Hurricane Ian knocked half a million Floridians out of power within its first hours

Hurricane Ian It’s so powerful that its winds were just 2 mph before becoming a Category 5 hurricane as it neared landfall in Florida on Wednesday. And it didn’t take long for it to spread its wrath on Florida’s power grids.

By Wednesday afternoon, Ian’s eyes began to move ashore on the islands of Sanibel and Captiva. As of 2:30 p.m. ET, more than 640,000 people had lost their electricity, according to tracking Southwest Florida has so far bore the brunt of the impact with Lee County – home of Fort Myers – reporting more than 226,000 outages, affecting nearly 50% of its tracked customers.

More than 99,000 outages were reported at the same time in neighboring Collier County.

It continues to extend north along the Gulf Coast, with major disruptions going as far north as Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Some areas along Florida’s east coast are also seeing blockages, with more than 29,000 reported in Miami-Dade.

This is a developing story.

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