Hurricane Ian strengthened into an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm Wednesday and roared to the brink of Category 5 status, its maximum sustained winds blasting at 155 mph as the west coast of Florida braced for landfall Wednesday afternoon.
RELATED: Hurricane Ian nears Florida, DeSantis declares state of emergency
AccuWeather forecasters predicted landfall just northwest of Fort Myers, between Don Pedro Island and Boca Grande, around 4 p.m. It will slam much of the state with life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds and flooding, the National Hurricane Center said. At 7 a.m., the center of Ian was located 65 miles west-southwest of Naples.
"We are now forecasting a catastrophic storm surge of 12 to 16 feet from Englewood to Bonita Beach," the hurricane center advisory warned.
Almost 90,000 homes and businesses in South Florida already were dark early Wednesday, according to the tracking website poweroutage.us. Power outages can be expected statewide, Florida Power & Light warned.
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