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Hurricane Ian is a Category 1 but is still expected to cause high winds and flooding

In this image made from a NASA livestream, Hurricane Ian is seen from the International Space Station on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida near Cayo Costa on Wednesday as a catastrophic Category 4 storm.
Updated September 29, 2022 at 12:19 AM ET

Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida's Lee County on Wednesday afternoon, producing winds of 150 miles per hour and a storm surge over 7 feet high in Naples before coming ashore.

The National Hurricane Center predicts Ian's high winds and rain will cause intense storm surge and flooding, resulting in catastrophic damage to homes and businesses.

The hurricane, located 70 miles south of Orlando as of 11 p.m. ET, lost strength as it made its way across Florida. It was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 90 mph, the NHC said in an update.

More than 1.5 million homes and businesses are without power as of Wednesday night.

The National Hurricane Center's Acting Director Jamie Rhome said in an advisory that the time for evacuation has long passed. Those who remain in the storm's path need to hunker down in the center of their home and prepare for sustained devastating winds.

The hurricane's eyewall reached Sanibel and Captiva islands, west of Fort Myers, shortly after noon. A webcam on Fort Myers Beach showed palm trees bending in the wind as waves toss furniture around in the surf.

Ian is forecast to continue making its way northeast across Florida. The situation on the ground will likely get worse before it gets better, as high tide isn't until 7:06 p.m. Wednesday, which will contribute to storm surge conditions.

The storm is expected to weaken after landfall, but could be near hurricane strength as it makes its way over Florida's east coast on Thursday, the NHC said. Ian will continue north toward Northeastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina on Friday.

Right now, NPR stations all across Florida are serving their community with vital information during this crisis, and more stations are pitching in as the storm moves up the coast. Reporters across the NPR Network provide news that serves as a lifeline to affected communities during disasters and beyond. Your donation makes a difference. Can you make a contribution?

Updates about the storm can be found at the National Hurricane Center's website here.

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