Disaster: Missing people are being sought, two million left without electricity VIDEO

Hurricane Ian hit Florida, accompanied by strong winds and heavy rainfalls.

Source: B92, Tanjug
Tanjug/Naples Fire Department via AP
Tanjug/Naples Fire Department via AP

The rainfall caused catastrophic flooding and power outages across the US state, AP reports.

More than 2.5 million residents of Florida, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, were ordered or warned to evacuate as Hurricane Ian, which earlier hit Cuba, approached.

With sustained winds of 185 km/h, Ian made landfall in southwest Florida on Wednesday at 3:05 p.m. local time near Cayo Costa as a Category 4 storm according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

"The hurricane caused catastrophic flooding," the NHC statement added.

Tanjug/Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP
Tanjug/Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP

Ian turned streets into rivers and downed trees in southwest Florida on Wednesday, with winds gusting up to 150 mph (241 km/h), making it a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind scale, the fifth-strongest hurricane on land, measured by wind speed, that has ever hit the US, according to the AP.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Wednesday night that this is likely to be "one of the five most destructive hurricanes to ever hit Florida."

Near the path of the hurricane, east of the island of Key West, a boat with Cuban migrants sank in a storm and the Coast Guard is still searching for 20 people, having rescued three, and four managed to swim to shore.

Tanjug/NOAA via AP
Tanjug/NOAA via AP

Health officials reported damage to the roof of one hospital's intensive care unit, and power was also reported to be out for two million customers, mostly near the hurricane's path.

Police in nearby Fort Myers received calls from people trapped in flooded homes or their concerned relatives, and according to footage on social media, some neighborhoods of the city looked like lakes due to flooding. Ian weakened to Category 1 later Wednesday with winds of 144 km/h as it moved further inland, while storm surges are expected today on the opposite side of the US state, in northeast Florida.

Hurricane-force winds are also expected across central Florida with major flooding likely, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

No deaths have been reported in the US so far as a result of Hurricane Ian, which previously hit Cuba, where two people died and the entire island was left without power after the country's power grid was knocked down.

The governors of the US states of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia have declared a state of emergency as a precaution.

Forecasters said Ian would continue toward those states as a tropical storm, likely to bring more flooding rains over the weekend.


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