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Hurricane Ian tracker: Charting the path of where deadly storm will hit next

USA TODAY 9/30/2022 Janet Loehrke, Jennifer Borresen, Mitchell Thorson and Shawn J. Sullivan, USA TODAY
Hurricane tracker_promo_wed_28 © Javier Zarracina Hurricane tracker_promo_wed_28

Corrections and clarifications: A previous version of this story misstated when Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida. It was Wednesday.

Hurricane Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa off the Florida coast as a Category 4 storm Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm, but returned to hurricane force on Thursday. The storm is now expected to bring life-threatening flooding, storm surge, and strong winds to Georgia, and the Carolinas. 

Ian has already lashed Cuba and Florida with life-threatening storm surge, flooding, heavy rain, hurricane-force winds, and tornadoes. Continued heavy rainfall is expected to bring flash, urban, river, and small stream flooding to central Florida, southern Georgia, and the South Carolina coast, well beyond the hurricane's path.

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Storm surge flooding is the one of the greatest threats to life and property during a hurricane, and one of the leading causes of hurricane-related deaths, along with rainfall, in the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

How storm surge works: Graphics explain the deadly weather event.

In Florida this week, forecasters say storm surge and extreme rainfall make for a particularly dangerous mix as Ian is expected to bring a surge of up to 12 feet to western parts of the state.

A storm surge warning, indicating danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline within 36 hours, is in place from Suwannee to the Whitewater Bay as of Tuesday. A storm surge watch extends that area further, to Perry and the Florida Keys. 

Maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour were reported at landfall in Florida. Hurricane hunter aircraft recorded wind speeds of up to 155 miles per hour, just short of a Category 5 hurricane, the most dangerous on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Category 5 storms have winds over 157 miles per hour, and destroy a high percentage of framed homes, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles can isolate residential areas and power outages can last for months. Impacted areas can become uninhabitable for an extended period. 

Please check the NOAA website or listen to radio broadcasts for the latest warnings in your area. NOAA recommends that people in the path of the storm take these actions to prepare and secure their homes:

  • Find out if you live in an evacuation zone and plan several evacuation routes. 
  • Fill your vehicle's gas tank and move it somewhere safe.
  • Pack a go bag. At a minimum, it should include food and water, medicine, cash, phone chargers, batteries and a radio. 
  • Board up windows and doors with plywood, steel or aluminum panels.
  • Your garage door is the most vulnerable part of your home; secure it.
  • Secure loose outdoor items and trim trees.
  • Make a plan for pets. 

Contributing: Dinah Pulver

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hurricane Ian tracker: Charting the path of where deadly storm will hit next

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