UPDATE 3 - Hurricane Ian Continues Battering Florida, Weakens To Category 3 - NHC

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 29th September, 2022) Hurricane Ian continues to batter Florida and is threatening the states of North and South Carolina, but has weakened to a category 3, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in advisories.

Earlier, when Ian made landfall as a category 4 hurricane, maximum sustained winds had reached 140 miles per hour, according to the advisory issued by the NOAA / National Weather Service agency.

However, the NHC said the storm has weakened to a category 3 in an advisory at 8:00 p.m. EST and winds had died down to 115 mph.

Ian however continues to batter the Florida peninsula with catastrophic storm surge, winds, and flooding, the agency added.

New watches and warnings have been issued for North and South Carolina, the NHC said.

"Further weakening is expected for the next day or so, but Ian could be near hurricane strength when it moves over the Florida East coast tomorrow, and when it approaches the northeastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts late Friday," the release added.

The NHC also warned that a few tornadoes are possible later tonight across east central Florida.

Meanwhile, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency in advance of Ian's "remnants moving through the state," his office said in a statement.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at a press briefing said at least 26 states are sending assistance to the state in Ian's aftermath.

DeSantis said Alabama sent Blackhawk helicopters to assist while Tennessee and Louisiana sent resources to aid search and rescue efforts.

Almost 1.5 million customers have no power as of early evening on the US east coast, the poweroutage.us web tracker said Wednesday.

Authorities in Collier County, on Florida's west coast, announced that beginning at 10:00 p.m. EST (2:00 GMT on Thursday) a mandatory curfew will be put in place until 6:00 a.m.

US President Joe Biden called mayors from cities around Florida to discuss the Federal government's support for the state, the White House said.