Hurricane Ian makes landfall near Cayo Costa as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds

Cheryl McCloud
Fort Myers News-Press

Hurricane Ian made landfall at 3:05 p.m. as a powerful Category 4 storm, with sustained winds of 150 mph.

Ian came ashore near Cayo Costa. an island off the coast of Fort Myers, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

The hurricane is moving north-northeast at 9 miles per hour.

Hurricane Ian is poised to bring hurricane-force winds to Florida's East Coast as it moves across the state. 

Satellite images: See latest satellite image from NOAA, for a clearer picture of the storm's size

Florida web cams: See conditions

Hurricane warnings have been issued from Sebastian Inlet north to the Flagler/Volusia County line. 

What does landfall mean when referring to hurricanes?

According to the National Hurricane Center, landfall is the intersection of the surface center of a tropical cyclone with a coastline.

Because the strongest winds in a tropical cyclone are not located precisely at the center, it is possible for a cyclone's strongest winds to be experienced over land even if landfall does not occur. Similarly, it is possible for a tropical cyclone to make landfall and have its strongest winds remain over the water.

Hazards affecting land from Hurricane Ian

STORM SURGE: The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

The water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide:

  •  Englewood to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor...12-18 ft
  • Middle of Longboat Key to Englewood...6-10 ft
  •  Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee...8-12 ft
  •  Chokoloskee to East Cape Sable...5-8 ft
  •  Anclote River to Middle of Longboat Key, including Tampa Bay...4-6 ft
  •  Suwannee River to Anclote River...3-5 ft
  •  Lower Keys from Key West to Big Pine Key, including the Dry Tortugas...3-5 ft
  •  Flagler/Volusia County Line to South Santee River including St. Johns River...3-5 ft
  •  St. Johns River south of Julington...2-4 ft
  •  East Cape Sable to Card Sound Bridge...2-4 ft
  •  Florida Keys east of Big Pine Key...2-4 ft
  •  Patrick Air Force Base to Flagler/Volusia County Line...1-3 ft
  •  North of South Santee River to Surf City NC...1-3 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the right of the center, where the surge will be accompanied by large waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.

WIND: Catastrophic wind damage is likely where the core of Ian moves onshore.

Hurricane conditions will begin along the west coast of Florida within the hurricane warning area shortly, with tropical storm conditions ongoing.

Hurricane conditions are expected to begin along the east coast of Florida in the hurricane warning area starting overnight. Hurricane conditions are possible in the hurricane watch area on Thursday through late Friday.

Tropical storm conditions are occurring in the warning area in the Florida Keys, and will continue this morning. Tropical storm conditions are occurring in parts of the warning area on the east coast currently, and should spread up northward through the Georgia and South Carolina coasts tonight and Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area in Cuba for the next few hours.

RAINFALL: Ian is expected to produce the following storm total rainfall:

  •  Florida Keys and South Florida: 6 to 8 inches, with local maxima up to 12 inches.
  •  Central and Northeast Florida: 12 to 18 inches, with local maxima up to 24 inches.
  •  Eastern Georgia and Coastal South Carolina: 4 to 8 inches, with local maxima of 12 inches.

Widespread, life-threatening catastrophic flash, urban, and river flooding is expected across central Florida. Widespread considerable flash, urban, and river flooding is expected across portions of southern Florida through Wednesday, and northeast Florida, southeastern Georgia, and coastal South Carolina later this week through the weekend.

TORNADOES: Tornadoes are possible today and tonight, especially across east central Florida.

SURF: Swells generated by Ian are affecting the northern coast of Cuba, the northeastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula and west coast of Florida. Swells will increase along the east coast of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina tonight and Thursday. 

These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.