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Hurricane Ian leaves 2 million in dark as Florida slammed with 150 mph winds, massive storm surge

  • Hurricane Ian leaves 2 million in dark as Florida slammed with 150 mph winds, massive storm surge
    Hurricane Ian downgraded to tropical storm as it batters Central Florida Hurricane Ian leaves 2 million in dark as Florida slammed with 150 mph winds, massive storm surge
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Hurricane Ian downgraded to tropical storm as it batters Central Florida

Southwestern Florida was slammed by a historic Hurricane Ian Wednesday afternoon, making landfall with 150 mph winds and a record-setting storm surge.

Ian came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane near Cayo Costa in Lee County just after 3 p.m. EDT, according to the National Hurricane Center, knocking out power to over 2 million customers across Florida as of early Thursday morning and triggering dozens of water rescues in the southwestern part of the state.

Hurricane Ian has been downgraded to a tropical storm, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Shortly before 5 a.m., Ian's center was located about 40 miles southeast of Orlando and 35 miles southwest of Cape Canaveral.  The storm was clocking maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. Ian has slowed slightly in forward motion to 8 mph. 

By the time Ian arrives in the Orlando metropolitan area around mid-Thursday morning, further weakening is expected. The path then carries the storm off the Florida coast near the Brevard-Volusia county line by late morning or early afternoon Thursday.

The storm is forecast to emerge over the western Atlantic by late Thursday.  Ian is forecast to turn northward on Friday and approach the northeastern Florida coast, Georgia, and South Carolina coasts late Friday.

Tropical-storm force winds began arriving in Central Florida early Wednesday afternoon. Hurricane-force wind gusts are possible in the morning hours for Orlando despite the weakening.