One of the most powerful storms ever to rock the United States is sheeting residents of Florida as floods have ravaged hundreds of homes. In its category 4 form, the vicious storm also made landfall on the southwestern coast of Florida near Cayo Costa.
Meteorologists say the catastrophic surge of the floods will continue as the hurricane advances inland. The severe hurricane would likely persist in recording more life-threatening issues for residents of the US state. In line with the negative turn of events, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency.
Following the horrific unleash of hurricane Ian, transportation to and from Florida is on a halt. Flights that connect with the Jacksonville International Airport have been canceled for Thursday, and the airport is temporarily closed down, according to a tweet from the airport.
Due to the extreme weather conditions, the Orlando International Airport has also decided to suspend flights.
Earlier, Tampa International Airport made it known that it had canceled departing flights from its airstrip on Thursday. While the Tampa Airport has not disclosed when it looks to begin operations again, the Orlando Airport expects commercial activities to resume "some time Friday."
Millions Suffer Power Failure as Hurricane Rages
Alongside high winds, severe flooding, and powerful storm surges, hurricane Ian also struck the power supply in Florida, blanketing millions of residents in darkness.
The number of impacted residents is believed to be about 2 million.
Thankfully, major wireless carriers have declared intentions to help residents retain service. The response team of Verizon is providing free communication services to public safety agents responding to the crisis. In addition, they are setting up free charging stations, WiFi Hotspots, and other related services.
Small business entities and residents would be able to make unlimited calls and texts from now through October 4, courtesy of the gesture from the carrier service provider.
In a statement, Shawn Alexander, Verizon consumer vice president, said, "We hope this offer gives our customers one less thing to worry about so they can focus on staying safe."
In solidarity, AT&T will not record overage changes as it waives talk, data, and text charges for prepaid and billed customers. T-Mobile users would also access unlimited talk, text, and data through October 3.
Nonetheless, Florida police have barked out threats to criminals who want to take advantage of the crisis. Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno warned looters would be caught and sent to jail.
"When I say zero tolerance, zero tolerance means we will hunt you down, track you down, and you're going to jail if you're lucky,” he said.
This warning follows after the incident of looting a gas station was reported to the police. Numerous calls for help from residents have kept the police on their toes. However, Marceno said action might be delayed until the winds die down to 45 mph.
He, however, advised residents to avoid the roadways as of now.
“Obviously, there are a lot of challenges that we face. We don't even know exactly what we face just yet. We know we've been hit very hard,” he said.
Hurricane Ian Degrades to Category 1
Although the storm continues to ravage the Florida Peninsula, the hurricane has weakened to category 1. At 2 a.m. ET this morning, a track of the wind force measured 75 mph.