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Ian regains hurricane strength as Category 1

South Carolina expected to see strong winds, storm surge Thursday night

Damages boats lie on the land and water in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Update as of 5 p.m. EDT Thursday

Ian regained hurricane strength as a Category 1 on Thursday evening with sustained wind speeds of 75 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The hurricane’s center currently sits off the coast of Georgia with a forward motion of 10 mph to the northeast. 

Coastal communities in Georgia and South Carolina should prepare for strong winds and storm surge Thursday night. Hurricane Ian is expected to make a secondary landfall on the southeast coast of South Carolina on Friday morning and then accelerate inland to the North Carolina/South Carolina border by Friday evening. 

Storm surges of up to 7 feet are forecast for the South Carolina coast with rainfall expected to range between 5 and 12 inches. 

The NHC will update with another advisory at 11 p.m. Thursday.

The National Hurricane Center issues a 5 p.m. forecast update for Hurricane Ian

Update as of 2 p.m. Thursday 

After causing historic flooding and devastating damage on the west coast of Florida, Ian on Thursday began moving up the Atlantic Coast, where the latest forecasts have the storm reforming as a hurricane before making landfall again. 

Ian will produce flooding, storm surge and strong winds across portions of northeast Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas in the coming days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The National Weather Service has issued tropical storm watches and flood warnings from northeast Florida to southern North Carolina.

Hurricane Ian made initial landfall Wednesday as a high-end Category 4 hurricane in Cayo Costa, Florida. The storm moved to the northeast, where it lost strength, becoming a tropical storm. As of 3 p.m. Thursday, widespread flooding was reported in St. Augustine, Florida., and 60 mph wind gusts were reported in Jacksonville Beach.  

The National Hurricane Center measured Ian early Thursday afternoon with sustained winds of 70 mph, just shy of a Category 1 hurricane, and moving north by northeast at 9 mph. 

Ian caused catastrophic damage along Florida’s west coast, bringing over 10 feet of storm surge into Fort Myers and surrounding areas. An estimated 2.6 million customers remained without power Thursday afternoon. 

The storm also dumped excessive rain for north central Florida along the corridor from Tampa to Orlando, with the National Weather Service in Orlando reporting a new 12-hour rainfall record. From 8 p.m. Wednesday to 8 a.m. Thursday, Orlando received 12.49 inches of rainfall, smashing the old record by several inches. 

Due to rainfall runoff, the Peace River outside of Tampa has reached major flood stage, forecast to crest at 20.5 feet Thursday.

Flood levels for the Peace River, just east of Tampa, FL.

The center of Ian will move off of the Florida coast and back over open water in the Atlantic Ocean. There is a chance of the storm restrengthening into a low-end Category 1 hurricane before making a secondary landfall north of Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina.

Vessel operations have been suspended at the Port of Savannah. The Georgia Ports Authority still planned for truck gates at the Garden City Terminal to be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and expected vessel service to resume Saturday morning. 

Jaxport in Jacksonville, Florida, remained closed Thursday. All marine terminals at the Port of Charleston will be closed Friday.  

Coastal Georgia and the Coastal Carolinas need to brace for rainfall between 5 inches and 10 inches, storm surge up to 5 feet, wind gusts above 70 mph and rip currents along the beaches, according to forecasters.  

Kaylee Nix

Kaylee Nix is a meteorologist and reporter for FreightWaves. She joined the company in November of 2020 after spending two years as a broadcast meteorologist for a local television channel in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Kaylee graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2018 and immediately made the Tennessee Valley her home. Kaylee creates written summaries of FreightWaves live podcasts and cultivates the social media for FreightWaves TV.