September 29, 2022 Hurricane Ian updates

By Elizabeth Wolfe, Travis Caldwell, Kelly McCleary, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Maureen Chowdhury, Elise Hammond and Seán Federico O'Murchú, CNN

Updated 1:30 a.m. ET, September 30, 2022
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12:29 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

There's major flooding along some Florida rivers as Hurricane Ian causes torrential rainfall

From CNN's Allison Chinchar and Brandon Miller

Recording flooding is already happening in central and northern Florida due to Hurricane Ian as torrential rainfall swells area rivers, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The flood waters are expected to rise further, as well as stretch well beyond the state’s borders in the coming days.

Currently there are 15 river gauge locations in Florida at or above flood stage, nine of those are at major flood stage, and three have reached all-time records. 

  • The Myakka River in Myakka State Park forecast to reach 13.0 feet (previous record is 12.5 feet)
  • Horse Creek in Arcadia forecast to reach 21.4 feet (previous record is 18.0 feet)
  • Peace River in Zolfo forecast to reach 26.5 feet (previous record is 25.0 feet)

For most of these locations it will take at least 3 to 5 days before water levels return below major flood stage, and one week before they return to "normal levels". 

Nearly 50 locations along dozens of rivers spanning 8 states are expected to reach flood stage, according to CNN analyses of NOAA and USGS flood forecasts.

As Ian moves up the East Coast widespread rainfall totals of 3 to 5 inches are expected from Savannah, Georgia to Ocean City, Maryland, with isolated higher amounts of 6 to 8 inches possible.

12:05 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

More than 2.6 million customers are still without power across Florida

From CNN's Jamie Loftus

At least 2,617,257 Florida energy customers are still without power, according to the tracker PowerOutage.us.

In Hardee County, nearly 100% of customers are without power.

In Lee County, which includes Fort Myers and Cape Coral, and Charlotte County, home to Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, about 89% of all customers are in the dark.

In DeSoto County, which includes the city of Hernando, about 92% of customers lost power.

12:27 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Coast Guard photos show widespread flooding from Ian on Sanibel Island

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy and Adrienne Vogt

(US Coast Guard)
(US Coast Guard)

High floodwaters can be seen surrounding homes in US Coast Guard photos from a flight over Sanibel Island, which is located southwest of Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

(US Coast Guard)
(US Coast Guard)

(US Coast Guard)
(US Coast Guard)

Portions of the Sanibel Causeway, which connects the island to the mainland, have been washed away, according to aerial video from CNN affiliates.

12:07 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

The US Coast Guard has already performed 28 rescues today, commander says

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas 

 

The US Coast Guard has already performed 28 rescues since they went out in the early hours of the morning today, looking for people who may be in distress, Rear Adm. Brendan McPherson, a US Coast Guard commander, told CNN Thursday.

Most of these were along the coast from Fort Myers to St. Petersburg, he said, adding that Fort Myers rescues were both maritime rescues as well as roof rescues.

The Coast Guard has eight helicopters currently in the air, “blanketing” the southwest of Florida, he said, looking for people who may be in distress.

“Right now, we’re responding to a distress call in Lakeland, Florida, which is between St. Petersburg and Orlando ... they’ve had a lot of rain and flooding in that area,” he said. “We’ve sent a helicopter up there to respond to a report of six people on a roof that need rescuing.” 

11:54 a.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Tampa International Airport will resume operations Friday

From CNN’s Stephanie Gallman

Tampa International Airport will resume commercial operations at 10 a.m. ET Friday, according to a news release.   

“TPA did not sustain any serious damage during the storm,” the release said. Airport maintenance and operations staff inspected the airfield and facilities Thursday morning.  

The airport suspended operations at 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday ahead of Ian’s landfall. 

12:15 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Stay-at-home order is still in effect for Fort Myers residents

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Damaged homes and debris are seen in Fort Myers, Florida, on Thursday.
Damaged homes and debris are seen in Fort Myers, Florida, on Thursday. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

The City of Fort Myers, which sustained major damage from Hurricane Ian, is reminding residents not to go outside, as a stay-at-home curfew is in effect.

“Crews have been assessing and helping residents since yesterday,” the city said in a Facebook post Thursday morning. “BUT there are many vehicles on the roads and they are PREVENTING US from reaching the areas that need to be cleared.”

12:43 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Death reported in Florida's Osceola County, emergency management director tells CNN 

From CNN’s Hannah Sarisohn 

One fatality has been confirmed in Osceola County, Florida, after Hurricane Ian, Emergency Management Director Bill Litton told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on Thursday morning. 

The individual who died was in hospice, according to Litton. He did not provide a cause of death.

Osceola County is seeing unprecedented flooding, with Kissimmee-area hospitals and airports are surrounded by water, he said.

Litton said he’s concerned about the approximate 14 inches of rain that parts of the county have received. 

State resources are now coming in from the National Guard, he added. 

“It’s definitely a historical event here,” Litton said. “If you’re safe and secure, please stay put right now, as we work through these issues with these flooded residents.” 

11:47 a.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Fort Myers hospital patients being sent to Naples, mayor says 

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Naples is receiving patients from hospitals in Fort Myers, Teresa Heitmann, mayor of Naples, Florida, said on CNN Thursday.

She described the effect of Ian in Naples as “catastrophic, devastating."

“I will tell you though, our prayers are for those up north. Fort Myers — they’re without water. At least our water and sewer is working,” she said. “They’re having to send patients from Fort Myers to Naples Community Hospital.”

She expressed confidence in her teams and said, Naples "will recover quickly" with residents "safe and sound.”

11:34 a.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Hillsborough County lifts evacuation order and prepares to conclude sheltering operations

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham

Hillsborough County has lifted its evacuation order and is preparing to conclude sheltering operations, according to a news release from Hillsborough County.

"After sheltering over 8,000 evacuees in 47 general population, pet-friendly, and special- needs shelters, Hillsborough County is preparing to conclude sheltering operations or transitioning shelter availability for evacuees who continue to need assistance," the release said. 

Those whose homes have been damaged are encouraged to find a place to stay, which could be "with family, friends, or at a nearby hotel," according to the release.

MacDill Air Force Base remains closed, according to the release, and the base is assessing damages.