Hurricane Ian is reportedly "just two miles shy of a Category 5 strength" as it continues to make its way through Florida, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration acting deputy director Michael Brennan told CNN Wednesday (September 28) morning.
The hurricane was reported to be 55 miles west of Naples moving at 10 MPH with winds up to 155 MPH at around 8:30 a.m. local time.
Hurricane Ian is expected to move toward the Florida peninsula later in the day on Wednesday and "cause catastrophic storm surge, winds, and flooding," according to the National Hurricane Center's 8:00 a.m. update via CNN.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that it is "no longer possible to safely evacuate" in several western Florida counties, with the highest risk from Collier County up to Sarasota County and expected landfall in Charlotte County
“If you are in any of those counties, it’s no longer possible to safely evacuate. It’s time to hunker down and prepare for this storm. This is a powerful storm that should be treated like you would treat” like a tornado approaching your home, DeSantis said via CNN.
CNN provided a city-by-city look at when the hurricane and tropical storm conditions are expected in key areas of Florida based on meteorologists forecasts, with Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte expected to see a period of hurricane-force wind gusts between 11:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
Sarasota is expected to see a period of hurricane-force winds from 3:00 p.m. Wednesday to 2:00 a.m. Thursday (September 28). Fort Myers is expected to see hurricane-force winds between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
Tampa is expected to see tropical storm-force wind gusts between 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday and into Thursday afternoon. St. Petersburg is expected to see tropical storm-force wind gusts between Wednesday morning to 12:00 a.m. on Friday (September 29).