ORLANDO – Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida as a major hurricane, with more than 2.5 million under evacuation orders.
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The center of the massive Category 4 storm lingered offshore for hours, which was likely to mean more rain and damage from a hurricane that was trudging on a track that would have it making landfall north of the heavily populated Fort Myers area. Catastrophic storm surges could push 12 to 18 feet (3.6 to 5.5 meters) of water across more than 250 miles (400 kilometers) of coastline, from Bonita Beach to Englewood, forecasters warned.
Ian menaced Florida after bringing destruction Tuesday to western Cuba, where two people were reported dead and the storm brought down the country’s electrical grid. Fueled by warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Ian grew to a Category 4 hurricane overnight with top winds of 155 mph (250 kph), on the threshold of the most dangerous Category 5 status, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Live stream storm tracking: Hurricane Ian just shy of most dangerous Category 5 status as it nears Florida