September 28, 2022 Hurricane Ian updates

By Adrienne Vogt, Elise Hammond, Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes, Maureen Chowdhury, Seán Federico-O'Murchú and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 1:52 a.m. ET, September 29, 2022
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8:30 a.m. ET, September 28, 2022

"You're not going to survive" a 16-foot storm surge, NOAA official explains

(CNN)
(CNN)

Given Hurricane Ian’s strengthening to a 155-mph, high-end Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting a catastrophic storm surge of 12 to 16 feet from Englewood to Bonita Beach, Florida, including Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda as well as Cape Coral and Fort Myers.

This means "you're not going to survive if you're in an area that's going to have 16 feet of inundation," Michael Brennan, acting deputy director of NOAA, told CNN on Wednesday.

"I'm six feet tall. That's almost like three times my height. It's not the just the rise of the water from the storm surge. It's the breaking waves on top of it that are going to be driven by those 155 mph winds. Those waves can destroy buildings and basically lay a foundation to bare down to the slab. That's not a situation you're going to survive in," he explained.

Residents in areas that are storm surge evacuation zones still have a few hours to leave and they should protect themselves today, Brennan urged.

Meanwhile, Ian is located about 55 miles west of Naples, moving north-northeast at 10 miles per hour, he said, adding that catastrophic impacts are expected along the southwest boarder coast today as the hurricane is just two miles shy of a Category 5 strength.

8:22 a.m. ET, September 28, 2022

Where Hurricane Ian is now — and where it's going next

Hurricane Ian, a strong Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, is about 55 west of Naples, Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center's 8 a.m. ET update.

"Ian expected to cause catastrophic storm surge, winds, and flooding in the Florida peninsula starting later today," the center said in its updated public advisory.

Here's a look at the latest projected track for Hurricane Ian, which is forecast to move northeastward throughout the day and into tomorrow:

8:17 a.m. ET, September 28, 2022

Emergency services suspended in Punta Gorda

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Emergency Services are currently suspended in Punta Gorda, Florida, as Hurricane Ian gets closer to land.

“Emergency services, including police, fire, and EMS, have been suspended in the City of Punta Gorda due to high winds,” a post on their website said. Once it is safe, emergency services will resume and “calls will be answered in order of priority,” the city noted.

After the storm goes through, officials warn response may be delayed “due to damage, road blockage, and flood waters.”

Punta Gorda is located north of Fort Myers in Charlotte County, Florida.

8:05 a.m. ET, September 28, 2022

Once winds hit 45 mph, first responders will not go out, Clearwater mayor warns resident sheltering in place

(CNN)
(CNN)

Clearwater, Florida, is a bit out of the projected path of Hurricane Ian, which is "good news," says mayor Frank Hibbard, but he warned that this does not mean residents should let up yet.

"Our biggest thing now is don't let up. We hate to see complacency because these bands are still going to bring with them tornadoes, incredible rains, and we will have downed trees. Just because the ground gets so saturated, the trees literally tip over, take out power lines and create very dangerous conditions," he explained.

While Clearwater authorities issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents, ultimately people make the choice, Hibbard told CNN, adding that at this stage, nobody can enter but people can still leave.

"But people need to know once winds hit 45 miles per hour, first responders are not going out," he stressed.

Clearwater is a vulnerable region and a lot depends on which side of the hurricane bands it falls on, Hibbard said.

"If we're on the wrong side of the bands, it's going to push incredible amounts of water. And just think of it as a bathtub. It's going to eventually overflow," he added.

10:06 a.m. ET, September 28, 2022

Florida governor: "This is a very powerful, major hurricane that's going to have major impacts"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt and Melissa Alonso

(Florida Governor's Office)
(Florida Governor's Office)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave a briefing ahead of Hurricane Ian's expected landfall later Wednesday, warning residents in several western counties that it is "no longer possible to safely evacuate."

"This is a major, major storm. It's something that we knew was going to be significant. The strengthening of this over the last night has been really, really significant," DeSantis said.  

"[It] potentially ... could make landfall as a Category 5 but clearly this is a very powerful, major hurricane that's going to have major impacts both on impact in southwest Florida, but then as it continues to work through the state, it is going to have major, major impacts in terms of wind, in terms of rain, in terms of flooding. So this is going to be a nasty, nasty day, two days. Probably, we think now, it will be exiting the peninsula sometime on Thursday," he said.

DeSantis warned the highest risk is from Collier County up to Sarasota County, with landfall expected in Charlotte County. 

"If you are in any of those counties, it's no longer possible to safely evacuate. It's time to hunker down and prepare for this storm. This is a powerful storm that should be treated like you would treat" a tornado approaching your home, DeSantis said.

At least 40,000 power outages have been reported, DeSantis said. "Outside of southwest Florida, crews are responding to those power outages," he said. 

According to the governor,​ "there are over 30,000 linemen staged and ready for power restoration efforts across the state of Florida."

He warned residents to heed warnings from local officials and not to go outside until the storm has passed.

"Even if it seems calm, wait to make sure that the storm has actually passed. Once the storm has passed and it's safe to go outside, I urge you to be cautious. Avoid downed power lines. Avoid standing water. Stay clear of damaged trees. If you are using a generator for power, make sure that is being operated outside your home. Do not operate that indoors. And then don't drive in flooded streets," he said.

DeSantis also said that there are 5,000 Florida National Guard members activated, as well as 2,000 from neighboring states.

7:53 a.m. ET, September 28, 2022

A city-by-city look at when to expect hurricane and tropical storm conditions from Ian

From CNN's Brandon Miller

Here are some key locations that will be impacted by Hurricane Ian and what CNN meteorologists expect when conditions begin to deteriorate, peak and subside. 

This information is based on the latest forecast guidance and could still change. All times below are in ET.

Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte:

  • Period of tropical storm-force wind gusts: Now through 9 a.m. Thursday
  • Period of hurricane-force wind gusts: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. today
  • Peak winds: Gusts to 110-130 mph+, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. today
  • Rainfall expected: 6 to 8 inches
  • Surge expected: 12 to 16 feet                                                  

Sarasota:

  • Period of tropical storm-force wind gusts: Now to 9 p.m. Thursday afternoon
  • Period of hurricane-force wind gusts: 3 p.m. today to 2 a.m. Thursday
  • Peak winds: Gusts 80-90 mph+, 6 p.m. to midnight tonight
  • Rainfall expected: 10 to 14 inches
  • Surge expected: 6 to 10 feet

 Fort Myers:

  • Period of tropical storm-force wind gusts: Now through 8 a.m. Thursday
  • Period of hurricane-force wind gusts: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. today
  • Peak winds: Gusts to 80-90 mph+, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today
  • Rainfall expected: 4 to 6 inches
  • Surge expected: 12 to 16 feet

Tampa:

  • Period of tropical storm-force wind gusts: 8 a.m. today to Thursday afternoon
  • Peak winds: Gusts to 60 mph+, 5 p.m. today to Thursday morning
  • Rainfall expected: 12 to 15 inches
  • Surge expected: 4 to 6 feet

St. Petersburg:

  • Period of tropical storm-force wind gusts: Now to 12 a.m. Friday
  • Peak winds: Gusts to 70 mph+, 8 p.m. tonight to 4 a.m. Thursday
  • Rainfall expected: 10 to 13 inches
  • Surge expected: 4 to 6 feet
7:30 a.m. ET, September 28, 2022

Emergency services canceled in Cape Coral

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Emergency services have been canceled in Cape Coral, Florida, as Category 4 Hurricane Ian gets closer. 

“Emergency services Citywide are now suspended, and will resume normal operations after winds are below 45 miles per hour,” according to an update on Cape Coral’s Fire Department website

Those who call 911 during this time will be put onto a “prioritization list” and “assistance will be provided as soon as it is safe,” the update said. All residents were asked to shelter in place. 

Hurricane Ian has sustained winds over 155 mph, according to NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane data, and is located roughly 55 miles off the coast of southwest Florida. 

Cape Coral is located in Lee County, west of Fort Myers. 

8:10 a.m. ET, September 28, 2022

At least 2 dead in Cuba from Hurricane Ian

From CNN’s Patrick Oppmann in Havana

Utility poles lean over a street in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, on Tuesday.
Utility poles lean over a street in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, on Tuesday. (Ramon Espinosa/AP)

Hurricane Ian has killed at least two people in Cuba, according to state outlet Prensa Latina on Wednesday.

Both deaths occurred in the hard-hit western province of Pinar del Rio. A woman died after a wall collapsed on her and a man died after his roof fell on him, state media reported.

Meanwhile, the entirety of Cuba lost power after Ian made landfall as a Category 3 storm just southwest of La Coloma in the Pinar del Rio province early Tuesday morning.

The powerful storm was expected to dump up to 16 inches of rain and trigger mudslides and flash flooding in the western region, prompting evacuation orders for thousands of residents. After the storm moved through, floodwaters blanketed fields and trees were uprooted in San Juan y Martinez, a town in Pinar del Rio, images from state media outlet Cubadebate show.

Cuban officials said they are hoping to begin restoring power to the country of 11 million people late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

8:13 a.m. ET, September 28, 2022

National Hurricane Center is now forecasting "catastrophic storm surge" up to 16 feet

From CNN's Brandon Miller

A satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Ian approaching Florida on Wednesday at 7:56 a.m. ET.
A satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Ian approaching Florida on Wednesday at 7:56 a.m. ET. (NOAA/NASA)

Given Hurricane Ian’s strengthening to a 155 mph, high-end Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday morning, the National Hurricane Center has increased the projected storm surge for portions of Florida that will fall on the right side of the eye’s landfall.

“We are now forecasting a catastrophic storm surge of 12 to 16 ft from Englewood to Bonita Beach, Florida,” the special advisory from the hurricane center said.

This includes Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda as well as Cape Coral and Fort Myers.