As Ian continued to travel northeastward through central Florida, it was downgraded to a tropical storm as it carried with it a tremendous and lethal surge of water as well as catastrophic winds that are poised to make it one of the costliest hurricanes in the history of the United States.
A little after 3 p.m. local time on Wednesday, the hurricane that had previously been classified as a Category 4 made landfall west of Fort Myers near Cayo Costa. Flooding and power outages were expected to affect a significant portion of the state of Florida, which is home to over 21 million people. Over two million people have been given orders to escape or been persuaded to do so. It is anticipated that the storm would produce damages and losses of more than $67 billion, and shipping companies are already rerouting their routes to avoid its course.
As Hurricane Michael approached the coast of Florida on Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida remarked, “This is going to be a devastating catastrophe.” “It’s something that’s going to be there for days, weeks, months, and in some tragic situations, even years.”
Because of its low-lying and densely populated coastal areas, which are prone to flooding, Florida’s infrastructure is put through a rigorous test whenever a hurricane of this scale strikes the state. It comes at a time when climate change is being blamed for fueling extreme weather around the world this year, including deadly flooding in Kentucky and Pakistan, a European heat wave that killed more than 2,000 people in Portugal and Spain, and unrelenting drought in the western states of the United States.