PHILADELPHIA - Hurricane Ian has reached Category 5 and is rapidly moving toward the mainland of Florida. It's expected to land in a hurricane warning area by Wednesday night. The region from Longboat Key to Bonita Beach is expected to feel the worst storm surge. Hurricane Ian is expected to cause significant damage to property and life.
Hurricane Ian is currently moving ten mph north at its center, with maximum sustained winds of up to 155 mph. It is expected to re-strengthen a bit before hitting Florida's west coast. The National Hurricane Center predicts that Ian will make landfall sometime Wednesday.
The path of Ian's approach to Florida is unusual. Hurricanes typically travel in the northeast or northwest and rarely track entirely up the coast. No previous hurricanes have tracked entirely up the west coast of Florida. The storm is also expected to produce large amounts of rainfall. In the past, the state of Florida has experienced the destructive force of two tropical storms that were downgraded to tropical storms before making landfall. The Elsa and Eta hurricanes made landfall just west of Tampa and in the Cedar Key area north of Tampa.
Florida residents are advised to prepare for flooding. Heavy rain has already fallen over southern Florida, and several rivers are already above the flood stage. As Hurricane