RIght now, it's just 2mph short of a Category 5. "We're going to see the top level of houses completely torn off," meteorologist Bill Karins said.
September 28, 2022

Here's what Hurricane Ian is up to this morning, as Bill Karins explained on Morning Joe.

"Yesterday the hurricane battered western Cuba, knocking out the island's electrical grid, causing a nation-wide blackout. Officials say two people were killed there. Straight to meteorologist Bill Karins with a look at this storm, Bill, where is it now and where is it headed?" Willie Geist asked.

"Southwest Florida, to be exact. Almost certain this will end up being one of our costliest hurricane disasters, even just weather disasters in our country's history," Karins said.

"Some estimates put this at about $10 billion, even $20 billion worth of damage. That's not the important thing today. The important thing today, save as many lives as possible. The goal of all emergency managers and all meteorologists. Get as many people as possible out of harm's way. After it's done, we'll figure out how to repair and get power back on in weeks ahead. Category 4. strong as it gets. We don't even get many Category 4 landfalls in this country but that's going to happen this afternoon and happen somewhere close to Fort Myers. 18 years ago, Hurricane Charlie made landfall, Category 4, exact same location. Unbelievable for the people that lived through that and they're going to do it again.

"This is 2:00 p.m., the eye just off the coast. Here's Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Captiva, those areas devastated by tremendous storm surge and catastrophic winds moving onshore. A Category 4 hurricane gives catastrophic winds with the eye. We're going to see the top level of houses completely torn off. It won't be all the way down to foundations like Andrew as a category 5 but close to it. If anyone hasn't left this area and is hearing that, reason enough to get out of there.

"We take the storm going throughout the nighttime into tomorrow morning, Central Florida, weakening at that time and a big power outage even through Orlando, Disney complexes. Emerging off the coast here of Daytona Beach and makes another landfall and really catastrophic portion of this storm, the life-threatening portion is everywhere here, from the Fort Myers southwest Florida into central Florida. The number one thing that kills people in hurricanes is water. The thing today we're focused on is that storm surge. Going to be to the south of the landfall. Could be the Port Charlotte area and all the way down to Fort Myers, very low-lying areas. A 12-foot storm surge never has happened in those areas. Even Charlie happened when low tide was happening. This looks to move in during high tide.

"High tide, Charlotte, 6:00, Sanibel 3:00 this afternoon, coinciding right with the peak storm surge. Add two to three feet on top of the storm surge making it even worse. Right now you still, if you haven't evacuated or haven't left and supposed to, still have a little bit of time. It's getting late. Already gusting to 51 in Naples, 40 Fort Myers. Usually get gusts 50 to 60, tree branches fall and power out when rescuers say they can't help people. Have to wait for the storm to be over. Fort Myers and Port Charlotte, Puerta Gorda, wind gusts up to 130 miles per hour, talking catastrophic wind damage and as far south and Orlando, wind gusts of 88 miles per hour.

"Old trees in the area, a problem with branches falling down. Power outage swath in red. Widespread obviously where the landfall is but right up through I-4 heading into Volusia, Flagler County, back down towards the Space Coast. Guys, as bad as it gets. Been through a lot of these big, huge, devastating storms. It's going to take weeks to recover."


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