ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Hurricane Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa, Florida, as an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm caused catastrophic storm surge, winds and flooding over the Florida peninsula as it made landfall, the National Hurricane Center said.
The center of Ian moved over central Florida on Wednesday night and throughout Thursday morning and will emerge Thursday over the Atlantic.
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We will have live updates throughout the day on Thursday, Sept. 29.
8:47 p.m.: Duke Energy said that its estimated time of power restoration for customers in Pasco and Pinellas counties is no later than 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1.
"The estimated time of restoration indicates when we expect to have the majority of customers restored in that community – for customers that can receive power," including those that do not have extensive damage, the utility said in a statement.
An estimated restoration time for other counties will be provided by 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30.
Highlands, Polk and Volusia counties will get an estimated restoration time no later than 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30.
"Strong winds and heavy rainfall continue to impede the company’s ability to restore power, complete damage assessment and provide estimated times of restoration in some areas," Duke Energy said.
7:38 p.m. Tactical first-in teams in Sarasota County are out assessing emergency routes for first responders and will continue until all emergency routes are open.
All North Port residents are asked to boil their water before drinking for the next three days. Many roads in the city are flooded and impassible. All city offices are closed until Friday, and city phone lines are down.
Also, the team at the Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport is working to assess damages and make the appropriate repairs.
7:31 p.m. Gov. Ron DeSantis said first responders including the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard, Urban Search and Rescue Teams and other agencies have conducted more than 700 rescues in Lee and Charlotte counties.
6:34 p.m. The city of St. Petersburg will begin collecting debris from residential homes on Oct. 3, the city said in a news release.
Only green vegetation will be collected. Leave the items on the edge of your property line closest to the street. The city said there's no need to call and report the need for special sanitation pickup. There are also five debris brush sites drop-off locations that will be opened from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Sept. 30 through Oct. 8.
5:44 p.m. Owners of the Buccaneers, the Glazer family, announced they will donate $1 million to help relief efforts for Hurricane Ian.
"The donation will be allocated to organizations that are providing support to those who have been most impacted by the storm in Southwest Florida and throughout the state," the team said in a news release.
5:13 p.m. Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady announces on Twitter he is donating to the Florida Disaster Fund to help Floridians affected by Hurricane Ian. He says he hopes "the rest of the NFL family in [Florida] will follow suit" with donations.
5:07 p.m. Tampa VA to resume normal operational hours Friday, Sept. 30 after determining it's safe to reopen the main hospital and all clinic locations.
5 p.m. City of St. Petersburg reopens St. Pete Pier, Marina, Albert Whitted Airport and The Coliseum.
All parks and recreation facilities will be opening Monday, Oct. 3 with normal programming and operating hours.
4:33 p.m. The Treasure Island Fire Rescue is sending two firefighter/paramedics down to Naples with a stroke team of "ambubusses" from the region to evacuate flooded hospitals and nursing homes impacted by Hurricane Ian.
4:26 p.m. AdventHealth North Pinellas' main hospital emergency department in Tarpon Springs will return to providing emergency care at 7 p.m. Thursday.
4:03 p.m. Florida homeowners and renters in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties who were affected by Hurricane Ian can apply for FEMA disaster assistance.
People can apply for assistance by clicking here, calling 800-621-3362 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. or using the FEMA mobile app.
3:55 p.m. Waste Management in Lakeland will resume service on Friday, Sept. 30.
3:50 p.m. Hillsborough County leaders are asking residents living along the floodplains of the Little Manatee and Alafia rivers are urged to watch rising water levels outside their homes because of Hurricane Ian.
"If water is approaching residents' homes, Hillsborough County strongly recommends occupants evacuate immediately," leaders wrote in an email.
3:46 p.m. Waste Management services in Hillsborough County to resume Friday, Sept. 30. Residents will be able to have their carted garbage and recycling collected then.
3:35 p.m. Tampa International Airport to resume commercial operations Friday morning, airport leader announces.
3:22 p.m. The Citrus County Sheriff's Office Emergency Operations Center downgraded to a monitoring level 3 status. Citizen information lines are set to close at 5 p.m. Thursday.
3:17 p.m. As of noon, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg Emergency Room in Pinellas County reopened. All elective surgeries at the facilities will resume Friday, Sept. 30.
All outpatient clinics and physician offices are set to open Monday, Oct. 3.
3:15 p.m. Some Publix stores in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Lake, Hernando, Manatee and Osceola counties reopen.
2:55 p.m. The Tampa Bay History Center will reopen from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday with free admission.
2:48 p.m. The U.S. Postal Service has resumed delivery and retail services to much of Central and Southwest Florida.
This includes areas of Tampa, St. Pete, Brooksville, Auburndale, Dunedin, Clearwater, Winter Haven, Tarpon Springs, Indian Rocks Beach, Lithia, Madeira Beach, New Port Richey, Ruskin and Safety Harbor.
2:47 p.m. Walt Disney World said their teams will reopen the parks and Disney Springs “in a phased approach” starting Friday.
2:36 p.m. The IRS announced Thursday tax relief for people affected by Hurricane Ian. The relief includes postponing certain tax-filing and tax-payment deadlines for taxpayers who live or have a business in the disaster area.
2:28 p.m. TECO began restoring power Thursday for the thousands of customers affected by Hurricane Ian. In total, the storm knocked out power to 295,000 customers.
By 2 p.m., power was already restored to 37,000 customers or about 13 percent of those affected.
2:25 p.m. President Biden announces he is coming to Florida to support relief efforts and thank first responders.
"Everyone hard at work in Florida right now deserves our thanks," the president said. "When the conditions allow, I'm going to go to Florida to thank them personally so we don't get in thway."
1:51 p.m. The Hillsborough Transit Authority (HART) announced it will be offering fare-free on-demand service until 11 p.m. Regular service will resume tomorrow, Sept. 30.
1:50 p.m. The Wish Tree outside the Dalí Museum was knocked over by strong winds. The ficus tree is typically adorned with multi-colored wristbands containing handwritten wishes of museum guests.
The Wish Tree first took a hit in 2017 when Hurricane Irma swept through.
1:01 p.m. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that they will play Sunday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium as originally scheduled.
12:58 p.m. The sides of the Venice Theatre were completely torn off as Hurricane Ian swept through.
12:53 p.m. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge has reopened to traffic in both directions as wind speeds have dropped to 30 miles per hour. Drivers are still asked to use caution due to debris on the highway shoulders.
12:37 p.m. The city of Venice announced that no resident injuries have been reported in Country Club Estates, Venice Municipal Mobile Home Park, Ridgewood Mobile Home Park, Colonial Manor Mobile Park, Harbor Lights and Bay Indies.
However, debris and downed power lines have been reported in these communities. Power lines are being repaired, so anyone returning to their homes in these communities are asked to "proceed with extreme caution."
12:18 p.m. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium announced it will reopen at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 30. A $5 off ticket price will be available to guests through Sunday.
11:47 a.m. Pasco County leaders announced that all evacuation orders have been lifted as of Thursday morning.
11:41 a.m. Tampa International Airport will reopen at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 30.
11:35 a.m. Pinellas Park opened a vegetation debris drop-off at 6151 78th Avenue N. The site is only for Pinellas Park residents. The site will operate from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
11:15 a.m. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is working to keep the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.
11:00 a.m. St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) will reopen on Friday morning. The airport said it did not have significant damage to the airport terminal or parking lots. Passengers should monitor their airline's direct email and text communication for updated flight information.
10:47 a.m. Boaters are out on the Withlacoochee River in eastern Hernando County. 10 Tampa Bay reporter Sarah Rosario said local leaders are worried this area will flood.
10:30 a.m. Many traffic lights are out in Manatee County, and the sheriff's office is asking drivers to use intersections as four-way stops.
10:24 a.m. Hernando County has lifted its evacuation orders as of 10 a.m. Thursday morning.
10:20 a.m. Feeding Tampa Bay will bring food, water and other resources to the hardest hit sections of the Tampa Bay area. Distributions will begin on Friday morning.
10:16 a.m. Sarasota Police Department said there are trees and powerlines down throughout the city. Bridges in the city remain closed until water is turned back on.
9:56 a.m. The City of Bradenton is urging residents to conserve water due to the wastewater treatment plant being full and the possibility of overflowing.
9:42 a.m. Citrus County leaders announced that mandatory evacuations have been lifted as of 8 a.m. on Thursday.
9:40 a.m. HCA Florida Citrus Hospital is reopening its patient visitation at noon on Thursday.
9:23 a.m. Manatee and Hillsborough county leaders have lifted their respective mandatory evacuation orders.
9:06 a.m. A section of the Sanibel Causeway was damaged by Hurricane Ian on Wednesday night. The Tampa Bay Times first reported the incident on Thursday morning.
8:35 a.m. Tampa International Airport said damage assessments are underway at their facilities. The airport is working on coordinating its reopening plan with FAA, TSA and airlines. TPA said they will have an update on reopening plans later today.
8:07 a.m. Pinellas County announced on Thursday morning that the county's evacuation order will be lifted at 9 a.m. Thursday.
7:56 a.m. The City of Largo Emergency Management is coordinating post-storm recovery efforts. Updates on debris removal can be found on Largo.com/AftertheStorm.
7:51 a.m. The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) said the Skyway Bridge will remain closed following Hurricane Ian. Several trees and debris are blocking the roadway in the area.
7:50 a.m. The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) said the FL Turnpike is closed in both directions from mile marker 254 to 267 in Orange County due to significant flooding. The turnpike will remain closed until Tropical Storm Ian passes and the flooding subsides.
7:00 a.m. Polk County announced a debris hotline for residents that will open on Friday morning. Residents who have questions about debris are asked to call the Hurricane Ian Debris Hotline at 800-375-0844.
Polk County’s Waste & Recycling Division does not collect and dispose of debris from hurricanes.
6:45 a.m. 79 traffic signals in St. Petersburg are out throughout the city. The police department is asking drivers to use these intersections as 4-way stops as they work on restoring the traffic lights. Officials are asking residents to stay off the roads as crews work to clear power lines and trees off roadways.
6:30 a.m. Sarasota Bradenton International Airport has sustained damage inside and outside to its roof due to the impacts from Hurricane Ian, which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.
6:29 a.m. The Clearwater Police Department said all access to Clearwater Beach has been restored with no restrictions.
6:10 a.m. Access to the Pinellas Barrier Islands has reopened to the public, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. People can enter with or without a re-entry pass.
5:50 a.m. Polk Fire Rescue is reminding the community to use generators and gas grills in well-ventilated locations, outdoors, and away from doors and windows after a tragic incident of carbon monoxide poisoning. The fire department has not released details on the incident.
4:10 a.m. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) says it plans to resume its fixed route services starting Saturday, Oct. 1. PSTA will remain shut down throughout the day Thursday.
On Friday, PSTA says it will be helping the Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) evacuate people and provide essential medical transportation.
3:46 a.m. Tampa Internation Airport will remain closed on Thursday as crews inspect any damage. The airport is hoping to reopen on Friday but that depends on if they can get staffing back for the control towers, TSA and the airlines. Check the TPA website for updates.
3:40 a.m. The City of Venice Utilities Department has restored potable water service to the island of Venice. Residents should boil water or use bottled water for consumption purposes until the boil water advisory has been rescinded after a minimum of 72 hours.
3 a.m. Venice Fire Rescue said multiple mobile homes on N. Waterway in Country Club Estates in Venice were damaged after a fire in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Firefighters were able to control the fire around 2:50 a.m. on Thursday. No one was injured in the fire.
12 a.m. The Clearwater Aquarium said the CMA ride-crew checked in and spent time with the animals while Hurricane Ian hit the area on Wednesday.