Hurricane Ian nears Category 5 strength, approaches Florida's southwest coast

Gov. Ron DeSantis described the hurricane's sustained winds of 155 mph, as "knocking on the door of a Category 5 storm."

Published: September 28, 2022 7:47am

Updated: September 28, 2022 10:58am

Hurricane Ian on Wednesday morning intensified and churned toward Florida's southwest coast.

The storm's top speed of 155 mph is just below the threshold of being put into Category 5 – the most dangerous hurricane classification.

"This is a major, major storm," Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a morning press conference in which he warned residents to continue to prepare for the worst. "I urge you to be cautious."

DeSantis also detailed what his administration has done to get ready, including activating thousands of National Guard troops and opening roughly 200 shelters, hurricane preparedness he called "unprecedented."

How Florida governors handle a hurricane has long been considered the ultimate test by which their administration will be judged. How well DeSantis does will draw national attention, considering his already high profile and presumed aspirations to run for president in 2024.

The storm is expected to make landfall on the state's southwest Gulf Coast on Wednesday afternoon.

The region is already getting hit with high winds and pelting rain – closing bridges and causing flooding and power outages.

The region from Naples to Sarasota is at the highest risk of a devastating storm surge, according to the Associated Press

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