(CMR) Thousands of people in Florida are already without power as Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 storm, landed on the state's west coast Wednesday afternoon. Flooding has already been reported in some counties.
Landfall occurred along the southwestern coast of Florida near Cayo Costa around 3:05 p.m. ET with winds near 150 mph, making Ian a high-end Category 4 hurricane.
Early Wednesday, maximum sustained winds were near 155 mph, with higher gusts, just two mph away from being upgraded to a Category 5.
Michael Brennan, the acting deputy director at the National Hurricane Center, said Hurricane Ian could remain a hurricane for up to the next 24 hours.
“Right now, we're expecting it to eventually weaken below hurricane strength sometime overnight tonight or early Thursday morning,” Brennan told CNN Wednesday. “It's going to take some time for that circulation to spin down.”
Brennan said hurricanes generally weaken within about 24 hours of making landfall but warned people not to let their guard down.
More than 1,000 flights were canceled in Florida on Wednesday; 700 arrivals and departures were canceled at the Orlando International Airport. Tampa International also canceled hundreds of flights. Thousands more flights are expected to be canceled on Thursday.
Miami International Airport said it had canceled 206 arrivals and 214 departures Tuesday due to the hurricane. The airport said that would affect flights between Miami and cities across the U.S., the Caribbean, and Central and South America.