The numbers behind Ian so far
Ian has left behind devastation and catastrophic damage across Florida
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Hurricane Ian has caused extensive damage across the state of Florida. There really aren’t words that can accurately describe what has happened there. It’s yet another “I” storm that will never be forgotten in the U.S.
Ian made landfall Wednesday at 3:05 p.m. EDT as a high-end category 4 hurricane. The maximum sustained wind speed was an astonishing 150 mph. At one point it had a wind speed of 155 mph, just 2 mph shy of category 5 strength. It’s one of the strongest hurricanes to ever strike the U.S. mainland.
Like several other recent hurricanes to strike the United States, Ian experienced rapid intensification. That is when a tropical cyclone sees its maximum sustained wind increase at least 34.5 mph over a 24-hour period. Rapid intensification is difficult to predict in many cases, and it can lead to a stronger-than-expected storm.
Ian made landfall in Cayo Costa, Florida, which is the exact same spot where Hurricane Charley made landfall back in 2004. To get a major hurricane landfall once is rare; to get two is exceptionally rare.
Maximum wind gusts over land in association with Ian reached as high as 140 mph. That gust was measured three miles southeast of Cape Coral. The next-highest gust was 135 mph; that was recorded two miles southeast of Solana. There were multiple other recorded gusts of at least 100 mph in southwestern Florida as Ian roared ashore.
A hurricane-force wind gust of 81 mph was even recorded on the opposite side of Florida in Daytona Beach. Many inland locations also saw strong to damage wind gusts with Ian. That includes Orlando, which was a peak wind gust of 61 mph. To put that into perspective, a wind gust becomes severe beginning at 58 mph.
Rainfall according to radar estimates ranges from 15″ to 25″ in the swath of heaviest totals across Central Florida. Those extreme totals led to multiple flash flood warnings and even some flash flood emergencies across the state. Flash flood emergencies are very rare and are only issued in the most extreme situations.
Totals outside of that zone of 15-25″ weren’t as significant, but many areas picked up 4-9″ and saw at least some flooding. Additional flooding is possible in several other states as Ian makes another landfall on Friday near Charleston, South Carolina.
Last but not least is the storm surge that devastated parts of Southwest Florida. The surge values at multiple locations were historic and record-breaking. For example, the water level in Fort Myers was more than double the previous record! Just let that sink in...
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