(NEW YORK) — Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida on Wednesday as a strong Category 4 hurricane, bringing with it the threat of high winds, dangerous storm surge and even tornadoes.
After traveling north through the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Ian made landfall along the southwestern coast of Florida around 3:05 p.m. ET as a Category 4 storm, with sustained winds near 150 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
Landfall was near Cayo Costa, an island off the coast of Fort Myers. The storm was approaching Category 5 strength as it headed toward the coast.
The storm has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, with winds of 70 mph midday Thursday. It could strengthen and become a hurricane again as it moves over water on the Atlantic side of Florida.
Ian is forecast to become at least a Category 1 hurricane as it approaches the South Carolina coast Friday morning. Landfall is expected around noon.
Weather alerts now extend across four states, from Florida to North Carolina. A hurricane warning has been issued for the entire coast of South Carolina and a tropical storm warning has been issued for North Carolina.
Parts of Florida have reported record storm surge and life-threatening storm surge remains a risk as Ian moves north. Charleston, South Carolina, could see storm surge at least 7 feet high.
A large swath of the Florida Peninsula and up along the coast to South Carolina is forecast to get more than half a foot of rain through the upcoming weekend. Up to 10 inches is forecast from Charleston to the North Carolina border.
Up to 6 inches is also possible in parts of North Carolina and southern New Jersey.
Some of the heavy rain will come up to Philadelphia and New York City area by Saturday morning, with 2 to 3 inches of rain possible locally.
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.