A day after making landfall in Florida, Hurricane Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm early Thursday, but it regained strength and is now a hurricane again as it approaches the South Carolina coast.
According to the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center, Ian’s maximum sustained winds have increased to 75 mph, just above the minimum for hurricane strength. The Category 1 storm, now located 240 miles south of Charleston, S.C., could "strengthen a little" before it makes landfall in South Carolina.
The current forecast track has Ian making landfall somewhere between Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach on Friday afternoon.
The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia have already declared states of emergency.
The National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning for South Carolina and urged coastal residents to “urgently complete efforts to protect life and property” and to have “food, water, cash, fuel and medications” for three or more days.
Hurricane Ian, which tore across Cuba earlier this week, made landfall in southwest Florida Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 storm, with maximum sustained winds near 150 mph.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday that the storm surge that came with it was “basically a 500-year flood event.”
“We’ve never seen a flood event like this,” he said during a news briefing in Tallahassee. “We’ve never seen a storm surge of this magnitude.”
More than 2.5 million people across the state were without power as search and rescue teams and first responders assessed the damage.