Live Updates: Hurricane Ian to Make Landfall in Florida

After a hurricane-free August, Florida is bracing for fierce storms and flooding as Hurricane Ian reaches landfall on the state’s southwest coast. Follow Breitbart News for live updates on this breaking story. All times eastern.

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2:06 PM — Mike Bettes, meteorologist for The Weather Channel, posted a “rare” view of the storm surge on Estero Blvd in Fort Myers Beach, FL. According to Bettes, the camera is six feet off the ground. 

2:04 PM — Mike’s Weather Page, a trusted source for over one million followers across social media and countless Floridians, is storm chasing live as Hurricane Ian makes landfall on the Sunshine State’s west coast.

1:58 PM — Storm chasers are reporting 120 mph winds in what is believed to be Boca Grande, Florida. Others are reporting sustained winds of 45 mph in Sarasota County. Bridges typically close down after winds reach sustained winds of 40 mph.

1:50 PM — Earth Networks Station at Naples Grande Beach Resort reported a wind gust of 112 mph as weather conditions continue to deteriorate in southwest Florida.

1:46 PM — Winds are picking up significantly in Fort Myers Beach.

1:37 PM — DeSantis said Hurricane Ian will likely go down as “one of the storms people remember,” thanking people for their prayers for the state.

1:33 PM — DeSantis added that they will be submitting a major disaster declaration for all 67 counties, requesting that the federal government “reimburse 100 percent of the upfront costs for the first 60 days to ensure that we can quickly recover and move forward into the response and recovery part” in the aftermath of the storm. 

1:30 PM — The governor highlighted the Florida National Guard’s “really impressive mobilization of over 5,000 folks as well as 2,000 additional guardsmen from other states” ready to respond. 

1:23 PM — Gov. DeSantis is providing a 1 p.m. update on Hurricane Ian, which is making landfall in southwest Florida. Maximum sustained winds are still 155 mph, just short of a Category 5 storm.

1:14 PM — Gov. DeSantis has continued to combat attempts to politicize the storm, dismissing an inquiry from a reporter Tuesday and correcting the record following claims that the state has lacked in its response to the storm.

“Whoa whoa whoa whoa. Give me a break. That is nonsense. Stop politicizing. Okay? Stop it,” DeSantis said, adding, “I don’t think we’ve ever —  certainly since I’ve been governor — declared a state emergency this early. We made sure that we were very inclusive with it.”

1:02 PM — Videos taken from Bayshore Blvd in Tampa, Florida, show the bay being “sucked out” as a result of the storm earlier this morning.

https://twitter.com/JordanSteele/status/1575103067946565633

12:41 PM –– There is currently an “enhanced risk” for tornadoes for the east coast of Florida, primarily spanning from Daytona to West Palm Beach — the latter of which is minutes away from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

12:28 PM — The storm’s eyewall is moving onshore at Sanibel & Captiva Islands, per the NHC.

12:11 PM — Hurricane Ian’s potential for broad impacts — beyond the west coast of Florida — seems to be the emerging theme on Wednesday. Gov. DeSantis has repeatedly emphasized that the storm’s impacts will be broad due to the massive size of the storm and recent tracks showing it moving diagonally across the state, up to the northeast coast.

“Just understand the impacts are gonna be far, far broader than just where the eye of the storm happens to make landfall,” he cautioned on Tuesday.

Florida’s northeastern counties, such as St. Johns, have evacuations in place for certain zones, including the entire City of historic St. Augustine. Schools have also been canceled for the remainder of the week. 

12:01 PM — Various Twitter users are posting videos as the storm’s eye approaches the Sunshine State.

11:52 AM — The bulk of Florida’s west coast is facing significant storm surge — up to 18 feet in Bonita Beach. The east coast of the state is also facing these risks, as the St. Johns River could see storm surge 3-5 feet, as could the coast line.

11:46 AM — West Central Florida could be facing 24 inches of rain, according to NWS Tampa Bay.

11:41 AM — Gov. DeSantis put some further perspective on the massive storm, warning that it is “strong as a large tornado” and to expect “strong winds, heavy rains and flooding.”

11:31 AM — The NHC is also warning of hurricane-force winds extending “well inland along the core” of the storm, along with “widespread, life-threatening catastrophic flooding” in portions of central Florida. There will also be “considerable flooding in southern Florida, northern Florida, southeastern Georgia, and coastal South Carolina.”

11:22 AM — Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) Rapid Response Director Christina Pushaw is addressing members of the establishment media who are salivating over the prospect of the storm serving as a “test” to the governor.

11:12 AM — The National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) 11 a.m. advisory has Hurricane Ian maintaining its status as a strong Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. It warns of “catastrophic storm surge inundation of 12 to 18 feet above ground level along with destructive waves” along the southwest Florida coastline “from Englewood to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor.”

11:06 AM — Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) held a brief press conference with linemen ahead of the storm’s landfall, who assured they are executing their plans as the storm approaches. The governor stated during his 7:30 a.m. press conference that the state has over 30,000 linemen ready to respond to the storm:

10:47 AM — Hurricane Ian has reached wind speeds just 2 mph shy of Category 5, per the Associated Press:

Hurricane Ian rapidly intensified off Florida’s southwest coast Wednesday morning, gaining top winds of 155 mph (250 kph), just shy of the most dangerous Category 5 status. Damaging winds and rain lashed the state’s heavily populated Gulf Coast, with the Naples to Sarasota region at “highest risk” of a devastating storm surge.

U.S. Air Force hurricane hunters confirmed Ian gained strength over warm Gulf of Mexico water after battering Cuba, bringing down the country’s electricity grid and leaving the entire island without power. Ian was centered about 65 miles (105 kilometers) west-southwest of Naples at 7 a.m., swirling toward the coast at 10 mph (17 kph).

“This is going to be a nasty nasty day, two days,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said early Wednesday. “This is going to be a rough stretch.”

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