NAPLES, FL – Hurricane Ian was centered about 65 miles west-southwest of Naples at 7 a.m.Wednesday, swirling toward the coast at 10 mph.
“This is going to be a nasty nasty day, two days,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said early Wednesday, stressing that people in Ian’s path along the coast should rush to the safest possible shelter and stay there.
“If you are in any of those counties it is no longer possible to safely evacuate. It’s time to hunker down and prepare for the storm,” DeSantis said. “Do what you need to do to stay safe. If you are where that storm is approaching, you’re already in hazardous conditions. It’s going to get a lot worse very quickly. So please hunker down.”
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 according to multiple sources.
Ian rapidly intensified as it neared landfall along Florida’s southwest coast Wednesday morning, gaining top winds of 155 mph, just shy of Category 5 status. Damaging winds and rain lashed the state, and the heavily populated region from Naples to Sarasota was at highest risk of a devastating storm surge.
This is a developing story.