‘The power of the storm is being unleashed’: Storm surges from Ian flood Fort Myers
Ian made landfall on the southwestern coast of Florida on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane, tying for the 5th-strongest storm to make landfall in the United States.
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Ian struck the southwestern coast of Florida on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane, tying for the 4th-strongest storm to make landfall in Florida and 5th-strongest to make landfall in the U.S.
The now tropical storm is forecast to make a third landfall in the Southeast later this week.
With maximum winds of 150 mph – just 7 mph shy of being classified as a Category 5 storm – Ian made landfall in Cayo Costa, Florida, a barrier island located west of the coastal city of Fort Myers.
Fort Myers reached 5.8 feet storm surge about two hours after landfall, breaking the previous record set by Hurricane Gabrielle in 2001 at 3.36 feet.
FOX Weather multimedia journalist and storm specialist Robert Ray braved the streets of a flooded Fort Myers.
"It's block after block of the water that has come in from the river over there," Ray said as he waded through nearly knee-deep water in the streets and braved high winds swirling around him.
"There is debris floating and flying. Boats are untangled. Vehicles are submerged at this point," he added. "And you see the wind just pushing, pushing the water all around the surge in – it is phenomenal, the power of Hurricane Ian even at this point."
Ray donned a helmet – and later, goggles – to protect himself from flying debris.
Aluminum was being ripped off of roofs, and boats and automobiles were "bopping up" next to each other in the streets, according to Ray.
He fought against the wind with every step and struggled to remain standing.
"It’s not safe by any means," Ray said. "The power of the storm is being unleashed, the energy, and it's nowhere near over as it continues up the peninsula."
"I worry about how far up the surge is going to go and how long this is going to continue," he added. "This is just absolutely concerning and so devastating, so widespread from Naples to here and now points north, just a terrible scene here."