Hurricane Ian has left millions of Florida residents without power and caused massive flooding across large portions of the state, but the storm will soon put several other Atlantic coast states in its crosshairs this weekend.
According to the latest reports from the National Hurricane Center, Ian remains a Category 1 hurricane on Thursday night, packing sustained winds of 75 miles per hour and slowly drifting to the north and west as it continues to lash Florida with gusty winds and heavy rainfall.
Even as it continues to impact Florida, tropical storm-force winds are beginning to impact both Georgia and South Carolina, and forecasters anticipate that the storm will continue driving northward until it makes landfall in South Carolina on Friday.
Before it reaches land again, the hurricane could potentially strengthen slightly, according to officials.
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Most of the South Carolina coast is under a hurricane warning, with storm surges of 4-to-7 feet possible in a wide swath of coastline between Murrels Inlet and Edisto Beach.
Heavy rainfall is expected throughout the state, but Charleston could potentially be hit hardest, with up to 6-to-10 inches of rain possible before the storm’s remnants finally slide off to the north and west.
Parts of North Carolina, including Charlotte, could also see heavy rain as the storm pushes northward, according to forecast models.
By Saturday, the storm is expected to make its way into the mid-Atlantic states, impacting West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, cleanup is just beginning in Florida, with rescue workers still attempting to make contact with thousands that are trapped in their homes. At least six people have died in Charlotte County, according to officials.
In Lee County, at least nine hospitals were left without water service because of the storm. The island community of Sanibel is also cut off from mainland Florida after a bridge collapsed into the Gulf of Mexico during the worst of the storm.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says that residents will be evacuated via boat, and that the bridge will be rebuilt.