Watch: Ian continues to batter Florida | USA Today

Floridians woke up Thursday to flooded homes and uprooted trees as Hurricane Ian doused the Sunshine State with heavy rain and strong winds after slamming into it as one of the strongest storms in U.S. history.

RELATED: Hurricane Ian nears Florida, DeSantis declares state of emergency

The storm, which is on track to weaken to a tropical storm, was forecast to continue lashing the state for most of Thursday before heading out into the Atlantic Ocean. Meteorologists with the National Hurricane Center say it will then turn northwest toward Georgia and South Carolina.

The storm made landfall as a Category 4 storm Wednesday afternoon, flooding parking garages and leaving residents stranded in their homes with battering 150 mph maximum sustained winds — just 7 mph shy of a Category 5 hurricane, the strongest on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale. The storm rapidly weakened as it moved through Florida and was a Category 1 late Wednesday as nearly every home and business in three Florida counties was left without power.

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