Ian Latest: More Than 1 Million Without Power In Storm's Wake




  • In Business
  • 2022-09-28 21:04:48Z
  • By Bloomberg
 

(Bloomberg) -- Hurricane Ian barreled ashore in southwest Florida with a massive and deadly surge of water and catastrophic winds that are poised to make it one of the costliest storms in US history.

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The Category 4 hurricane made landfall west of Fort Myers near Cayo Costa shortly after 3 p.m. local time. Nearly all of Florida, home to 21 million people, braced for widespread blackouts and floods. More than 2 million people have been ordered or urged to flee. The storm is expected to cause more than $67 billion in damages and losses.

"This is going to be a tragic event," Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said during a briefing as the storm neared shore. "It's something that is going to be there for days, weeks, months and unfortunately in some circumstances even years."

A storm of this magnitude is a severe test for Florida's infrastructure due to its low-lying and densely populated coastal areas that are prone to flooding. It comes as climate change has fueled extreme weather worldwide this year, including deadly flooding in Kentucky and Pakistan, a European heat wave that killed more than 2,000 people in Portugal and Spain, and relentless drought in the US west.

Time stamps are Eastern Standard.

Cuba Migrant Boat Sinks Off Florida, 23 Missing

The US Coast Guard said it's searching for 23 missing migrants near the southern tip of the Florida Keys after their boat sank while Hurricane Ian hammered the Gulf Coast.

In a series of tweets, The US Coast Guard said at least four Cuban migrants were able to swim to shore near Stock Island -- just north of Key West -- after their boat sank "due to inclement weather."

Cuban migration to the US has hit decade-long highs as the communist island is mired in economic turmoil and power outages.

Ian churned across Western Cuban on Tuesday, knocking out power to the entire island, before making its way to Florida.

Read More: Cuban Exodus to the US Hits Record, Topping Crisis of 1980

More Than 1 Million Without Power In Storm's Wake (4:44 p.m.)

More than 1 million homes and businesses are now without electricity as Hurricane Ian barrels inland, ripping down power lines and uprooting trees.

More 70% of customers are without power in Lee County, where the eye of the hurricane roared ashore shortly after 3 p.m. Neighboring Sarasota County has more than 60% out, according to PowerOutage.Us, which tracks utility outages.

Storm Is Fifth Strongest to Make US Landfall (4:38 p.m.)

Hurricane Ian came ashore tying the record as the fifth strongest to ever make landfall on the mainland US, Bob Henson and Jeff Masters, meteorologists for Yale Climate Connection wrote.

It was also tied as the fourth strongest winds to hit Florida, as it came ashore with 150 mile per hour winds on Cayo Costa, a small island west of Fort Myers, Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University, tweeted. The strongest was the Labor Day 1935 storm that had winds of 185 mph at landfall. Ian tied with the 1919 Florida Keys storm and Hurricane Charley, which hit the same area in 2004.

Ian will likely do much more damage than Charley however because it is a much larger storm, said Daniel Swain, a climatologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, in a tweet.

Blackouts Grip Florida in Wake of Landfall (3:44 p.m.)

More than 810,000 homes and businesses were without power as Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida on Wednesday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.Us.

The storm had cut power to 62% of the customers in Lee County, where the eye of the hurricane roared ashore shortly after 3 p.m.

Ian Joins Grim Chapter in Record Book (3:12 p.m.)

Only four storms have hit the US mainland with winds stronger than Ian since modern record keeping began in 1851.

The are the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, Camille in 1969, Andrew in 1992 and Michael, which struck the Florida Panhandle in 2018, according to Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University.

Andrew and Michael were among the 10 costliest in US history, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Read more: The top 10 costliest US tropical storms

Blow to Insurance Market (3:12 p.m.)

Ian is threatening to further upend Florida's already unstable home-insurance market. The largest insurers reduced their presence in the state to dodge losses brought on by Atlantic hurricanes, and the smaller underwriters still active there have been forced to hike premiums and narrow coverage to keep pace with litigation and fraud. So far this year, six insurers that write policies in the Sunshine State have been declared insolvent, and a major storm could stretch the finances of the companies still standing.

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