PHILADELPHIA - As the storm moves slowly across Florida, residents have no choice but to stay inside. Many flights have been canceled or delayed, and airports in Tampa and Orlando are closed. Cruise lines are also postponing or canceling voyages. The hurricane is expected to bring up to 30 inches of rain to some areas of Florida and a storm surge of five to eight feet. It is expected to cross central Florida on Thursday and emerge into the Atlantic later Thursday.
Power outages and flooding have affected tens of thousands of homes, and many residents are still without electricity. In some areas, such as Fort Myers Beach, residential neighborhoods were nearly underwater, and trees fell onto power lines. Authorities have urged people in the storm's path to prepare for days of power outages.
As of Thursday, more than two million people in Florida were without power. The number of outages is expected to rise as the hurricane lands further south. Emergency responders are awaiting the storm to pass to assist those affected. Several counties have been under a state of emergency, and the airport in Jacksonville has closed. Thousands of businesses and homes in Florida have also shut down.
As the storm hit Florida, footage of the battery has been circulating on social media. A video posted by American meteorologist Mike Seidel shows the storm churning in Fort Myers. Many residents were without power and had to seek shelter. As darkness fell, it was unclear how badly the storm had impacted the area. Several buildings were damaged, and power lines were brought down. The local sheriff's office reported calls from people trapped inside their homes.