ORLANDO, Fla. – Hurricane Ian strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane before making landfall Wednesday afternoon in southwest Florida and left a path of destruction through the state.
The hurricane’s center struck near Cayo Costa, a protected barrier island just west of heavily populated Fort Myers, with 150 mph winds.
The storm, the fifth strongest to every strike the United States, was downgraded to a tropical storm around 5 a.m. Thursday as it passed through Central Florida, where flooded homes and streets were widespread.
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In Port Charlotte, the storm surge flooded a lower-level emergency room in a hospital as winds tore off part of the roof of its intensive care unit. Staff evacuated those patients -- some on ventilators -- to other floors.
Early Thursday, 2.5 million were without power in the state.