Ian descended into a tropical storm Thursday morning, leaving a path of destruction in southwest Florida, trapping people in flooded homes, damaging the roof of hospital intensive care units and knocking out power to 2 million people before targeting the Atlantic Coast.

One of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the United States, it crossed the Florida peninsula Wednesday night, threatening inland catastrophic flooding as a Category 4 storm, the National Hurricane Center warned.

The center’s 5 a.m. Thursday advisory said Ian was expected to exit Atlantic waters later Thursday, with flooding expected to continue across central and northern Florida.

As of the latest advisory, Ian was about 40 miles southeast of Orlando and moving northeast at 8 mph at 65 mph.

A turn to the north-northeast is expected later Thursday, followed by a turn to the north and north-northwest and forward speed increasing Friday and Friday night.

Watch live: Tropical Storm Ian’s latest forecast

On the forecast track, Ian’s center is expected to move off the east-central coast of Florida later Thursday and then approach the coast of South Carolina on Friday. The center will move further inland across the Carolinas on Friday night and Saturday.

In Port Charlotte, along Florida’s Gulf Coast, storm surge flooded a lower-level emergency room at a hospital, with strong winds tearing off part of the roof of its intensive care unit, doctors who worked there said.

The ICU flooded, forcing staff to move the hospital’s sickest patients — some of whom were on ventilators — to other floors, said Dr. HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital. Birgit Bodine said. Staff members were trying to clean up the mess using towels and plastic containers.

South Florida

The main threat to our area is heavy rainfall and localized flooding. Radar predicts 8 to 10 inches of rain has fallen in parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties since Monday, the heaviest on record from north Miami to Hollywood, Davie, Sunrise and Coral Springs.

Tornadoes have been confirmed in Broward County and Delray Beach.

Downed trees have also been reported throughout the county, according to Broward officials, which crews are working to remove.

Some traffic signals have also been damaged and are being repaired. Drivers should note that intersections with flashing red lights or no lights should be considered four-way stops.

As of Thursday morning, 7,610 FPL customers were without power in Miami-Dade County and 4,950 in Broward.

Visit https://www.fplmaps.com/ for the latest power outage information.

Transit Information:

On Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that tolls on Alligator Alley had been suspended as the storm approached. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levine Cava said all non-essential services in the county will remain suspended Thursday.

Miami-Dade County will resume transit service nationwide, however, on Thursday, including Metrobus, Metrorail, Metromover and Special Transportation Services (STS).

Garbage collection for Broward County will resume Thursday.

Broward County Transit is operating on a normal schedule Thursday.

School Closed:

Miami-Dade and Broward have canceled classes for Wednesday and Thursday.

Monroe County schools will reopen Thursday.

Florida Atlantic University will be closed Thursday.

Airport:

Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport are open but experiencing many cancellations and delays. Check with your airline for the latest updates.

Airports in the Florida Keys are closed until further notice.

Emergency Response:

On Sunday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the deployment of the Florida National Guard.

President Joe Biden on Saturday approved a declaration of emergency for Florida to provide Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance to the state and the Miccosukee and Seminole tribes.

The Florida Disaster Fund has been activated to assist Florida communities affected by Hurricane Ian.

To contribute, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.

Click here To download Local 10’s Hurricane Survival Guide.

visit Local10.com’s hurricane page For the latest updates on this storm. To receive daily morning briefings on the tropics, sign up for Talking Tropic Newsletter.





Copyright 2022 by WPLG Local10.com – All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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