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Hurricane Ian: Waves flood roads in Key West as storm strengthens to category 4

The eyewall of Hurricane Ian was bringing ferocious winds and surging ocean waters onshore in Florida on Wednesday afternoon as officials warned residents there was no longer time to evacuate and urged them to shelter in place.

Ian’s landfall is expected within hours amid warnings that some places on the west coast could see “unsurviveable” storm surge.

Destructive waves slammed into the southwest coast from Englewood to Bonita Beach including Charlotte Harbor, near the town of Punta Gorda, north of Fort Myers. Peak storm surge forecasts were now up to 18 feet along an 80-mile stretch from Englewood to Bonita.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urged Floridians to hunker down, noting that it would be a “nasty” couple of days.

Eight million people were in the bullseye of Hurricane Ian as the storm strengthened to just shy of a monstrous Category 5 status on Wednesday morning.


Waffle House closes 21 Florida locations

Waffle House has closed 21 locations in the state because of Hurricane Ian, the restaurant chain says.

Waffle House spokesperson Njeri Boss told NBC News that most of the impacted locations were in the path of the hurricane, with some in low-lying flood zones.

The restaurant chain is known for staying open in the wildest of weather conditions, with FEMA unofficially using a “Waffle House Index” to help assess damage caused by disasters.


Hurricane hunter says Ian flight ‘worst’ he has ever done

“I have flown storms for the last six years. This flight to Hurricane #Ian on Kermit was the worst I’ve ever been on. I’ve never seen so much lightning in an eye. This was the eye. You can see the curvature. Understand this is at NIGHT. The light is from LIGHTNING,” tweeted Nick Underwood.


Photos: Hurricane Ian drains Tampa Bay ahead of storm surge

Hurricane Ian is expected to bring a storm surge of up to six feet to the Tampa Bay area, putting low-lying areas at extreme risk of flooding.

As the storm approached, the water drained from the bay, creating the eerie sight of an empty basin amid the normally bustling harbour.

Ethan freedman has the details.


Biden to visit FEMA headquarters in DC on Thursday

Joe Biden will visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington DC on Thursday, the White House has announced.

White House press secretary Kaine Jean-Pierre said at a Wednesday briefing that the president will “visit FEMA headquarters to receive a briefing on federal response efforts for hurricane Ian.”


DeSantis says Florida ‘ready to respond’

The governor says that the state of Florida has 42,000 linemen, 7,000 National Guardsman, 179 aircraft and highwater vehicles ready to respond to damage caused by Hurricane Ian.


Florida CEO told staff to bring kids to office and continue work during Hurricane Ian: ‘We’ll make it super fun!’

The company backtracked after the message went viral, telling employees the office would be closed on Wednesday and Thursday.

Graig Graziosi has the story.


More than 480,000 customers without power in Florida

More than 483,000 customers in Florida are now without power because of Hurricane Ian, according to

Lee County, which is where Fort Myers and Cape Coral are located, is the most affected part of the state with more than 166,000 customers reporting they have lost power.


Power outages in Tampa Bay area hit more than 50,000 customers

As of 1.30pm ET Duke Energy had reported more than 27,000 customers without power, while Tampa Electric Co said that it had 26,000 customers suffering outages, according to The Tampa Bay Times.


Naples issues curfew amid devastating flooding

The City of Naples has issued an emergency citywide curfew to protect and safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of City of Naples residents, visitors, and first responders, authorities said on Tuesday.

The curfew is effective immediately until further notice.

The city of Naples is experiencing storm surge of more than five feet of water as the eyewall of monster Hurricane Ian barrelled onshore Wednesday morning.


Emergency officials ask those sheltering in place to provide family member details

Kevin Guthrie, head of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, asked people sheltering in place for Hurricane Ian to provide first responders with information on their family members.

Those who had not evacuated were asked to fill out a survey from the state government with information about their families and demographic information on people in the storm as conditions deteriorate.

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