(NEXSTAR) – Even shortly after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida, the scope of the storm’s devastation was already apparent.
Ian brought with it 150 mph winds, more than 10 feet of storm surge and over a foot of rain. The hurricane’s eye was 40 miles wide as it made landfall Wednesday, leaving a large path of destruction along Florida’s west coast.
The storm flooded homes on both of the state’s coasts, cut off the only bridge to a barrier island, destroyed a historic waterfront pier and knocked out electricity to 2.67 million Florida homes and businesses. At least one man was confirmed dead.
“We’ve never seen storm surge of this magnitude,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told a news conference. “The amount of water that’s been rising, and will likely continue to rise today even as the storm is passing, is basically a 500-year flooding event.”
Floodwaters in Naples submerged cars and nearly swept away a child before his mother was able to save him, one reporter noted.
The Naples Fire Rescue Department shared photos showing firefighters face to face with a storm surge outside their own garage. The water rose up to the firefighters’ hips and over the wheels of at least one of their trucks.
In Port Charlotte, the storm surge flooded a hospital’s emergency room even as fierce winds ripped away part of the roof from its intensive care unit, according to a doctor who works there.
Water gushed down onto the ICU, forcing them to evacuate their sickest patients — some on ventilators — to other floors, said Dr. Birgit Bodine of HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital. Staff members used towels and plastic bins to try to mop up the sodden mess.
In Fort Myers, a few miles west of the barrier island where Ian came ashore, Valerie Bartley’s family spent desperate hours Wednesday holding a dining room table against their patio door, fearing the storm raging outside “was tearing our house apart.”
As the hurricane moved in, it also spawned tornados. One likely tornado overturned small airplanes at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines. Mobile homes and an apartment complex also sustained damage from apparent tornados on Florida’s eastern side.
That’s just the damage in the United States. Before making its way to Florida, Ian tore through western Cuba. State media reported two deaths in the province: a woman killed by a falling wall and another by a collapsed roof.
Ian’s winds damaged one of Cuba’s most prestigious tobacco farms, Finca Robaina.
Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm early Thursday morning.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.