Floridians woke up to devastating scenes Thursday morning Hurricane Ianone of the strongest storms ever to hit the US, it caused widespread destruction on the west coast of the state.
The storm, which made landfall as a powerful Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday, flooded many buildings and roads, tore off roofs, left people stranded in their homes and knocked out power to millions of residents. Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm early Thursday, but forecasters warned that the threat of “catastrophic” flooding will continue as Ian moves east. It was expected to move into the Carolinas this weekend.
Authorities were still assessing the situation in Florida, but the photos below offer a glimpse of the damage.
One of the hardest hit towns was Fort Myers, which is just north of where Ian made landfall. Photos show several boats damaged by the huge storm surge as well as flooded streets and buildings.
Punta Gorda, a small town and the seat of Charlotte County, woke up Thursday to severe flooding, collapsed buildings and streets covered in debris and fallen trees.
Bartow, the county seat of Polk County, experienced high winds and heavy rain that knocked down trees, power lines and business signs.
The typhoon also destroyed a large part of it Sanibel Causewaythat connects Sanibel Island to mainland Florida, cutting off access to the barrier island where about 6,400 people normally live.
Flooding from Tropical Storm Ian hit central Florida on Thursday. In Orlando, first responders helped evacuate a nursing home as flood waters rose.