ABC News Live Prime: Wed, Sep 28, 2022

As Hurricane Ian slams southwest Florida, floodwaters sweep away homes and wash out roads, and more than 1 million customers are without power as the monster storm moves across Florida.
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Transcript for ABC News Live Prime: Wed, Sep 28, 2022
LINSEY DAVIS: Rushing waters, wild wind, heavy rain-- Hurricane Ian's wrath is gripping Southwest Florida tonight with life-threatening conditions after the monster storm made landfall as a category four, with winds up to 150 miles per hour. - And you're on the second floor already? - Yeah. We're all-- - It's six of us in here. LINSEY DAVIS: More than a million customers in Florida are without power tonight-- the storm washing away homes and roads, thanks to a storm surge of up to 18 feet in some areas. New images show the catastrophic damage. Now, Ian is moving across the state, and there are several states now in the crosshairs. The warning to anyone who did not evacuate-- dire. Communities are suspending emergency calls for help. - Don't go out there. It's so dangerous to be out there. So even if you see the water receding, it's not the time to go out there and look at it. LINSEY DAVIS: Airports across the region have also closed. More than 2,100 flights canceled today, another 1,700 tomorrow, bringing with it nationwide ripple effects. ABC News Live is bringing you team coverage tonight as we watch to see what destruction Hurricane Ian brings next. Good evening, everyone. I'm Linsey Davis. Thanks so much for streaming with us. We do begin tonight with Ian's wrath. The monster hurricane is pounding Florida tonight with a catastrophic storm surge, potentially historic rain and up to 150-mile-per-hour winds. All this has left communities underwater, residents in need of rescue, and at least a million customers without power. It is going to be a long night ahead in Florida. Right now, Ian is hovering near Punta Gorda and moving slowly toward Orlando. Storm surge in some places could be as high as 18 feet and up to 30 inches of rain. Ian made landfall around 3:00 this afternoon as a powerful category four storm near Cayo Costa, a barrier island just west of Fort Myers. The hurricane is slamming Fort Myers. Right now, you can see this beachfront restaurant underwater and the scene right outside. And then, take a look at Naples, where firefighters are conducting water rescues. You can see residents with water up to their chests, trying to get to safety. In Val Rico, a tree smashed through the roof of the home. A traffic camera captured Ian's second landfall in Punta Gorda, Florida-- punishing winds knocking down trees and causing gusting rain. And tonight, the threat is now moving inland, as this massive storm hovers over the state. Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina are also all on high alert. We have team coverage tonight. Our senior meteorologist Rob Marciano leads us off from St. Petersburg. ROB MARCIANO: Tonight, entire buildings swept away, families trapped by floodwaters-- monstrous Hurricane Ian now lashing the Florida Peninsula. [MAN YELLS] Ian, roaring onshore as a strong category four, with winds of 150 miles per hour. Official landfall-- 3:05 PM Eastern Time. Hurricane Ian now making landfall, and the wind is just ripping across Tampa Bay. Look at the action here on these waters. We've got a reverse surge, where the bottom of the bay is exposed in places that probably have never seen the light of day. At the same time, these huge swells on a normally calm bay with big white caps smashing into that jetty, which protects the airport. So you've got water that's exiting, and water that's piling up, and the power of the wind and water combined is relentless. Landfall coming after hours of intense wind-- [SIREN WAILS] --as Ian came closer, our Ginger Zee in Fort Myers, broadcasting live in the eyewall. - We are in the eyewall of Hurricane Ian. That is the strongest part of the storm. You can see almost nothing behind me, but if you could, the eye is only about five miles to my west. Look at what's happening right here. We finally saw the wind start to shift. And we've got the surge starting to take over the pool here at our hotel. If you look a little further, there was a dock. There's a little house at the end of that dock that has been surrounded by the water. Surge here-- anticipated anywhere from 12 to even 18 feet. That's the type that takes cars, takes homes. It is not just life-threatening. It is not survivable. ROB MARCIANO: Then, about an hour later, the storm is moving north of us, but we see these winds, and that little house that we were talking about all day has gone, succumbed to the storm surge. Now, the blue roof is all that's left floating in the water toward the building. - What you need to be doing right now is getting away from walls and windows. Treat this like a tornado warning. ROB MARCIANO: Families trapped by the storm surge. - And you're on the second floor already? - Yeah, we're all-- - It's six of us in here. ROB MARCIANO: Our affiliate, WZVN, FaceTiming with a group in Fort Myers Beach. - There's about 15 feet of water now. - There's 15 feet of water, and it's still coming in? - Yeah, it's still steady rising, and the waves just keep pushing it through the windowsills. ROB MARCIANO: The fire department, unable to reach them due to conditions, offering this advice. MAN (ON PHONE): They need to get as high as they can from the water, and try to ride out the storm. That's the best advice I have. ROB MARCIANO: AccuWeather capturing the eyewall piling water onto Pine Island as the storm moved onshore. Naples Fire Station taking on water, the storm undergoing rapid intensification ahead of landfall, increasing the hurricane force wind field out 45 miles from the center. Hurricane hunters flying into Ian, knocked around by extreme turbulence. MAN: There goes the beds! Holy cow! - Holy [MUTED] ROB MARCIANO: One hurricane hunter describing it as one of the roughest flights of his career-- that he'd never experienced that much lateral turbulence or seen that much lightning. One of the most powerful hurricanes to ever make landfall in Florida, now expected to cut across the state like a slow-moving buzzsaw. Orange County Fire trucks using loudspeakers to alert residents in this mobile home park-- - Evacuation of all mobile homes is recommended. ROB MARCIANO: --to seek shelter. The storm is coming. FEMA, ready to respond as soon as it is safe. DEANNA CRISWELL: We've pre-positioned quite a bit of equipment, so we can respond immediately. Once we know what the impacts are and what the additional needs are, we're just going to continue moving that equipment in. But I think that we are positioned really well to meet those immediate needs in the first few hours. ROB MARCIANO: President Biden speaking with Governor DeSantis, promising help. - We'll be there to help you clean up and rebuild, to help Florida get moving again. And we'll be there at every step of the way. That's my absolute commitment to the people of the state of Florida. - This is a really, really significant storm. It will be one of the storms people always remember when they think about Southwest Florida-- probably be the big one that they always remember. - Certainly, this will be top of mind for some time to come. Rob Marciano joins us once again from St. Petersburg. Rob, thank you for sticking with us all night here. Give us the very latest track and warnings at this hour. - Well, we've got-- now, we've got a hurricane watch up, Linsey, for South Carolina. All right? So once this gets through Florida, we've got to contend with it coming in to South Carolina. But one step at a time-- here are the latest watches and warnings. Tropical storm warnings, hurricane warnings remain up. It's still a hurricane. It's still a major hurricane in the middle of Florida right now. And so the entire peninsula, for the most part, is under some sort of tropical warning. And now, we have extreme wind warnings that have been pushed inland. These started when when it came onshore, and these are posted any time the wind is expected to exceed 115 miles an hour. We certainly saw that along the coast. And we have the potential for that as this thing spirals its way inland. This is in effect for another couple of hours. And then, we hope they don't reissue it, because the hope is, and the expectation is, that this storm will continue to weaken. But it's doing so slowly, so overnight tonight, as it progresses north and east, here's a depiction of what we expect the radar and the wind speeds to be-- Orlando and Tampa and Vero Beach and Daytona and Jacksonville-- everybody seeing winds well over 50 miles an hour, with higher gusts, with heavy rain, with saturated grounds. That means trees will come down. At the very least, more power will be shut will be shut off, and potentially, trees coming down at the houses. So think about that if you are watching from Florida in the storm zone, and get a mind's eye on your property and protect your family with what you have to do there. Here's the forecast track now-- category one by tomorrow morning. By tomorrow afternoon. It's a tropical storm, exiting the Space Coast. And then, overnight Friday, heading past Savannah and into somewhere around Charleston or Savannah-- or say, Myrtle Beach somewhere in there, Friday afternoon. But look at that-- 65 miles an hour-- that's nearly a hurricane. So that's why they have hurricane warnings or watches posted for those areas. Hopefully, it doesn't restrengthen all that much when it gets into that area, because that's the last thing they need, obviously. But we'll be tracking that. And obviously, folks in Georgia and the Carolinas are now preparing for what Ian brings to them. But we've got to get through Ian tonight here in Florida. First things first with this historic storm, Linsey. - You're right. That's the last thing they need. And Rob, this is the worst storm to hit Florida from the Gulf in September since 2005. When the sun rises tomorrow, how widespread do you think the devastation will be? - I think it's going to be as widespread as it was in 2005 when Hurricane Rita came ashore along the Texas-Louisiana border. I was there for that one. I think what I'm afraid of is that where this came ashore is a lot more populated. There's a lot more structures. There's a lot more full-time residents. So we're talking about many, many more structures and homes that will be damaged, destroyed, or just flat-out ripped off their foundations. We saw the pictures of all those cars submerged in water, so there's that. So between the water and the wind and the winds of 120 miles an hour-- tornado-strength winds, basically. You're talking about widespread-- a swath of destruction we'll wake up to tomorrow, from Fort Myers Beach up into Punta Gorda, and down to Naples and farther inland, and up towards the Bradenton as well. That will be devastating, to say the least, and in the billions of dollars. So-- and months to recover, if not years, Linsey. - Wow. All right, Rob. Thank you so much for your reporting tonight, and to you and the crew. Stay safe. Thanks so much. ABC's Morgan Norwood joins us now from Tampa. Morgan, it looks like the wind, and now, the rain, has picked up considerably since we talked to you last. Are you getting a sense that a lot of people are hunkering in place and riding the storm out? - Yeah, Linsey. Things have certainly intensified, especially as we talk about the storm weakening slightly. Certainly doesn't feel like that's the case here. It could be the positioning of the storm. I'll defer to our meteorologists for that. But yeah, there have been times that I've really had to hunker down and brace myself. We've had some really powerful wind gusts, to the point where some of our light stands have even started shaking just a bit. Almost thought that I had to catch one at one point. But I do get the sense that folks here are definitely hunkering down. And just for perspective, remember, Tampa-- we have been bracing for a direct impact before the storm shifted further south, including Southwest Florida-- got in on the brunt of that storm. So you know, they're already prepared for this. Many of those people had been hitting the roads. We saw that mass exodus of folks evacuating. We saw it for ourselves on the highway. We also thought above, with the chopper. The highway is looking more like a parking lot, with so many people inching to get out. So I do, Linsey, get a sense that people are hunkering down here as the storm continues to tear through the state. And there goes that whipping wind once again. LINSEY DAVIS: Right. And we know the storm surge is one of the big concerns there, but inland areas could also get slammed as well. What what is the main concern that people seem to be worried about in particular there in Tampa? - Linsey, I think it's going to be the catastrophic flooding. I mean, keep in mind-- with Tampa, they're not out of the woods yet, even as far as a storm surge. But as Rob has been saying, the storm has the ability to kind of creep along and just hover over the state. I think he used the analogy-- almost like a buzzsaw. So over the next few hours, and even into the next day or so, we could see up to 24 inches of rain in some areas. I think I saw that stat for Orlando. So we're talking about widespread flooding and damage, and it'll be really interesting tomorrow to see how things look once the sun comes up. Linsey. - Right, "a slow-moving buzzsaw" is how he described it. Morgan, our thanks to you. Please stay safe. And let's go back to ABC News meteorologist, Greg Dutra, who's back with us. Greg, talk about just how big this hurricane is and how it'll continue to impact, now, other states. - Absolutely. And to give credence to Morgan's assessment that the winds and the rain have definitely picked up there, she's absolutely right. Here's the latest radar imagery, and you can see some of those bands-- not quite tied to the eyewall, but kind of the second set out from the eyewall-- that are now moving through Tampa as this storm draws a little bit closer to Tampa, just by virtue of moving off to the north. But by far, the heaviest kind of eyewall, if it's still structured like that, is starting to push its way farther into Florida. And now, we have tornado watches up that stretch all the way from Daytona through the Space Coast, south to about Jupiter, Florida, and then inland, of course, to Orlando. It'll be a night tonight, Linsey. If folks do fall asleep around the Orlando area, I have a feeling that is not going to be a very easy sleep with how wet the ground is getting, and the fact those winds are still around hurricane strength, and there are going to be a lot more trees falling, a lot more power going out. - Right. And talk about the storm surge as well, and the potential for historic rain in some places. - That's right. In areas that do not handle rain, nor do they handle storm surge very well-- first on the storm surge, as this system does get back out into the Atlantic, as Rob was talking about-- possibly increases to near hurricane strength, again, you're going to see the winds whip back around it. And that's going to drive the water back against the eastern seaboard, and the St. Johns River that's out in Jacksonville does not respond very well to that. It is very close to topping the walls at just about every single point. And that is going to likely happen at 3 to 6 feet of storm surge. And that extends all the way up to Charleston, past Myrtle Beach, too. And the fact that they're going to see a lot of rainfall with this does not help. Second example-- Charleston does not handle severe thunderstorms very well, nor are they going to handle 5 to 10 inches very well. You will see flooding there-- flash flooding that occurs in Charleston as the rain continues through the next 48 hours. And you can't forget this. As I mentioned, the trees-- the trees falling on a very soaked ground-- probably going to happen through Central Florida, the villages, Orlando, Daytona Beach, up to Jacksonville-- 10 to 15 inches of rainfall. It is going to be a very long night and very long next couple of days, Linsey, as we watch this continue to track to the North and East. LINSEY DAVIS: Right, OK. Greg, thank you so much. And as Greg just mentioned, Hurricane Ian is moving through Florida. Trevor Ault joins us now from Jacksonville tonight. Trevor, Jacksonville is bracing for impact. What are you seeing there? - Well, we're seeing a lot of the final prep work happening here, Linsey. So as we know from our meteorologists, Ian is marching very slowly, moving at a giant's pace, trotting along through Florida. But it's still going to pack plenty of fight by the time it arrives here in the northeastern corner of the state. And we're starting to see these actions now really kicking into high gear. Just a couple of moments ago, Jacksonville's mayor just announced three very hugely popular beaches-- Atlantic, Neptune, Jacksonville Beach. Those are all closed for further notice, until it is deemed to be safe. And we know that schools were all closed today. A lot of businesses shut down as early as 11, even though we're just now about to start to get into the northernmost outer bands of Ian. And then, through the morning is when it's really going to pick up. And as we've seen, as the first places that saw all the rainfall were dealing with it all day long, we're expecting that for Northeastern Florida tomorrow, and maybe even continuing into Friday, too. So people have been watching and seeing all the damage to the southwestern portion of the state here, but imagine the strength of a storm that we're talking about. We've got evacuations on both coasts of Florida-- the Western, and the Eastern tomorrow-- because this thing is so large, and it's moving so slowly, that the next 36 hours here in Jacksonville are going to be really quite trying, Linsey. - And Trevor, I know you just said that, really, you're expecting the worst of it in the morning. How much of conditions there changed, though, just in the last few hours tonight? - Well, we're really starting to see the rain begin to go. It's not quite there yet. I think actually, we're getting, like, intermittent fits and starts. But I can tell you, the most noticeable change right now is, it's gotten a lot colder. I mean, it's pretty warm, in the mid 80s, easily, earlier today. It has gotten a lot cooler, and the breeze is picking up, too. And especially where you feel it-- the St. Johns River flows right through downtown Jacksonville. In extreme weather events, it can flood. And what we're going to be watching for, Linsey, is the path of this storm and the force of the wind could actually force that river to flow in the opposite direction, and in doing so, causes it to flow over top of the banks. So we're expecting to see some flooding here in downtown Jacksonville, which is away from the coastline. And then, there's going to be several other cities and beaches that are along the coast on the eastern side here, that could easily get 15 inches of rain, not to mention that storm surge, too, as they're on more of the eastern side of the weather, too. So lots of different problems here that the people of Jacksonville are dealing with. It shouldn't be as extreme as what we saw for those communities-- Fort Myers-- earlier today, but it's plenty that they will have to prepare for. - And Trevor, I think you just summed it up so well. Just as far as the sheer power of this storm, that it would have the capability to reverse the direction of the water there. Trevor, our thanks to you. We'll be checking in with you tomorrow, of course. While the impact of the hurricane is always a concern, the deadliest aspect is flooding caused by storm surge. One of the areas bracing for storm surges of more than 15 feet is Fort Myers. ABC's Victor Oquendo is there for us tonight. VICTOR OQUENDO: The water rushing into Fort Myers, swamping roads-- the tops of cars still visible. But a little more than an hour later, those same cars, completely submerged, water now reaching tree tops and roofs. Let's give you a view from our vantage point. That's the storm surge. That's coming right onshore here-- those waves, just incredibly powerful. You can't even make it out right now, but there is a pool directly underneath all of this. Now, it is covered in all that debris. You see some floating doors there. This map, showing how much of the area has been flooded by storm surge, with the hurricane still raging. Christopher Garcia has lived in Naples for nearly 30 years, recording this video from his front door today. CHRISTOPHER GARCIA: --that house, halfway on the water. There goes to my car, floating away. VICTOR OQUENDO: Inland flooding-- the deadliest component of hurricanes for the past 30 years. Hospitals in the area prepared for the worst, several now on lockdown, their doors shut to protect patients and staff until the storm passes. Backup generators on hand to continue vital services with the power out. LINSEY DAVIS: Victor, our thanks to you. Joining us now is the Rear Admiral Brendan McPherson, 7th District Commander with the US Coast Guard. Thank you so much for your time during what I can imagine is a really busy time. You are, of course, the point person in charge of rescue efforts with the Coast Guard in Florida. What are you hearing right now from your teams trying to rescue residents? - Yeah, Hi, Linsey. So as you said, I'm the Coast Guard district commander here. I'm working with our state and local partners to put forth a search-and-rescue capability to help those that are in the most distress. Our hearts go out to all the people that are impacted by this devastating storm, and we're bringing all of our resources to bear. Help is on the way. - What is your advice to anyone who is currently stranded or in need of a rescue? - Yeah. First of all, if you're in a safe location, stay where you're at. If you do need help, use the 9-1-1 system. We really want to discourage people from trying to use the social media for distress. 9-1-1 system is your best way to reach emergency services. Right now, a lot of places are really under dangerous conditions. It may take some time for rescuers to get to you. But contact 9-1-1, and we're going to get help to you as soon as we can. LINSEY DAVIS: What's your number-one concern for the long night ahead? - Yeah, it is going to be a long night ahead, and I'm afraid it's going to be a long few days ahead of us. But the Coast Guard is ready to respond as soon as conditions allow-- the weather conditions. We're going to get our aircraft in the air, we're going to assess the circumstances, and we're going to start rescuing people that are in distress. So what we really want people to do is, stay where they are if they're safe. And if they need help, call 9-1-1. LINSEY DAVIS: And anyone who calls for help-- at some point, rescuers will be able to come out to assist them? - That's right. I can tell you from my own experience, this is probably one of the largest rescue operations being mounted. We've got rescuers from the fire departments, local fire departments, sheriff's departments, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, and many others. Dozens of aircraft, shallow-water rescue teams, high-water vehicles-- the state has taken this seriously, and the Governor has directed us all to bring everything we have to bear to keep people safe. LINSEY DAVIS: What kind of calls are you getting? What kind of distress are most people saying-- is it flooding in their house, in their cars? - Right. We know that we've seen a lot of surge-- 12 to 14 feet in Southwest Florida, around the areas of Fort Myers. As the storm goes through our Coast Guard aircraft, they're going to get airborne, and they're going to follow in the wake of the storm. We've already had rescue cases down in the Keys, from the storm that went through there overnight. Not as bad as they're getting on the southwest coast, but we've already assisted 15 people who were at sea and needed distress rescuing. LINSEY DAVIS: I believe the number was somewhere around 2 million people who were urged to evacuate. Do you feel that people took this seriously enough? Or based on the number of calls that you're getting for people to get rescued, does it seem like a lot of people tried to ride it out? - Yeah, well, there were a lot of, as you said, mandatory and voluntary calls for evacuation. We hope people heeded those. We know that some people didn't. And so it doesn't matter at this point whether they did or didn't. We're going to get out there, and we'll do our best to save lives and rescue people. Our highest priority right now is saving lives. LINSEY DAVIS: Rear Admiral Brendan McPherson, we thank you so much for your time. Best wishes to you and your entire team out there in Florida tonight. - Yeah, you're welcome. You know, our crews are specially trained and equipped to do this mission. We're going to do what we can. And please keep all the people of Florida in your thoughts and prayers. LINSEY DAVIS: We certainly will. Our coverage of Ian will continue throughout this show, but we are also tracking other developments tonight, including the deadly shooting inside a hospital. Patients and medical staff evacuated the investigation that's now underway. Russia is set to finish its illegal land grab in Ukraine, as thousands of the Russian male citizens continue to choose fleeing over fighting. Our team is on the ground in the nation of Georgia, where Russians are heading by the tens of thousands. But up next, we're continuing to track this massive storm that has caused thousands of flights to be canceled. We'll tell you how long it will take for the flight interruptions to get sorted out. Investigators are on the scene after at least six people were injured during a shooting at a school in East Oakland, California. Parents were urged to pick up their children after the incident. It's unclear just what started it all. This comes after Oakland experienced nine people shot and killed in the last nine days. Now, back to our coverage of Hurricane Ian-- we know it's moving through Florida. Our Janai Norman is in Orlando for us tonight. Janai, give us a sense of what the conditions are like there now. - Well, Linsey, we're certainly starting to hear the-- really more than anything, I think, the wind. We're getting the rain coming down, but we're starting to see more of that wind, more of the blowing of the palm trees, being able to see more of the wind rushing over the tops of the roadways behind me. And certainly, in our hotel, you can hear the rain kind of slamming into the windows more now. So we are expecting all of that to ramp up tonight. We know that as the storm does move through Central Florida, and really over parts of Central Florida, that it's going to be the rain and the wind that local officials here are most concerned about. And of course, we know that that could go on all night long, especially into the morning. Linsey. LINSEY DAVIS: I see you had to add the hood on top of the baseball cap at this point. A lot of people from Southern Florida fled to that area to try to escape the storm, but now, they're bracing for impact. How is the city responding to this influx of people? - Well, you know, they expected it. Because so many people, it seems, have heeded those warnings did heed those warnings in Southwest and Western parts of the state, and many people pushed towards this area more inland, hoping to get away from Hurricane Ian, but it turns out that the storm is just going to meet them here. So a number of hotels just are filled with people. I know our hotel is almost filled to capacity. But local officials told me here that they're prepared for that. They're ready for that. The hotels here can withstand what they're expecting. So I mean, they expected more people to come. They did-- more shelters have opened. But because of the-- Orlando is such a big tourist area. So many people would come to the area just to visit, let's say, the theme parks. Those parks closed today. They will be closed tomorrow. So those are some of the things that have happened around here to try to-- anyone who was here, get them home as soon as possible if they could. Anyone who came here when they left home are now hunkering down and ready to ride out the storm here in Orlando, Linsey. LINSEY DAVIS: All right. Janai, our thanks to you, and of course, stay safe. And of course, air travel has also been impacted, with thousands of flights canceled, and multiple airports shut down throughout the Sunshine State. ABC transportation correspondent Gio Benitez is in Tampa for us. Gio, how long could we expect these travel disruptions to continue? - Well, Linsey, like you said, just about every major airport in this state has been affected by this, many of them shut down. No doubt about it. It is going to take days to get them back up and running they have to get the evacuated staffers, for example, to come back and be able to get the airport operational again. It is not something that you can do by just flipping a switch. We know now that the FAA is telling us that airports in Fort Myers, Tampa, and Orlando-- they won't reopen until at least Friday around noon-- with one exception, of course-- if there's damage. Because if there is damage, that's a whole different story, and it's going to take longer to reopen them. But we won't know that until this storm clears through the state, and they're able to really assess that. That's why they're giving the-- the FAA is giving them time to really look at that until Friday around noon. And so we're going to look at that. But no doubt about it. This isn't just a Florida story. These closures will have an impact at airports all across this country, Linsey. LINSEY DAVIS: And Gio, we know that you grew up with hurricanes in Florida. You've certainly seen a lot of them, experienced them firsthand. What makes this one so different? - You know, I think, Linsey, it's the sheer size of this storm. We're talking about a hurricane-- a very powerful hurricane-- that really took up most of the state, right? It is a huge portion of the state. We looked at that eyewall. That was a 40-mile-wide eye with a 20-mile eyewall. That is an extraordinary amount of geography that it covers. And even though it's weakening now-- we just found out from the National Hurricane Center that it's now a category three-- doesn't matter. Because it is still so huge. It is still so powerful. We're talking about winds of 125 miles per hour. And as we're looking at this, yes, of course, over land, it weakens. But one of the things we notice with other hurricanes is that they weaken very quickly. In this case, this weakening isn't happening so quickly. It's really starting to creep up, but it's not happening fast enough to destroy the structure of the storm, and that makes it very, very different, because this is impacting a huge amount of people, Linsey. LINSEY DAVIS: Right. Very slow-moving. Gio Benitez, stay safe. Of course, our thanks to you. ABC News meteorologist Greg Dutra, back with us once again. Greg, give us one final look at Ian's track for tonight. - Yeah, and we're going to do through tonight. First, the latest update that we just got in from the National Hurricane Center-- now lowering it even more from a category three, down to a category two, with winds of 105 miles per hour. But as we've been talking about all day, category honestly does not matter at this point here. This is still a very dangerous storm. We watched as it tracked across the Antilles, we watched it as it made its northern track, and we watched it as everybody compared it to Irma and compared it to Charley. But as we've been saying the whole time, it has not been like Irma or Charley. Charley was compact. It zipped across the state. Irma was still a pretty good storm. But this is even bigger than Irma, with high winds and heavy rainfall. And look at this. It does follow a very Charley path, but instead of going all the way up the East Coast, it kind of curves back in, right around Charleston, and that is what we have to watch through the overnight, into Friday, perhaps even into the first portion of the weekend here, as it continues to give torrential rain. And what is going to be a big problem here-- storm surge along the Eastern seaboard, where they could see three to 6 feet of, basically, surge from the storm as it moves off of the East Coast again and pushes water back in the St. Johns around Jacksonville. Tornado watches also out for the overnight hours as this cruises across the Peninsula. That's for Orlando, north to Daytona, through the Space Coast, and then always south to Jupiter, Florida-- still a very long night ahead, Linsey. - And of course, we're going to keep tracking this in the days to come. Greg, thank you so much for sticking with us all night. Really appreciate it. - No problem. - Still ahead here on Prime-- Katie Couric reveals her battle with breast cancer. The cringeworthy comments made by President Biden today as he tried to give a shoutout to a lawmaker who recently died. You have to hear it, and then the cleanup attempt after. And we'll also look at the size and scope of Hurricane Ian by the numbers. But first, our tweet of the day from Duke Energy, showing the cavalry lying to wait to restore power to the million-plus people without power in that state. Welcome back. Hurricane Ian threatens to be one of the most damaging storms the US has seen in years. Here's a look at Ian by the numbers. 3:05 this afternoon, Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa, Florida, with 150-mile-per-hour sustained winds. It's the exact same point where Hurricane Charley made landfall back in 2004. Storm surge up to 18 feet is possible in coastal areas, and up to 24 inches of rain could fall in Central and Northeastern Florida, as the storm slows down and moves across the state. Emergency management officials are warning the wind surge rain trifecta could equal catastrophic damage in some areas. More than a million Floridians are already without power, shortly after landfall. 58 school districts in the state are closed, as are major tourist attractions and hundreds of grocery stores, as millions were told to evacuate the state, opened 176 shelters. Nearly 400 ambulances, buses, and support vehicles have been mobilized to the area to assist with emergency calls. And 600 search-and-rescue experts are preparing for the worst. As we've been reporting here on ABC News Live all day, this storm is going to continue to heavily impact Florida and the Southeastern US for several days to come. We will, of course, continue to keep you updated on the latest. And we still have lots to get to here on Prime tonight. We will be giving you the latest updates on Hurricane Ian's march through Florida. And promising medical news-- two companies claim their drug slows the progress of Alzheimer's disease. What the FDA plans to do. And adult Happy Meals? Yeah, you heard that right. But first, look at our top trending stories on abcnews.com. REPORTER: Hurricane Ian tearing through Florida, making landfall on the Southwest coast as a category four storm. Winds clocking in over 150 miles per hour, lashing the coast. ABC's Ginger Zee in Fort Myers-- - To be pounded for this long and see this much damage, the constant crashing of those waves under these shores-- it's taken structures from us, and we've seen boats roll by. REPORTER: In Naples, fierce winds taking out power lines. Watch as sparks fly during the heavy gust, water receding from the Tampa Bay, Manatee River, and Charlotte Harbor, as Ian draws it in, all before spewing it out again as that dangerous 5- to 12-foot storm surge. And you can even see the storm surge coming in on Sanibel Island, the water rising and flooding streets in a matter of minutes. As Ian creeps along, more than 2.5 million Floridians under evacuation orders. 30,000 workers are on standby to restore electricity after the storm. REPORTER: One person was killed, and a suspect taken into custody, after a shooting at an Arkansas hospital. Police responded to CHI St. Vincent in Sherwood, which was placed on lockdown during the investigation. Police said Leighton Whitfield, who was visiting a patient, was shot and killed at the hospital. The suspect, identified as Raymond Lovett, was taken into custody in Little Rock. Police said Whitfield and Lovett knew each other and that the shooting appeared to be an isolated incident. REPORTER; The body of American ski mountaineer, Hilaree Nelson, has been found. REPORTER: Nelson had gone missing on Monday while skiing down Manaslu, the eighth-highest peak in the world. A highline drop from a helicopter was reportedly used to retrieve her body from Manaslu, which was then taken to Kathmandu. Nelson was sponsored by The North Face, which in a statement remarked that they had lost their hero, mentor, and their friend. A strange moment for President Biden at the White House's Conference on Hunger, Food, and Nutrition. The President was naming members of Congress involved in the issue, but one specifically raised eyebrows-- - Representative-- Jackie, are you here? Where's Jackie? I think she was-- she was going to be here. REPORTER: The President was referring to late Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, who died last month in a car accident. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attempted to explain what happened, referencing plans to honor the late Congresswoman at the White House this week. - She was on his mind. She was on top of mind for the President. REPORTER: Veteran journalist Katie Couric says she's been diagnosed with breast cancer. In an article posted on her website, Couric writes that her cancer is highly treatable, and that she's already had a lumpectomy and has completed radiation treatment. REPORTER: She also wrote she was six months late for a mammogram at the time, and that she shuddered to think what might have happened if she put it on longer. REPORTER: Couric is now stressing the importance of early detection, and is urging people to get their annual mammogram. REPORTER: Those beloved Happy Meals from McDonald's no longer just for kids-- the franchise has announced a new line of boxed meals aimed toward adults in a limited-edition collaboration with Cactus Plant Flea Market. Similar to the classic Happy Meal, the new Cactus Plant Flea Market box comes with a choice of a Big Mac or a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, along with fries and a drink. And yes, you do, in fact, get a toy. Customers could find classic McDonald's characters like Grimace, Hamburglar, or Birdie, as well as a new cactus buddy. The new meals are available beginning October 3. - Now, to the war in Ukraine and the ongoing exodus from Russia spurred by Vladimir Putin's military callup. Tonight, the US embassy is telling all Americans in Russia with dual citizenship to leave, warning that Russia may stop dual citizens holding US passports from leaving the country, and even conscript them into the military. Meanwhile, the hours-long lines continue at Russia's border with Georgia, and that's where ABC's Britt Clennett reports from tonight, as fighting-age men try to make their way out. BRITT CLENNETT: With a step across the border, fear turning into relief. Thousands of military-aged Russian men finally reaching the Georgian checkpoint, after a harrowing trek from their home towns-- all to avoid being sent to fight in Putin's war in Ukraine. All these people have been on a days-long journey from Russia. They say they were checked at the border to make sure they weren't on a draft list. But they say they don't have any plans. They just needed to get out. They're exhausted. They're relieved. And one person I spoke to said that he doesn't want to have to kill anyone or be killed himself. The crush to leave, so great in parts, that it can be seen by satellite, with reports that people are waiting up to 50 hours in their cars to cross over. Many, like Dmitri, traveling part of the journey on foot. The 27-year-old spent seven days trying to escape from his hometown in Central Russia. [SIGHS] - Sorry. - You really are exhausted. Yeah. He's out of breath and sunburnt from two days of walking. But he says he made the right choice to leave. - I don't want to kill people, and I don't want to be killed. I don't need this war. I don't support Putin. BRITT CLENNETT: Dmitri so desperate to leave after Putin's announcement. His wife is still in Russia, but is joining him when she can. - As we see it right now, this is the only option for us. BRITT CLENNETT: Alexander from Moscow, also leaving his life behind. Why did you decide that you needed to get out of Russia? - Because I don't like despot corruption, Russian president. - You don't like Putin. - Yes. - And you don't support the war? - No. - Why? - This isn't normal for any human. BRITT CLENNETT: Since Putin announced a new mobilization drive last week that could enlist up to 300,000 Russians, an estimated 260,000 have left Russia, according to Western officials. Up to 100,000 estimated to have crossed into Georgia alone, and not everyone's welcoming Russians with open arms. GIGA LEMONJAVA: The Georgian side has no precise information who those individuals are and what their real intention is while arriving in Georgia. We believe that such kind of migration from Russia in Georgia poses an imminent threat to Georgia's national security, Georgia's economy, and stability in general. BRITT CLENNETT: Airplane ticket prices out of Russia also skyrocketing-- all flights out of Moscow now sold out, as some Russians fear nearby borders could be closed. Today, the US also urging all dual US-Russian citizens to leave, and telling Russians fleeing the draft that they are welcome to apply for asylum. As limited options still remain to get out of the country, anti-war sentiment is growing. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] BRITT CLENNETT: Protests again today against mobilization across the country-- [CROWD YELLING] --hundreds arrested. But out of the Russian propaganda machine, unsurprisingly, a far rosier picture. This video showing the first round of reservists-- some smiling-- as they're sent off to the front lines. Russia now saying they are taking note of who leaves, reports of border controls also tightening up. Some will say, why didn't you leave before? Or why-- you know, some Ukrainians will say, why don't you protest more. - I don't know. People in my country are just too scared to go to protest. I would like to say, all people from Russia, just don't be afraid, but decision is yours. It means a lot of risk. BRITT CLENNETT: But fears at home and in Ukraine only growing, with Russia expected to annex four Ukrainian territories in the coming days. Ukrainian men in the occupied areas also expected to be called up to fight against their own people. - Our thanks to Britt for that. The White House is calling the annexation move by Putin fraudulent and illegal, saying that more sanctions will come, while also announcing a new $1 billion package of weapons and equipment to Ukraine. Now, to a growing outrage after a disturbing dashcam video showed the moment a train slammed into a police cruiser with a young woman left handcuffed inside. Her attorney is now speaking out. ABC's TJ Holmes has the details. TJ HOLMES: The woman who survived this horrific train crash while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser is now demanding justice. OFFICER: Dispatch 12346, [INAUDIBLE] medical emergency. The suspect was in the vehicle that was hit by the train. TJ HOLMES: Authorities say 20-year-old Yareni Rios-Gonzalez was being detained for an alleged road rage incident. The police cruiser she was placed in was parked on active train tracks. The police cruiser is smashed and thrown upon impact. - It's incredibly dangerous to park on train tracks. That should have just never happened. TJ HOLMES: According to her attorney, the September 2016 incident left Rios-Gonzalez with numerous injuries. PAUL WILKINSON: She woke up in the hospital. She has a fractured tibia, a broken arm. She had nine broken ribs. TJ HOLMES: The edited 8-minute video released by police begins at 7:49 at night, with police pulling over Rios-Gonzalez, stopping her and leaving the police cruiser on the tracks. - Turn around! Turn around! Put your hands up higher! TJ HOLMES: 7:51, with guns drawn, police order her out of her vehicle. - Keep coming back! Keep coming back to the sound of my voice! TJ HOLMES: A minute later, she's handcuffed. YARENI RIOS-GONZALEZ: What are you doing? OFFICER: We're taking you to the car. TJ HOLMES: She's put in the back of that police cruiser that the officer had parked on the tracks during the stop. YARENI RIOS-GONZALEZ: Ma'am, what's going on? OFFICER: I'll tell you in a second. Have a seat. YARENI RIOS-GONZALEZ: I'm so confused. TJ HOLMES: While Rios-Gonzalez waits in the back, handcuffed, the officers return to search her vehicle. The train can be heard approaching. OFFICER: So she could have tossed something back. - Tossed it out the window? OFFICER: She could have, out of that window, but-- TJ HOLMES: The train horn eventually catches the officer's attention. - No, that's a-- TJ HOLMES: One officer looks back and runs. OFFICER: [INAUDIBLE] track! OFFICER: Stay back! [TRAIN WHISTLING] TJ HOLMES: The cruiser is hit, Rios-Gonzales still handcuffed inside. The officers then call for help and rush to the car. - She noticed the train horn and the train whistle, and started to struggle. She tried frantically to get the officers' attention. TJ HOLMES: The Colorado Bureau of Investigation tells ABC News it's looking into the actions of police. One Platteville Police Department officer is now on administrative leave. - When police take someone, we call it "into custody." It's your charge to make sure that they're safe, and they failed. - Our thanks to TJ for that. Tonight, two companies claim their new drug slows the progress of Alzheimer's disease and reduces cognitive decline by 27%, when compared to a placebo. Now, the FDA is weighing authorization. ABC's Erielle Reshef has more on this promising medical news. ERIELLE RESHEF: Tonight, that promising step forward in the fight against Alzheimer's-- makers of the drug, Lecanemab, report their treatment significantly slowed cognitive and functional decline by 27%, compared to placebo, in a trial of nearly 1,800 patients in the early stage of the disease. These findings have yet to be peer-reviewed, but experts say they appear to be encouraging. LEAH CROLL: I will say that this drug is probably not going to be a huge, groundbreaking gamechanger, but it could very well be an important incremental change in the way we treat Alzheimer's and the options we have for these patients. ERIELLE RESHEF: Brain images showed some patients had swelling and bleeding from the new drug, but those rarely caused any symptoms. The new trial, the latest evidence that clearing the buildup of abnormal proteins in the brain could delay the disease. The Alzheimer's Association says these are the most encouraging results to date. Six million Americans are living with Alzheimer's right now-- that number predicted to more than double by 2050. Linsey, the drugmakers will release more data in November. The FDA, already reviewing their application for approval . A decision is expected in January. Linsey. LINSEY DAVIS: Promising news indeed, Erielle. Thank you. More than 33 million people live in the country of Ghana, which gained independence from colonial rule 65 years ago. And recently, an influx of Black Americans have moved there to connect with their history. Our own Robin Roberts went to Ghana to learn more and connect with one of the stars of the highly anticipated Black Panther sequel. [DRUMMING, SINGING] ROBIN ROBERTS: Ghana, with its echoing drumbeats, rich rainforest, expansive beaches, and deep-rooted history-- [MUSIC PLAYING] --is now ready to take center stage. - Tonight, the Global Citizen Festival comes to Ghana for the very first time! ROBIN ROBERTS: Host, Danai Gurira, welcoming 20,000 fans in person, audiences tuning in worldwide. The Global Citizen Festival-- why was it important for you to take part? DANAI GURIRA: It's always been about celebrating activists who are doing amazing things across the globe, the gathering of even the talent that was here-- there's been so much amazing attention to African artists. - Could it be something to do with Black Panther? Why do you feel it had such an impact? DANAI GURIRA: The world was ready to really take in Africa in a whole new way, and in a way that shows our specificity, our excellence, our diversity, our coolness, you know? And it really gave an esteem to the continent and an attention from the world that I think it was ready for. ROBIN ROBERTS: It's Ghana's mission to thrive as a cultural hub and tourist destination, but also as a place to call home. - I'm happy here. I feel a sense of alignment. I feel a sense of fulfillment. I think, just as a Black American coming to Ghana, it's a return home. ROBIN ROBERTS: An estimated 5,000 Black Americans have relocated to Ghana over the past two years. - To Ghana. ROBIN ROBERTS: Including podcast host, Demetria L. Lucas, who says she feels the excitement, a possibility. DEMETRIA L. LUCAS: You see that there's cranes in the sky, literally, like they're building the city. And for me, as an artist, like, I can feel the energy. I feel like I'm living in the middle of a Renaissance. ROBIN ROBERTS: And a Renaissance is exactly what African leaders on Cape Coast hope to create. - We are looking at Africa Without Borders. It's happening. The future is Africa. - This never gets old. ROBIN ROBERTS: Influenced in part by the success of Marvel's Black Panther, proposals like Wakanda Won, envisioning bustling futuristic cities that honor the history and embrace what's to come. - We want to make sure Wakanda Won city is futuristic. It's a sustainable energy city. There's hope for change. And we have to teach our children to empower people using technology. ROBIN ROBERTS: That innovation is something artist David Alabo is also exploring. - It's really cool to look at these names. ROBIN ROBERTS: Two artists sharing their love for culture. - Tell me about this astounding piece of art. DAVID ALABO: I was thinking about, how can I reinterpret classic tarot cards in an African perspective? And obviously, like, I had to put the Black Panther in, because those movies have been a massive inspiration for me. ROBIN ROBERTS: Here at the newly-built Freedom Skate Park, creativity flows through the space, designed to connect the young people of Accra to the arts. - Talk to me a little bit about this wall. - This wall includes all the names of everybody who has helped create this place, from Virgil Abloh, may he rest in peace-- we got Kendrick Lamar here the other month. And obviously, you here-- it inspires us when you come and you see what we are trying to do as well. - Our thanks to Robin for that. And before we go tonight, the image of the day-- sailboats anchored in Robert's Bay in Venice, Florida, are blown sideways as Hurricane Ian approach the West Coast of Florida today, the powerful storm wreaking havoc on the state as it now marches north. And that is our show for this hour. Be sure to stay tuned to ABC News Live for more context and analysis of the day's top stories. Thanks so much for streaming with us. Coming up in the next hour-- we're staying on top of a few things. Hurricane Ian is bearing down on Florida, bringing catastrophic storm surge, torrential rain, and strong winds. We have team coverage of conditions in the state as the powerful storm marches inland. Hi there. I'm Linsey Davis. Thanks so much for streaming with us. We'll have full coverage on that monster Hurricane Ian in a moment. But first, we're monitoring several developments here at ABC News at this hour. The survivors of the 4th of July parade mass shooting are suing gun manufacturer, Smith & Wesson, and the shooter's father. Seven people were killed, and 48 others injured in the attack. Court documents filed today claim that Smith & Wesson has, quote, "deceptively and unfairly marketed its assault rifles in a way designed to appeal to the impulsive risk-taking tendencies of civilian adolescent and post-adolescent males." The lawsuit says the shooter's father is responsible, because he sponsored the shooter's state firearm card. R&B singer R. Kelly has been ordered to pay at least $300,000 in restitution to two victims of his sex-trafficking and racketeering scheme. Both women testified in his trial and claim the disgraced artist knowingly gave them herpes. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison in June after a jury convicted him of racketeering and other charges. Los Angeles Police identified a suspect and arrested two other people in connection with the fatal shooting of rapper PNB Rock. The suspects' relationships to each other are not known. PNB was shot to death while eating at a restaurant with his girlfriend earlier this month. Now, to Ian's wrath, the most powerful hurricane to make landfall from the Gulf of Mexico since 2005. It is pounding Florida tonight with a catastrophic storm surge, potentially historic rain, and up to 150-mile-per-hour winds. All this has left communities underwater, residents in need of rescue, and at least a million customers without power. It is going to be a long night ahead in Florida. We have team coverage. Senior meteorologist Rob Marciano reports from St. Petersburg, Florida. ROB MARCIANO: Tonight-- entire buildings swept away, families trapped by floodwaters, monstrous Hurricane Ian now lashing the Florida peninsula. MAN: Oh! ROB MARCIANO: Ian roaring onshore as a strong category four, with winds of 150 miles per hour. Official landfall-- 3:05 PM, Eastern Time. Hurricane Ian now making landfall, and the wind is just ripping across Tampa Bay. Look at the action here on these waters. We've got to reverse surge, where the bottom of the bay is exposed in places that probably have never seen the light of day! At the same time, these huge swells on a normally calm bay, with big whitecaps, smashing into that jetty, which protects the airport. So you've got water that's exiting, and water that's piling up, and the power of the wind and water combined is relentless. Landfall coming after hours of intense wind. [SIREN WAILING] As Ian came closer, our Ginger Zee in Fort Myers broadcasting live in the eyewall. - We are in the eyewall of Hurricane Ian. That is the strongest part of the storm. You can see almost nothing behind me, but if you could, the eye is only about five miles to my west. Look at what's happening right here. We finally saw the winds start to shift. And we've got the surge starting to take over the pool here at our hotel. If you look a little further, there was a dock. There's a little house at the end of that dock that has been surrounded by the water. Surge here, anticipated anywhere from 12 to even 18 feet-- that's the type that takes cars, takes homes. It is not just life threatening. It is not survivable. ROB MARCIANO: Then, about an hour later-- - The storm is moving north of us, but we see these winds. And that little house that we were talking about all day has gone, succumbed to the storm surge. Now, the blue roof is all that's left floating in the water toward the building. - What you need to be doing right now is getting away from walls and windows. Treat this like a tornado warning. ROB MARCIANO: Families trapped by the storm surge. - Then you're on the second floor already? - Yeah, we're all-- - It's six of us in here. ROB MARCIANO: Our affiliate, WZVN, FaceTiming with a group in Fort Myers Beach. - There's about 15 feet of water now. - There's 15 feet of water, and it's still coming in? - Yeah. It's still steady rising, and the waves just keep pushing it through the windowsills. ROB MARCIANO: The fire department unable to reach them due to conditions, offering this advice. MAN (ON PHONE): They need to get as high as they can from the water, and try to ride out the storm. That's the best advice I have. ROB MARCIANO: AccuWeather capturing the eyewall piling water onto Pine Island, as the storm moved onshore. Naples Fire Station taking on water, the storm undergoing rapid intensification ahead of landfall, increasing the hurricane force wind field out 45 miles from the center. Hurricane hunters flying into Ian, knocked around by extreme turbulence. - There goes the beds! Holy cow! - Holy-- ROB MARCIANO: One hurricane hunter describing it as one of the roughest flights of his career, that he'd never experienced that much lateral turbulence or seen that much lightning. One of the most powerful hurricanes to ever make landfall in Florida-- now expected to cut across the state like a slowmoving buzzsaw. Orange County Fire trucks using loudspeakers to alert residents in this mobile home park. - An evacuation of all mobile homes is recommended. ROB MARCIANO: To seek shelter. The storm is coming. FEMA ready to respond as soon as it is safe. - We've pre-positioned quite a bit of equipment, so we can respond immediately. Once we know what the impacts are and what the additional needs are, we're just going to continue moving that equipment in. But I think that we are positioned really well to meet those immediate needs in the first few hours. ROB MARCIANO: President Biden speaking with Governor DeSantis, promising help. - We'll be there to help you clean up and rebuild, to help Florida get moving again. And we'll be there at every step of the way. That's my absolute commitment to the people of the state of Florida. - This is a really really, significant storm. It will be one of the storms people always remember when they think about Southwest Florida-- probably be the big one that they always remember. - Making quite an impression, for sure. Rob Marciano is with us once again in St. Petersburg. Rob, first off, just give us Ian's latest track. - Well, it's slow mover, Linsey. So it's got some real estate to get through before we're done with it. It has been downgraded to category three. You know, now, we're down to 100-- under 120 miles an hour. That's the good news, but obviously, the conditions are at least improving here. Want to go through some of these numbers real quick, Linsey, because these are impressive, and Governor DeSantis just mentioned that this is going to be a storm that everybody down here remembers. And these numbers are striking-- 128-mile-an-hour gusts in Punta Gorda, 132 in Port Charlotte, 126 Redfish Pass. And then, Sanibel and Naples, who just got crushed by Irma a couple of years ago-- they're in it as well. All right. The extreme wind warning has been pushed to the east inland. As you can see, the center of that spiral in the heaviest rainfall moving now across Central Florida. And the tornado watch remains in effect as well for the East Coast of Florida, from just north of West Palm Beach off the Space Coast, Cape Canaveral, Palm Coast, and includes Orlando, through at least 1:00 AM. They'll probably extend that at the very least to the North and East. And here's what it's going to look like with the radar and our wind gusts. Winds are going to gust over 50, 60, 70 miles an hour in some of these bigger cities, and the rain is going to be heavy, too, tomorrow morning. Jacksonville, Daytona-- going to see a strong storm surge up the Johns River, and parts of Georgia and the Carolinas, too. So what happens after this eventually gets through Florida. And hopefully, it weakens to a tropical storm. Friday, we're looking at it to traverse the coastline up towards South Carolina, making another landfall there as a strong tropical storm. So we're not done with this yet for sure. And I'm afraid when we wake up tomorrow, Linsey, and we start to see the pictures coming out of Fort Myers, Naples, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, it's-- given what this storm had and some of the pictures we've already seen, it's just going to be sheer destruction, and lives torn up. It's going to be heartbreaking stuff and a long road to recovery yet again, for parts of Florida. Linsey. - And Rob, you've covered so many hurricanes over the years. Is this period right now, when the storm starts to weaken slightly, people let down their guards, particularly dangerous? - It is. I mean, we all do-- I do it. Once the storm reaches a peak, and then makes landfall, starts to weaken, you just start to think, Oh, OK, this thing's over. That's just human nature. But when you start off with a strong category four, you know, that's a high bar to start with. So this one is obviously not letting up here. And overnight, in the dark, these sort of winds, heavy rain, you're going to see trees coming down. We're going to see more power outages. We're going to see very dangerous conditions overnight, tonight, and through the day tomorrow. So yeah, important for people not to let their guard down, but it's tough to scream that from the hilltops, just hopefully, that people make it through the night safely, Linsey. - Right. And we are anticipating you will be able to get to safety very soon now. Rob, thank you so much, as always. While the impact of the hurricane is always of concern, the deadliest aspect is flooding caused by storm surge. One of the areas bracing for storm surges of more than 15 feet is Fort Myers, Florida. ABC's Victor Oquendo is there for us tonight. VICTOR OQUENDO: The water rushing into Fort Myers, swamping roads, the tops of cars still visible. But a little more than an hour later, those same cars completely submerged-- water now reaching treetops and roofs. Let's give you a view from our vantage point. That's the storm surge. That's coming right onshore here, those waves, just incredibly powerful. You can't even make it out right now, but there is a pool directly underneath all of this. Now, it is covered in all that debris. You see some floating doors there. VICTOR OQUENDO: This map, showing how much of the area has been flooded by storm surge, with the hurricane still raging. Christopher Garcia has lived in Naples for nearly 30 years, recording this video from his front door today. - That house halfway underwater-- there goes my car, floating away. VICTOR OQUENDO: Inland flooding, the deadliest component of hurricanes for the past 30 years-- hospitals in the area prepared for the worst, several now on lockdown, their doors shut to protect patients and staff until the storm passes. Backup generators on hand to continue vital services with the power out. And Linsey, I spoke with the main hospital system in this area, Lee Health. They tell me that their biggest concerns are maintaining power, water, and oxygen. The search is starting to slowly recede. But you see those waves behind me. There's still a long way to go. Linsey. LINSEY DAVIS: Victor, thank you. And now, we want to welcome Jamie Rhome, Acting Director of the National Hurricane Center. Jamie, thank you so much for joining us. The hurricane has made landfall and has left Southwest Florida. But what kind of dangers can a hurricane bring as it leaves an area? - As it moves across the Central Florida peninsula here, you can see that this heavy band of precipitation-- we're actually getting estimates of 4 to 5 inches of rain per hour. That's an astonishing rate, likely producing flash-flooding, as the center sort of crawls across the Florida peninsula. LINSEY DAVIS: And Southwest Florida's experiencing storm surge. We've been talking about that all night. How long could those last? - Probably, it's until the center moves away. What happens is when the water gets shoved that far inland, it kind of gets stuck for a little while, especially as the flow wraps around the hurricane and just sort of holds it in there. So it might be tomorrow before some of that water recedes. - And Hurricane Ian is now making its way across Florida. What can cities like Jacksonville expect? - A heavy rain and wind as the center-- let's see if we could switch images here. Bear with me. As the center sort of marches across the state of Florida and sort of moves back, hooks back like this, you're going to get heavy rain, and then the onshore flow-- the onshore flow wrapping around this system is going to shove water into the St. Johns River, almost like backing it up, if you will, and produce flooding in that area. LINSEY DAVIS: And Hurricane Ian made landfall as a category four. How does Hurricane Ian compared to other storms that have hit that region in recent years? - Well, the most recent to make landfall in that location would be Hurricane Charley, but Charley was a totally different storm. First and foremost, it was very small, a very small storm, whereas Ian is massive, huge storm. The other thing is, Charley sort of ripped across the state at a very quick pace, whereas Ian is just crawling slowly across the state. LINSEY DAVIS: And what are you watching most closely as the storm moves across Florida? - Right now, watching this heavy flooding potential that's going to develop along into the north of the track, the I-4 corridor-- you dump that much rain, saturate the soils, and then put wind-- the trees are going to come down. You're going to have massive power outages through the night. LINSEY DAVIS: And what's your biggest concern in the coming hours? I know you were just talking about that flooding, but is that the most potential harmful aspect of this? - My biggest fear is, in the morning, people have gone all night suffering through these conditions with no power, no lights-- they're going to get stir-crazy in the morning and start to wander around. And we often see huge loss of life after hurricanes, with people wandering around after the storm. - James Rhome, we thank you so much. Really appreciate your insight. Now, ABC News meteorologist Greg Dutra is back with us. Greg, talk about just how big this hurricane is, and how it will continue to impact other states. - Well, it's massive. And as he said, when you compare it to Charley, which a lot of people were doing before landfall, and actually the reality of Ian, it is massive. Hurricane warnings stretch from Daytona all the way South of Melbourne. When you actually account for the amount of coastline that has either a tropical storm warning or a hurricane warning, you're at 8,000 miles of coastland. It is an exceptionally long area, and we will continue to see not only the high winds, but also the storm surge, even after this gets past Florida. You're probably saying, wait, wait a second. We're just at Florida. Well, the surge is going to start to subside there for a little bit, but there are still portions of Florida and the Atlantic coast that are going to see significant storm surges. Areas that I'm concerned about-- will the Johns River and Jacksonville-- that thing can't take an extra foot or two worth of surge before there's massive flooding. It's going to get about three to six feet of surge-- Savannah, Charleston, which you know is severely affected by flash flooding, even during an inch or so of thunderstorm rainfall-- and Linsey, that's the other problem-- will be the rain. LINSEY DAVIS: And talk about the storm surge and the potential for historic rain in some places. - Oh, that's right the. Storm surge-- and then you have to add on that rainfall. So adding that rainfall on is a whole other level. As I said, Charleston does not handle severe thunderstorms very well. I've been there for an inch or two inches' worth of rainfall. All of downtown floods. And granted, they've done some good jobs mitigating that in recent history, but they're going to see 5 to 10 inches of rain. So will Savannah, so will Brunswick, so will Jacksonville. Again, talking about the Johns River there, that does not handle storm surge. Well, we'll dump rainfall on top of that. And then, of course, we're about halfway there now, but another possible foot or more of rainfall as this thing extends up to Orlando, and you have soil that is saturated, you have winds that are relentless, and you have more trees that will come down. And as we had talked about, it's the looky loos. Tomorrow morning, or the folks that maybe we haven't even seen cell phone video from because they lost service early in-- that are going to be the pictures that will be the most jawdropping tomorrow. I think we're going to see some pretty wild and heartbreaking video, Linsey. - Yeah, it seems like that's the expectation. Greg, thank you so much for being with us again. And joining us now is Marco Island City manager, Michael McNees. Michael, thank you so much for joining us. How are things so far in Marco Island? - Well, I'd say we're probably the first that have started to come out the other end of Ian's effects. We have actually begun to see-- as of the high tide we had in the 3:00 hour, we've begun to see some subsidence in the storm surge. We didn't have the front-end winds that some of our neighbors to the north had. So we didn't get much beyond tropical storm-force winds. So from an overall big-picture standpoint, we're in pretty good shape on Marco Island. We have a high tide coming before morning-- again, that we're concerned about-- that there may be more surge. But with winds weakening, and some subsidence in the water that we've had, which has been really substantial, we're feeling a lot better about things than we were maybe 12 hours ago. - Well, that's certainly some positive news. And you issued a mandatory evacuation to the entire island. Where are you located right now? - I'm on Marco Island. We, the responders, stay here. We can't really do what we have to do if we're not here, so we have a fairly secure facility here in our Police Department, and we're working out of it. - And have you heard any reports from police and Fire Rescue regarding calls for help from people who didn't heed the warnings and didn't evacuate for whatever reason? - Yes, we've heard from a number of people throughout the day, and have responded to some specific circumstances where people needed assistance. And we were really limited in where we could go. And most of our roads were flooded, and so-- but we were able to help some folks who found themselves in bad circumstances, and provide refuge for some people. And so we've been in that pretty much all afternoon-- has been the mode that we've been in, trying to help the people that we could, and keep communication going as long as we could about exactly what was happening. - For the most part, though, do you think that people did evacuate after you asked them to? - Well, I don't have any hard count, but I would say that the majority of people probably did not evacuate, and we'll know more about that probably as we go forward. But I think people learned a lot today, in moving up the coast, and there are certainly some hard lessons. But people on Marco Island-- most of them have been through this before. They were very well-prepared, and so we're waiting to find out how we look when daylight rolls around tomorrow, but I hope that we're in good shape. - And when daylight rolls around tomorrow, what's the first order of business as far as recovery? - Well, we start to get out as soon as we can to clear the roads. And first, we have to assess the water, and where are the roads closed, and where do we need to clear debris. We immediately start getting damage assessment teams out, and getting a handle on just exactly what the situation is. We certainly want to help the Lee County Electric get the power up, and so we need to provide access for them to the places they need to go. And first and foremost, we see, if the storm surge has subsided enough, that our streets will be open. And then, we start to attack it, piece by piece. And I would echo also, we would like for people to stay home, let us make sure everything's safe-- so let us get the roads cleared, and we'll communicate. But we're agreeing with your previous guess. We don't need people out trying to sightsee and get [INAUDIBLE] hazard out there right now. - And lastly, Mayor, how does this hurricane compared to Hurricane Irma back in 2017? - Well, I wasn't here for Irma. But what I know about it is, I think the simple analysis would be less wind and more water. Irma took a lot of roofs on Marco Island, and I don't know that we have that much of that kind of damage here. As I said, we missed the intense winds on the front end of the storm, but we got a lot more water. And so it has affected us in a very different way. We certainly have some houses with flooding damage, and I look really forward to being able to assess that more thoroughly in the morning. - Marco Island City Manager Michael McNees, we thank you so much. Glad to see, at least for now, it seems that for the most part, things have remained intact. - Yes, things definitely look better. Thank you for having me. - And still to come, the mass exodus continues from Russia as fighting-age men flee from Putin's military callup. We'll have the latest. And Iran moves to strike Kurdish opposition groups as it grapples with ongoing protests across the country. We'll be right back. Welcome back. We're tracking several headlines around the world. Iran's Revolutionary Guards attacked Iranian Kurdish opposition groups in northern Iraq today. Iran has blamed such groups for political protests currently shaking Iran. Iraq officials say the missile and drone attacks killed at least nine people and wounded 32 others, but they say those numbers are likely to rise. Iranian officials vow to continue striking the region. The Bank of England is taking emergency action to try to stabilize markets after the government's new fiscal plan sent borrowing costs soaring and the British pound sinking to record lows. The bank plans to purchase 65 pounds billion in government bonds in the coming weeks. They said the extraordinary measure is necessary to prevent a meltdown in the pension sector and shore up the country's financial stability. Switzerland's glaciers lost 6% of their volume this year. That's the fastest melt rate since monitoring began more than 100 years ago. The Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network Report says the heavy losses are the result of exceptionally low winter snowfall and back-to-back summer heat waves. Extreme melt has revealed rock that was buried for millennia, bodies of lost climbers, and even a plane that crashed decades ago. Next, to the other major headline this evening-- the US is urging all dual citizen Americans living in Russia to get out. They are warning them that being a citizen of the US may not help avoid getting drafted for the war. This as the Pentagon is promising more aid to Ukraine. ABC's chief international correspondent Ian Pannell has the latest from Ukraine. IAN PANNELL: Tonight, all Americans living in Russia, warned to leave immediately amid rapidly rising tensions over the war in Ukraine. The US embassy issuing an alert, warning that Russia may stop dual citizens holding US passports from leaving the country, and even conscript them into the military. Meanwhile, the exodus over Putin's military draft is growing. Hundreds of thousands have fled across Russia's borders. ABC's Britt Clennett is at the crossing into Georgia. - All these people behind me have been on a days-long journey from Russia. They say that they don't have any plans, but they just needed to get out. Many of them are relieved. They are exhausted. But they say they had no choice. IAN PANNELL: Dimitri spent seven days trying to escape Russia, breathless from two days on foot crossing into Georgia. - I don't want to kill people, and I don't want to be killed. I don't need this war. I don't support Putin. IAN PANNELL: And tensions escalating over a bogus referendum in occupied parts of Ukraine-- Putin's expected to use the results to declare the regions are now part of Russia, as early as this Friday. Tonight, the White House calling it an illegal move that they'll never recognize, saying more sanctions are coming, and announcing a $1 billion package of weapons and equipment for Ukraine. The administration also adding its voice to growing accusations that the leaks that appeared in two gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea were apparent sabotage. Linsey, the administration calling this latest annexation move by Russia outrageous and fraudulent. Interestingly, in this new aid package they've announced are 18 new HIMARS rocket systems. Remember, these are the American weapons that have already made such a big difference on the battlefield. Linsey. LINSEY DAVIS: Ian, thank you. And still to come-- we'll have one more look at Hurricane Ian's path of destruction. We're back in 90 seconds. Welcome back, everyone. We continue, of course, to track the path and destruction of Hurricane Ian in Florida. ABC's Morgan Norwood is in Tampa for us. Morgan, I know you are really going through there. We can see the wind just whipping right behind you. What are you seeing there in Tampa, experiencing, and are you getting a sense that that many people stayed and they're trying to ride this out? - Yeah, Linsey. We've really been taking a beating all day, and I honestly think that though the storm has slightly weakened, now a category three, it's almost intensified, at least in terms of the conditions. There have been times that I've literally had to brace myself for some pretty strong gusts. And I mean, if you look just behind me, it is really tearing these palm trees to shreds. We've seen branches fly. We've seen tree trunks scattered, and debris as well. So that is what we are experiencing here in Tampa. But as far as whether people are hunkering down and have heeded those warnings, you know, you've got to keep in mind. Tampa was originally set for the bull's eye of this storm. We know that the storm did hit further south, Southwest Florida taking the brunt of that impact. Doesn't necessarily mean that Tampa is out of the woods just yet. I mean, just look at the conditions that we are dealing with here. But it does mean that folks here heeded those warnings. I mean, we saw it for ourselves. We saw them hit the grocery stores. We saw them hit the gas stations. We saw that mass exodus of people on the highways and the bridges, just inching to get to safety. And for those who did not, you know, we've heard the Governor say all day long and stress this. You need to hunker down, because there are shelter-in-place orders, especially for in those danger zones. - And really quickly, before we let you go, we know storm surge is the biggest concern, but inland areas could obviously get slammed as well. - Yeah, and I heard Greg mention this as well, and our chief meteorologist Ginger Zee, also Rob Marciano talk about the ability for this storm to literally just creep up the state of Florida here and just kind of linger around here for at least 47 hours. So that means it's going to dump torrential rainfall, and I think I heard up to 2 feet on Orlando. It's not just that the flooding is going to be an issue here. This is going to impact the disaster recovery and the immediate response to some of the conditions here. You can't put bucket trucks in the air if the winds are still whipping. You can't put bucket trucks in the air in terms of power lines and repairing those types of things, if this storm is still happening. So unfortunately, folks here in Florida, and even maybe the surrounding states, are going to be dealing with this for quite some time, Linsey. - All right, Morgan Norwood, stay safe. Our thanks to you. And that is our show for tonight. Be sure to stay tuned to ABC News Live for more context and analysis of the day's top stories. I'm Linsey Davis. Thanks so much for streaming with us. Have a great night.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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