ORLANDO, Fla. – Ian, a Category 4 hurricane when it made landfall in southwest Florida, has spawned severe weather warnings in Central Florida.
It was downgraded to a tropical storm at 5 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, though it again strengthened to Category 1 after moving into the Atlantic.
A flash flood warning was in effect for Brevard, Lake, Seminole, Orange, Osceola and Volusia counties Thursday morning but expired in the afternoon.
A flood advisory was in effect for Flagler County until 8 a.m.
A hurricane watch was in effect Thursday along the immediate coast of Flagler County and parts of Volusia County as Ian continued to turn northward.
In addition, tropical storm warnings persisted for much of Central Florida, including Flagler, Volusia, Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties.
Ian had wind speeds Wednesday of 155 mph when it made landfall in southwest Florida, putting it just shy of devastating Category 5 hurricane status (at least 157 mph winds).
A tornado warning was issued around 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday for Volusia County that expired around 10 minutes later.
Meantime, a tornado warning was issued around 2:35 p.m. Wednesday for Brevard and Osceola counties. The warning was later extended to 3:30 p.m. as strong storms enveloped the region, but it expired before then.
There were no immediate reports of serious damage or injuries.
Ian pushed a storm surge that could cause catastrophic damage along the state’s heavily populated Gulf Coast. Forecasters say the Fort Myers region is at highest risk of a surge that could reach 18 feet. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urged residents to “hunker down.”
[WATCH LIVE IN VIDEO PLAYER BELOW: News 6 team coverage of Hurricane Ian]
A tornado warning was issued around 2 p.m. Wednesday for southwest Brevard County and expired about 30 minutes later.
Rotation of a storm was picked up on radar, prompting the warning.
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
Just after 8 a.m. Wednesday, a tornado warning was issued for the southern portion of Osceola County. The warning was effective through 8:30 a.m. and ended with no reports of damage or injuries.
🌪What to do?🌪
- Find the safest room in the building -- one with a small interior on the lowest level -- and stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.
- Once you’ve found the safest spot, beware of flying debris that could cause injury or death. Crouch as low as possible, facing down, and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- Try to avoid seeking shelter next to any heavy objects that could fall on you.
- Wear shoes and if possible, utilize a bike or football helmet if you have one laying around your house.
🌪What about mobile homes?🌪
According to the National Weather Service, nearly 40% of tornado deaths have historically happened in mobile homes. These can be one of the most dangerous places, should a tornado hit.
Mobile homes are simply not designed to withstand a tornado or strong winds in severe storms.
- Find shelter elsewhere. Some mobile home parks provide storm shelters to residents.
- If you’ve run out of time to seek other shelter, leave your mobile home and find the lowest-lying area near you. Lay down and cover your head with your hands.
🌪What if I’m driving somewhere?🌪
- DO NOT try to outrun the tornado.
- If you can, get to the nearest building for shelter.
- If there are no buildings nearby, despite what you may have heard in the past, ready.gov says you should not get under an overpass or bridge. Find a low, flat location instead, and try to watch out for flying debris that could cause injury or death.
The time to find shelter is when you are under a tornado warning, so while all of this is helpful information, the best thing you can do is know the signs before a tornado hits.
Does your community have a warning system? You can stay up-to-date with the latest breaking weather news by signing up for ClickOrlando’s weather alerts here. In addition, the Emergency Alert System and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio provide emergency alerts.
Check back for updates.