meta: Hurricane Ian latest update: Tropical storm regains strength as category one hurricane as it nears South Carolina

Hurricane Ian: Waves flood roads in Key West as storm strengthens to category 4

After spending most of Thursday as a tropical storm, Ian was upgraded to a hurricane again as it takes aim at the South Carolina coastline.

The National Hurricane Center stated in its 5pm ET update that Hurricane Ian was “taking aim at the Carolinas and Georgia with life-threatening flooding, storm surge and strong winds.”

The hurricane is now moving north-northwest at around 10 mph with maximum sustained winds increasing to 75 mph with strong gusts.

“Ian could slightly strengthen before landfall tomorrow, and is forecast to rapidly weaken over the southeastern United States late Friday into Saturday,” the advisory said.

Dozens of rescue operations have been taking place across Florida after unprecedented flooding from one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the United States.

Thousands of people are stranded across the state as coastguard helicopters were seen plucking people from roofs after several feet of water surged into neighborboods. Some 2.5million people were currently without power.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis described the hurricane as a “500-year flood event” and said that major infrastructure had been badly damaged including the Sanibel Causeway in southwest Florida and the bridge to Pine Island, near Fort Myers.

President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in Florida following the catastrophic impacts. “This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida history,” he said later during a briefing at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters.

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Latest pictures of Florida devastation from Ian

In an aerial view, a damaged Fort Myers Beach pier and surrounding buildings are seen after Hurricane Ian passed through the area on September 29, 2022 in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

In an aerial view, damaged buildings are seen as Hurricane Ian passed through the area on September 29, 2022 in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.

(Getty Images)

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Ian upgraded to hurricane once again

After spending most of Thursday as a tropical storm, Ian has been upgraded to a hurricane again.

The National Hurricane Center stated in its 5pm ET update that Hurricane Ian was “taking aim at the Carolinas and Georgia with life-threatening flooding, storm surge and strong winds.”

The hurricane is now moving north-northwest at around 10 mph with maximum sustained winds increasing to 75 mph with strong gusts.

“Ian could slightly strengthen before landfall tomorrow, and is forecast to rapidly weaken over the southeastern United States late Friday into Saturday,” the advisory said.

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FCC says Ian knocked out more than 1,500 cell phone sites in Florida

That number represents around 11 per cent of cell sites in the state, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Lee County, where Hurricane Ian made landfall on Wednesday, has reported that 65 per cent of cell sites were taken out by the storm.

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Residents of Charleston, SC asked to stay home as Hurricane Ian heads to city: ‘Take this storm seriously’

The storm could bring up to seven feet of storm surge to the South Carolina coast.

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Disney World in Orlando set to re-open on Friday

The Walt Disney Company says it will confirm the exact opening hours later on Thursday.

“While theme parks and many operating areas remain closed to guests today, we anticipate weather conditions to improve this evening,” the company said in a statement Thursday.

“Walt Disney World Resort will resume theme park and Disney Springs operations in a phased approach starting on Friday, Sept. 30.”

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Recovery in Naples could take week or even months, says city official

City manager Jay Boodheshwar said Naples had seen widespread damage, and that a conservative estimate of overall damage was more than $200m.

Mr Boodheshwar said that damage to city property alone was estimated at around $20m.

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Firefighters evacuate Orlando nursing home as Storm Ian havoc Florida

Firefighters evacuate Orlando nursing home as Storm Ian havoc Florida

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Climate Aerial photos capture Hurricane Ian devastation on Florida coast

Thousands are stranded in Florida while more than 2.6 million people are without power. Ian downgraded to a tropical storm – but forecasters warn danger has not passed.

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Fort Myers pier destroyed by Ian

The scope of the damage caused by Hurricane Ian can be seen in a before and after picture of Fort Myers pier posted on social media by Sean Breslin of Weather.com.

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Elon Musk dragged for using Hurricane Ian carnage to promote ‘waterproof’ Tesla Cybertruck

‘You’re just saying literally anything to attract attention and capitalize on headlines,’ wrote one in response to the billionaire’s claim.

Bevan Hurley has the story.

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