flooded entire urban areas of the towns near the coast. Naples and Fort Myers are among the places that have experienced the most severe flooding, with a considerable volume of water covering the streets in large areas.
Orlando and Fort Myers airports have joined others like Tampa and have ceased operations. The one in Miami, however, has remained operational, although cancellations and delays have been common. Disney has closed theme parks around Orlando.
Once the hurricane has moved through the interior of the peninsula, the rains have caused several rivers to overflow and other areas to flood. The winds have blown down trees and some structures and buildings. It is still early to quantify the damage, described as catastrophic by the authorities.
In Florida there have been no deaths or serious injuries due to the passage of the hurricane. However, the coast guard is looking for a boat with about twenty Cuban immigrants who disappeared this Wednesday in the waters of the Florida Keys. The boat covered its reckless journey in the middle of a hurricane.
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