Hurricane Ian was pounding southwest Florida on Wednesday afternoon. At 3:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Ian was located at latitude 26.7°N and longitude 82.2°W which put it about 20 miles (30 km) west-southwest of Punta Gorda, Florida. Ian was moving toward the north-northeast at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 150 m.p.h. (240 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 175 m.p.h. (280 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 940 mb.
A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Chokoloskee to Anclote River, Florida. The Hurricane Warning included Tampa Bay. A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Sebastian Inlet to the Flagler/Volusia County Line, Florida. The Hurricane Warning included Melbourne and Daytona Beach. A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Flagler/Volusia County Line, Florida to the South Santee River, South Carolina. The Hurricane Watch included Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. A Hurricane Watch was in effect for Lake Okeechobee. Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for all of the Florida Keys. A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Flamingo to Chokoloskee, Florida. A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for Lake Okeechobee. A Tropcial Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Anclote River to Indian Pass, Florida. A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Flamingo, Florida to South Santee River, South Carolina. Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Bimini and Grand Bahama Island.
The National Hurricane Center stated that the center of Hurricane Ian officially made landfall on Cayo Costa, west-northwest of Ft. Myers at 3:10 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. Ian was a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale at the time of landfall.
The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) was 31.6. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 18.1 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 49.7. Hurricane Ian was stronger and much bigger than Hurricane Charley was when Charley made landfall in Southwest Florida in 2004. Ian was similar in size and intensity to Hurricane Laura, when Laura hit Lake Charles, Louisiana in 2020. Hurricane Ian was also similar in size and intensity to Hurricane Michael when Michael hit Mexico Beach, Florida in 2018.
Hurricane Ian was producing strong gusty winds, locally heavy rain and a storm surge along the coast of Southwest Florida. A weather station maintained by the River, Estuary and Coastal Network at Redfish Pass, Florida reported a sustained wind speed of 94 m.p.h. (151 km/h) and a wind gust of 126 m.p.h. (203 km/h). A weather station at the Punta Gorda airport reported a wind gust of 124 m.p.h. (200 km/h). The Cape Coral Fire Department reported a wind gust of 110 m.p.h. (177 km/h). A station in Naples, Florida reported a storm surge of 9.05 feet (2.76 meters) and the water level was still rising. A station in Ft. Myers, Florida reported a storm surge of 5.76 feet (1.75 meters) and the water level was still rising.
An upper level trough over the eastern U.S. will steer Hurricane Ian toward the northeast during the next 24 hours. On its anticipated track Hurricane Ian will move inland over Southwest Florida. Ian will move across Central Florida on Thursday. Hurricane Ian is likely to bring a prolonged period of strong gusty winds to Southwest Florida and to Central Florida. Ian will be capable of causing severe damage. A prolonged period of strong winds could cause widespread electricity outages. Hurricane Ian will move slowly inland and 10 to 20 inches of rain could fall in some locations. Fresh water flooding could occur in Central Florida. A storm surge of up to 12 to 16 feet (3.5 to 5 meters) could occur along the coast of Southwest Florida.
The center of Hurricane Ian could be near the east coast of Florida on Thursday afternoon. Hurricane Ian could bring strong, gusty winds to the coast of the Southeastern U.S. on Thursday night and Friday. The wind will blow water toward the coast and water levels will rise along the coast.