Miami – Hurricane Ian has made landfall in south western Florida as a major category four storm and has been considered the worst in 100 years in western Florida.
As of 2pm NZtime today, Ian had winds strong enough to completely destroy homes.
Ian had sustained winds of 240kmh at landfall, stronger than any storm system that could ever impact New Zealand, WeatherwatchNZ says.
Five hours later and over central inland Florida Ian had weakened to a category three storm, but still has sustained winds of 185kmh. Again, stronger than anything NZ could ever experience.
WeatherwatchNZ head forecaster Philip Duncan says the only time New Zealand records winds over 200kmh is with gusty winds interacting with the tops of the mountains and ranges. Even then it’s rare.
“To have sustained winds at sea level well above our maximum gusts on our mountain tops really shows how major this storm is for Florida”.
Duncan also says the storm surge in parts of Florida has now exceeded four metres of rain.
“In New Zealand our Civil Defence orders people off beaches when we have a coastal tsunami of just 20cm or less. While a tsunami and a hurricane’s storm surge are two different beasts, it does highlight how major Ian is.”
Most hurricanes hit Florida from the east or south east. This storm came in from the Gulf of Mexico side to the west, which makes it historic.
Tampa, the biggest city in the west, hasn’t had a storm this big for over 100 years.