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Hurricane Ian weakens to a tropical storm but is still expected to bring flooding

Hurricane Ian, a category 4 storm with sustained winds over 150 mph, made landfall Wednesday afternoon in southwest Florida's Lee County.
CIRA/NOAA
Hurricane Ian, a category 4 storm with sustained winds over 150 mph, made landfall Wednesday afternoon in southwest Florida's Lee County.

Updated September 28, 2022 at 3:46 PM ET

Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida's Lee County on Wednesday afternoon. The category 4 hurricane produced winds of 150 miles per hour and storm surge over 7 feet high in Naples before coming ashore.

The National Hurricane Center predicts Ian's high winds and rain will cause intense storm surge and flooding, resulting in catastrophic damage to homes and businesses. Storm surge in Lee and Charlotte counties could reach heights of 18 feet.

The National Hurricane Center's Acting Director Jamie Rhome said in an advisory that the time for evacuation has long passed. Those who remain in the storm's path need to hunker down in the center of their home and prepare for sustained devastating winds.

The hurricane's eyewall reached Sanibel and Captiva islands, west of Fort Myers, shortly after noon. A webcam on Fort Meyers Beach showed palm trees bending in the wind as waves toss furniture around in the surf.

Ian is forecast to continue making its way northeast across Florida. The situation on the ground will likely get worse before it gets better, as high tide isn't until 7:06 p.m. Wednesday, which will contribute to storm surge conditions.

The storm is expected to weaken after landfall, but could be near hurricane strength as it makes its way over Florida's east coast on Thursday, the NHC said. Ian will continue north toward Northeastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina on Friday.


Right now, NPR stations all across Florida are serving their community with vital information during this crisis, and more stations are pitching in as the storm moves up the coast. Reporters across the NPR Network provide news that serves as a lifeline to affected communities during disasters and beyond. Your donation makes a difference. Can you make a contribution?


Updates about the storm can be found at the National Hurricane Center's website here.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.