Hurricane Ian Could Hit Florida as Record Storm

The entire island of Cuba has been left without power in the wake of Hurricane Ian, which knocked out its power grid and destroyed some of the country's most important tobacco farms.

According to NPR, initially about 1 million people in Cuba's western provinces—where the Category 3 storm made landfall—lost power, but later the entire grid collapsed. The report adds that tens of thousands of people were evacuated, while Ian caused flooding, damaged houses and toppled trees. No fatalities have been reported yet.

Currently, reports, Hurricane Ian is a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph as of Wednesday morning. It is nearing Florida’s coastline as one of the most powerful storms to reach the state. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says Ian will bring “catastrophic storm surge” of 12 to 18 feet above ground level with “destructive waves” expected along the southwest Florida coastline from Englewood to Bonita Beach. “Catastrophic wind damage” is beginning along the southwest coast and heavy rainfall will spread across the peninsula through Thursday. Flooding is likely in Florida, southeastern Georgia and coastal South Carolina.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for parts of Florida's West Coast and some degree inland, including Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fort Myers and Orlando. This means hurricane conditions are expected. adds that Ian should remain at least Category 4 but could make an “extremely rare” Category 5 landfall Wednesday afternoon.

Airlines including American and Southwest have issued travel alerts allowing customers whose travel plans are affected by Hurricane Ian to rebook without change fees.

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