Residents trapped, 911 down as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in Florida

The scene in Naples, Fla., near where Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon with sustained winds of 150 mph and a 12- to 18-foot storm surge. Photo courtesy of the Naples Police Department
1 of 3 | The scene in Naples, Fla., near where Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon with sustained winds of 150 mph and a 12- to 18-foot storm surge. Photo courtesy of the Naples Police Department

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Residents are trapped by water in their homes and streets are unrecognizable, underwater after Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida on Wednesday afternoon, crashing into the coast with sustained wind of 155 mph.

"We are in call triage mode. We are getting a significant number of calls of people trapped by water in their homes," the Collier County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post Wednesday.


"Some are reporting life threatening medical emergencies in deep water. We will get to them first. Some are reporting water coming into their house but not life threatening. They will have to wait. Possibly until the water recedes."

The 911 system in Lee County, Fla., is down and rerouting to the system in Collier County.

"You cant even imagine those calls. Do not call 9-1-1 unless it is an emergency. We all have Collier Courage and we'll get through this," Sheriff Kevin Rambosk wrote in the posting.


Video footage shows torrential downpour and whitecap current roaring through the streets in Fort Myers Beach, passing storefronts with palm trees barely standing.

The wind speed from the storm was only a few miles per hour short of becoming a Category 5 storm, which has sustained maximum winds of 157 mph. Storm surges between 12 and 18-feet.

The center of the storm was about 20 miles west-northwest of Fort Myers and about 20 miles west-southwest of Punta Gorda, according to the an update from the National Hurricane Center. Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa, Fla.

Naples is underwater, with parked cars almost entirely submerged. The city has declared an indefinite curfew and the local utility provider has issued a boil water notice for all customers in Lee County.

Water levels in Naples were already 6 inches above normal high tide level, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That would break a record set in 2017 when Hurricane Irma hit the state.


Video posted on Twitter shows members of the Naples Fire Rescue Department salvaging equipment at their own station, with water almost halfway up the side of their fire trucks.

Major flooding had been expected along the Southwest Florida coast from Tampa Bay to Naples.

More than 2 million people in Florida were without power Wednesday, according to, while 2.5 million people were under mandatory evacuation orders across the state. The storm knocked out power to around half a million customers within the first hour of making landfall.

The wastewater treatment plant in Bradenton, Fla. is almost full and in danger of overflowing, the city said on Facebook, urging residents to conserve water.

The Tampa Bay area remains under a hurricane warning and a storm surge warning.

Ian is traveling north-northeast at 9 mph, around 130 miles from Orlando.

"This is gonna be a nasty, nasty day -- two days," Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference Wednesday before the storm made landfall.

Florida's Division of Emergency Management told anyone in the storm's path to shelter in place for the time being, as the storm came ashore with evacuations no longer possible.


"Do not venture outside at all. Do not try to evacuate at this point," National Hurricane Center acting director Jamie Rhome told the Orlando Sentinel.

Nearly 2,000 U.S. flights were canceled at Florida airports Wednesday, according to flight-tracking site, while Major League Baseball was going through contingency plans this weekend's series between the Mets and Braves in Atlanta.

Officials throughout Southwest Florida already ordered mandatory evacuations of mobile homes, while shelters also remained open for those who decided to ride out the storm.

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