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.