SOUTHWEST FLORIDA – Hurricane Ian’s most damaging winds began hitting Florida’s southwest coast Wednesday, lashing the state with heavy rain and pushing a devastating storm surge after strengthening to the threshold of the most dangerous Category 5 status.
Fueled by warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Ian grew to a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane overnight with top winds of 155 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Members of the media and area residents began posting videos and photos on social media showing the impact as the storm hit the area, including what some are calling a “reverse storm surge” where the water was sucked out of Tampa Bay.
News4JAX will post the images below and update this story throughout the day:
The Naples Fire-Rescue Department posted this Facebook Live showing the current conditions in Naples. Rescue trucks are unusable due to the storm surge. They have already assisted with multiple water rescues.
New video just in from Fort Myers, FL shows swimmers getting into the storm surge as Hurricane #Ian approaches.— Zach Covey (@ZachCoveyTV) September 28, 2022
This is EXTREMELY dangerous. I can’t believe I have to say this…. DO NOT GET INTO THE WATER! pic.twitter.com/jsoUPvX8uC
This is not good. Parts of Fort Myers Beach are already underwater. A woman who lives on Matanzas Court just sent me this video of her neighborhood. This is right off Estero Blvd. @NBC2 pic.twitter.com/duz05bLtzf— Kyla Galer (@kylagaler) September 28, 2022
NEW: #HurricaneIan Video #SWFL— Jeff Butera (@ABC7Jeff) September 28, 2022
* Fire on a Naples Street
(Credit: Christine Cato Yeow)
* Punta Gorda Bridge
(Credit: Joe Lang)
* Flooding at Bonita Bill's/Fort Myers Beach
(Credit: Ben Alderman) pic.twitter.com/eKoA0345Am
As Hurricane Ian moves ashore, streets in Naples Florida are quickly filling up with water. The National Hurricane Center said Wednesday morning that some area could see as many as 18 feet of storm surge. #linkinbio #hurricaneian #ian #hurricane #florida pic.twitter.com/XgZICVNi37— LX News (@NBCLX) September 28, 2022