Hurricane Ian has been downgraded to a tropical storm but not before devastating winds and floods pummeled southwest Florida. A place known for beautiful beach getaways can hardly be recognized in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian’s destruction as record-breaking storm surges paved a path through the Sunshine State. Streets are no longer visible and likely will remain so for days until waters recede. Muddied flood waters rushed the roads with enough force behind it to move flooded cars in its current.
The wind was a major force of power too. Wind gusts were recorded near 150 miles per hour after landfall, knocking down signs, slinging debris, and making for unbearable outside conditions. Despite warnings to evacuate and stay indoors, several water rescues have already been underway. The Naples Fire Rescue team broke through a car’s back window to save a woman stranded in her vehicle. The fireman waded through water that was chest deep.
The threat for residents is far from over even as the storm crosses back into the Atlantic. Dangerous downed power lines litter the roadways in the hurricane’s aftermath. More than 2 million residents are without power. Though Florida took the brunt of the storm, the widespread hurricane-turned-tropical storm is still packing powerful wind speeds and massive amounts of rain. The threat has now moved toward Georgia and the Carolinas with expected landfall on Friday.