A hurricane warning has been issued for South Carolina’s entire coast as Ian, which is now a tropical storm, is expected to regain strength and become a hurricane – again – on Thursday evening.
The storm tore through southwestern Florida and moved across the state. It is now churning off of Florida’s east coast. Maximum sustained winds increased since this morning, now near 70 mph. Sustained winds of 74 mph are needed for a storm to reach hurricane status.
“On the forecast track, Ian will approach the coast of South Carolina on Friday,” the National Hurricane Center says.
Ian made landfall in southwestern Florida on Wednesday as a major Category 4 hurricane, just shy of a Category 5, as one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the U.S.
The storm caused catastrophic flooding and damage as it barreled across Florida. It left people trapped in homes and wide swaths of the state without power. More than 2.6 million homes and businesses were in the dark as of late Thursday morning, according to poweroutage.us.
“Major-to-record river flooding will continue across central Florida through next week,” the hurricane center says. “Considerable flash, urban, and river flooding is expected across coastal portions of northeast Florida, southeastern Georgia, and eastern South Carolina through Friday.”
As of 11 a.m. ET Thursday, Ian’s center was some 25 miles north-northeast of Cape Canaveral and about 285 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina. It was moving north-northeast at 9 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.