In Pictures: Hurricane Ian slams into Florida after killing two people in Cuba

In Pictures: Hurricane Ian slams into Florida after killing two people in Cuba
An airplane overturned by a likely tornado produced by the outer bands of Hurricane Ian at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines, Florida (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Hurricane Ian left a path of destruction in south-west Florida, trapping people in flooded homes, damaging the roof of a hospital intensive care unit and knocking out power to two million people before aiming for the Atlantic Coast.

One of the strongest hurricanes to hit the United States barrelled across the Florida peninsula overnight on Wednesday, threatening catastrophic flooding inland, the National Hurricane Centre warned.

Curious sightseers were able to walk in the receding waters of Tampa Bay due to the low tide and tremendous winds from Hurricane Ian (Willie J Allen Jnr/Orlando Sentinel/AP)

The centre’s 2am advisory said Ian was expected to emerge over Atlantic waters later on Thursday, with flooding rains continuing across central and northern Florida.

Brianna Renas, 17, inspects a fallen palm tree outside her home in Cape Coral after riding out Hurricane Ian with her family (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times/AP)

In Port Charlotte, along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the storm surge flooded a lower-level emergency department in a hospital even as fierce winds ripped away part of the roof from its intensive care unit (ITU), according to a doctor who works there.

Zuram Rodriguez surveys the damage around her mobile home in Davie, Florida (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/AP)

Hurricane Ian turned streets into rivers and blew down trees as it slammed into south-west Florida on Wednesday with 150mph winds, pushing a wall of storm surge.

Ian’s strength at landfall was category four and tied it for the fifth-strongest hurricane, when measured by wind speed, to strike the US.

David Dellinger with the National Weather Service surveys the damage from an apparent overnight tornado spawned from Hurricane Ian at Kings Point 55+ community in Delray Beach, Florida (Carline Jean/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/AP)

Ian dropped in strength by late Wednesday to category one, with 90mph winds as it moved overland.

Ivan Mendoza begins to repair damage at his mobile home in Davie, Florida (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/AP)

Still, storm surges as high as six feet were expected on the opposite side of the state, in north-east Florida, on Thursday.

The storm was about 55 miles south west of Orlando with maximum sustained winds of 75mph at 2am on Thursday, the Miami-based hurricane centre said.

An uprooted tree in a shopping centre car park in Cooper City, Florida (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Hurricane-force winds were expected across central Florida until later on Thursday with widespread, catastrophic flooding likely, the hurricane centre said.

A traveller rests on a couch at the Orlando Airport prior to the facility being closed ahead of Hurricane Ian (John Raoux/AP)

No deaths were reported in the United States from Ian by late Wednesday.

But a boat carrying Cuban migrants sank on Wednesday in stormy weather east of Key West.

People walk where water is receding out of Tampa Bay due to a negative surge ahead of Hurricane Ian (Steve Helber/AP)

The US coastguard initiated a search-and-rescue mission for 23 people and managed to find three survivors about two miles south of the Florida Keys, officials said.

King Point resident Maria Esturilho is escorted by her son Tony Esturilho as they leave behind the damage from an apparent overnight tornado spawned from Hurricane Ian at Kings Point 55+ community in Delray Beach, Florida (Carline Jean /South Florida Sun-

Four other Cubans swam to Stock Island, just east of Key West, the US Border Patrol said.

Air crews continued to search for possibly 20 remaining migrants.

A King Point resident looks through her broken window as a man boards up another broken window from an apparent overnight tornado spawned from Hurricane Ian at Kings Point 55+ community in Delray Beach, Florida (Carline Jean /South Florida Sun-Sentinel/AP

The storm previously tore into Cuba, killing two people and bringing down the country’s electrical grid.

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