Devastating Hurricane Ian Downgraded To Tropical Storm; Millions Lose Power

Hurricane Ian Slams Into West Coast Of Florida

Photo: Getty Images

Hurricane Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm Thursday (September 29) morning as it continues to move through Florida, leaving a path of devastation throughout the state.

More than 2.5 million customers were reported to be without power Thursday morning at around 8:30 a.m. local time, according to

President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in Florida after Ian made landfall on Wednesday (September 28) afternoon and ordered federal aid to help in state and local recovery efforts in areas directly affected, the White House confirmed in a statement obtained by NBC News.

Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa as a Category 4 hurricane with winds reaching up to 150 MPH, making it one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in Florida, according to NBC News forecasters.

Ian has since weakened to a tropical storm with sustained winds at around 65 MPH on Thursday when it was reported to be about 55 miles southwest of Cape Canaveral before 5:00 a.m., according to the National Hurricane Center.

Lee County Mayor Roger Desjarlais said the county, which includes Cayo Costa, Fort Myers and Cape Coral, has been left with extensive damage in the aftermath of the hurricane.

Rescue crews were forced to wait until conditions improved before attempting to provide aid for victims stranded in high water, NBC News reports.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said vehicles were reported to be "floating out into the ocean," but officials were unable to respond and investigate until winds fell to less than 45 MPH.

“Those that are in need: We want to get to you, and we will get to you as soon as possible," Marceno said in a video address shortly before 8 p.m. via NBC News.

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