RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Hurricane Ian has officially made landfall along the southwestern coast of Florida near Cayo Costa around 3:05 p.m. The National Hurricane says “Data from an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft indicate that Ian’s maximum sustained winds were estimated to be near 150 mph.”
Cayo Costa is a barrier island just west of Fort Myers, Florida.
Ian continues as an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane with 140 mph sustained winds and higher gusts. Dangerous storm surge up to 18 feet is likely ongoing across portions of southwest Florida.
The 5 p.m. update has Ian moving north-northeast at 8 mph and its forward speed is expected to continue to slow down over the next 24 hours.
Hurricane Ian is also expected to weaken to a tropical storm as it crawls across Florida. Ian will re-emerge over the western Atlantic on Friday, but should not re-strengthen thanks to dry air and strong upper-level winds.
Ian will move into Georgia and South Carolina as a tropical storm before weakening to a depression or remnant low pressure in western North Carolina, where it could produce up to 6 inches of rain across the region.
Here in central North Carolina, widespread rain with breezy conditions will be around on Friday. There could be locally heavy downpours during the day and at night.
As the remnant low of Ian will moves into the NC mountains on Saturday and showers will be likely in central North Carolina with a rumble of thunder possible.
This system will produce some much needed rainfall since it has been dry the last several weeks. Rainfall amounts across central North Carolina should average 2 to 5 inches.
Sunday will still see a chance of scattered showers and a spotty shower will still be possible on Monday. Highs will be in the lower 70s.
We will continue to track this storm and keep you updated.