Hurricane Ian slams into Florida, and millions lose power as storm crawls across state

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Hurricane Ian has made landfall in Florida, knocking out power for more than 1 million people and leaving massive destruction in its wake. 

The Category 4 storm slammed into Southwest Florida Wednesday afternoon after residents of the Sunshine State spent days preparing for the storm. Residents who chose to remain at home rather than evacuate could find themselves stranded for days. 

At a press briefing Wednesday afternoon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned that the 200,000 power outages that hit the state before Hurricane Ian made landfall were “a drop in the bucket for what’s going to happen.” 

HURRICANE IAN MAKES LANDFALL IN SOUTHWESTERN FLORIDA, MORE THAN 1M WITHOUT POWER

The city of Naples, FL during Hurricane Ian on September 28, 2022. The streets are flooded and wind strongly gusts the trees. 

The city of Naples, FL during Hurricane Ian on September 28, 2022. The streets are flooded and wind strongly gusts the trees. 
(City of Naples)

DeSantis’ words proved prescient as power outages skyrocketed later in the day. 

To help brunt the financial effects of the hurricane, DeSantis asked President Biden to approve a disaster declaration and 100 percent cost share for 60 days in Hurricane Ian’s wake. The governor’s request will open up federal assistance programs for residents and funds to help repair infrastructure damaged by the storm. 

President Joe Biden, right, looks at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, during a briefing with first responders and local officials in Miami, Thursday, July 1, 2021, on the condo tower that collapsed in Surfside, Fla., last week. 

President Joe Biden, right, looks at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, during a briefing with first responders and local officials in Miami, Thursday, July 1, 2021, on the condo tower that collapsed in Surfside, Fla., last week. 
(AP)

During the White House press briefing Wednesday afternoon, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Florida and its residents “will have the full force of the federal government.” 

Jean-Pierre told reporters that in addition to the 1,300 federal response workers in Florida, resources have also been set up in neighboring states. Alabama has 3.7 million meals and 3.5 million liters of water for Floridians. 

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The federal government has also collected 110,000 gallons of fuel and 18,000 pounds of propane gas as well as deploying 300 Army Corps to coordinate distributing the fuel, Jean-Pierre said. 

While Hurricane Ian could continue to grow in power and reach the Category 5 level, it is currently tied for the state’s No. 4 fiercest landfall storm ever. 

Fox News’ Julia Musto and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

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