Eye on the Tropics

LIVE UPDATES: SunRail to resume service Monday

ORLANDO, Fla. — Hurricane Ian left significant wind and flooding damage across Central Florida on Wednesday and Thursday before weakening, then strengthening again into a hurricane as it heads to the Carolinas.

Floridians are now trying to recover from the storm. Read live updates below:



5:25 p.m. update:

SunRail said it will resume service Monday.

Service has been suspended since Tuesday because of Hurricane Ian.

Click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

5 p.m. update:

At 7 a.m. Friday, Duke Energy had more than 306,000 customers in Central Florida without power.

By 2 p.m. that number had fallen by 40,000.

Read: Need FEMA assistance? Here’s what to expect when you apply

As for the Orlando Utilities Commission, it has resolved three-quarters of its outages already.

Winds hampered crews from getting out and addressing the power outages Thursday. Much calmer conditions Friday helped speed up the process.

3 p.m. update:

Orange County

Orange County Fire Rescue Crews continue to assist with citizen rescues in areas that have been flooded due to Hurricane Ian.

Rescue crews used a new shallow-water boat Thursday to rescue two trapped in a submerged vehicle in Orange County.

Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputies were also out assisting with rescue efforts. Deputies rescued a woman Thursday whose car had been completely swept away by floodwaters near the Little Econ River.

Five deputies formed a human chain and used rope to save the woman from 10 feet of rushing water. The sheriff’s continues to urge people not to venture out unless it’s absolutely necessary.

2:30 p.m. update:

Florida officials fear the death toll from Hurricane Ian could substantially rise, given the wide swath of the state swamped by the storm.

After making landfall with some of the highest windspeeds for a hurricane over U.S. territory, the storm flooded areas on both of Florida’s coasts, tore homes from their slabs, demolished beachfront businesses and left more than 2 million people without power. At least nine people have been confirmed dead in the U.S.

Read: Hurricane Ian: Volusia County man drowns in flooded home

Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said responders have focused so far on “hasty” searches, aimed at emergency rescues and initial assessments, which will be followed by two additional waves of searches.

He said Friday that the initial responders might detect deaths without confirming them.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

2:30 p.m. update:

Seminole County

The Seminole County Fire Department is urging residents who have lost power to unplug and turn off the main breaker for appliances.

Firefighters said when power is restored, fires can start if appliances were left on.

Firefighters responded to a house fire Friday in which a microwave was left on top of a stove. When power was restored, the stove was on and caught the microwave on fire.

City of Orlando parks

All Orlando city parks are closed Friday and will remain closed until further notice.

The city said they are assessing each park to make sure they are safe after Hurricane Ian.

It said it will post updates on park reopenings once all of them are inspected for damage.

2 p.m. update:

Polk County Public Schools are still assessing whether they will be able to open for classes on Monday.

The superintendent said as of Thursday, 77 out of 131 school sites in the county were without power following Hurricane Ian.

Read: Orange County officials give update on Hurricane Ian recovery efforts

If power can be restored Friday or Saturday, the superintendent said classes may resume Monday if critical needs of students and staff can be met at each school.

The district expects to provide additional updates as assessments continue.

1:30 p.m. update:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Friday to discuss Hurricane Ian recovery efforts near Pine Island.

Officials said the National Guard is ready to respond to the island to check for people who might be trapped on the island by the storm.

DeSantis said he is working with local officials to try to find a way for residents who evacuated the island to get back to check on their homes, possibly a ferry.

He said lawlessness will not be tolerated and looters will be prosecuted.

1 p.m. update:

Orlando Science Center will reopen for normal operations Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Read: Hurricane Ian: When will Orlando’s theme parks & attractions reopen?

Click here to read more about the reopening of our local attractions.

12:30 p.m. update:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will soon be giving a live update from Fort Myers, which was ravaged by Hurricane Ian’s winds and floods.


Watch the live news conference on Channel 9 Eyewitness News by clicking here.

12 p.m. update:

Orlando International Airport

The Orlando International Airport reopened to commercial flights .


Watch a live news conference from airport officials on Channel 9 and by clicking here.

Seminole County

Seminole County officials provided an update on Hurricane Ian recovery on Friday morning. Here is the latest:

Seminole County is reopening sandbag locations to help residents dealing with flooding. Sandbags are available until 4 p.m. Friday at 1725 Evans Street in Oviedo.

Sandbags will be available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday at 217 2nd Street in Geneva.

As of Friday morning, 75 traffic lights are out in Seminole County. Treat intersections where lights are out as a four-way stop.

The county is working to consolidate its shelters to one general population shelter at Lyman High School and a special needs shelter at Bentley Elementary School. Officials said on Saturday those shelters will be move to another location to allow schools to be cleared for classes to resume Monday.

Residents are encouraged to report damage at prepareseminole.org

Trash pickup is expected to resume on Saturday. It is expected to take weeks for to pick up all of the debris.

The fire chief said firefighters have rescued more than 150 people from floodwaters.

The sheriff said no storm-related deaths have been reported in the county so far.

Winter Springs experienced water main breaks leaving some residents without water and the remainder of the city with a boil water notice.

11:15 a.m. update:

A Central Florida strike team left Port Canaveral to help with search and rescue efforts in Southwest Florida.

The strike team includes members from Canaveral Fire Rescue, Cocoa Beach Fire Department, Melbourne Fire Department, St. Cloud Fire Department and Martin County Fire.

10:15 a.m. update:

A New Smyrna Beach man has died from Hurricane Ian floodwaters inside of his home, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said the 67-year-old man and his wife were on a list to be rescued by high-water crews.

Before the rescue crew arrived, the victim fell inside the home and could not get up before the water level rose over him, deputies said.

This is the second confirmed death from the storm in Volusia County.

10 a.m. update:

People have evacuated their homes in the Orlo Vista neighborhood in Orange County.

Homes in the area were still swallowed by stormwater Friday morning.

It’s unclear how many homes were damaged.

9:15 a.m. update:

People near the Little Wekiva River had to leave their homes because of damaging floodwaters.

During Hurricane Ian, the rain was so bad the National Weather Service issued a “Flash Flood Emergency” warning.

The stormwater remains Friday morning and Little Wekiva Road is under water for blocks.

The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and National Guard evacuated residents from the floodwaters.

8:29 a.m. update:

Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to hold a Friday morning briefing on the state’s response to Hurricane Ian.


DeSantis is scheduled to speak in Tallahassee at 8:45 a.m.

WFTV will provide live coverage of the governor’s briefing both on air and online.

7:57 a.m. update:

Thousands of people in Central Florida will wake up Friday with no power.

Duke expects to have nearly 10,000 line workers, tree professionals and damage assessment workers spread out across the state.

As of Friday morning, more than 27,000 Orlando Utilities Commission customers are in the dark, as well as nearly 295,000 Duke Energy customers, nearly 211,000 Florida Power and Light customers and more than 2,500 Kissimmee Utility Authority customers.

This team is getting aid from Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

6:30 a.m. update:

Recovery efforts are underway across Central Florida.

See our in-depth coverage in the video below:

5:20 a.m. update:

Thousands of people were evacuated from nursing homes and hospitals across Florida on Thursday even as winds and water from Hurricane Ian began receding.

Hundreds of those evacuations were taking place across the hard-hit Fort Myers region, where damage cut off potable water to at least nine hospitals.

Click here for more details.

3:45 a.m. update:

Hurricane Ian is out of the picture for Central Florida, but is expected to make landfall Friday afternoon as a Category 1 hurricane in South Carolina, Channel 9 meteorologist Brian Shields said.

Seas are expected to stay high as Ian whipped autumn air into the area.

Temperatures are expected to be sunny and a high of 81 on Friday and in the mid-60s in the evening.

Over the weekend, temperatures will be in the 80s and dry, which will continue into next week.

2:30 a.m. update:

Hurricane Ian has left a devastating impact across Florida.

See photos in the gallery below:

1:17 a.m. update:

Hurricane Ian produced strong winds and heavy rain, which led to most Central Florida trash collection schedules being paused.

You can find a county-by-county breakdown of garbage pickup here.

12:15 a.m. update:

As power works to get restored, there are ways to track outages across Central Florida.

Click here to read more.


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Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

Jason Kelly joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2014. He serves as the station's Digital Executive Producer.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.