Shocking footage shows a brave weatherman battling the elements during the destruction of Hurricane Ian, having been hit by a huge tree branch as he tried to broadcast – also almost getting struck by lightning at another point.
With maximum sustained winds of 155mph, the storm has become the fifth largest on record to hit the US mainland, but this didn’t stop Cantore from getting out on the streets to get his scoop:
Geared up in a rain mac, helmet and safety goggles as the rains lashed down around him, Cantore was about to interview his colleague via video link when a bolt of lightning hit the ground right next to him, a huge crack of thunder audible in the feed.
The shock cut him off mid-sentence, causing him to jump back and leap to the side.
But while this would make most of us nervous enough to never leave the house again, Cantore remained on the scene to report against such adverse conditions – at another point also being hit by a massive branch.
Stood in the middle of an empty road, Cantore could be seen struggling to hold himself upright as ferocious winds charged at him.
As a huge gust propelled him forward several feet, a branch suddenly flew into his path, taking him out as it smashes into his legs.
As Cantore got back up, he said into the microphone: "You know what, I think I’m just going to come in here for a second.”
Making his way over to a street sign and holding on for dear life, he added: "Just give me a second. I’m fine."
Many people found Cantore’s dedication to the job commendable, but also urged him to get inside to safety.
“Jim Cantore might be in line for a raise after Hurricane Ian," one tweeted.
Someone else wrote: “Absorb the contact, and make a play! Jim Cantore is putting up big numbers out there in #HurricaneIan #WeathermanSuperbowl.”
A third said: “IDK what Jim Cantore is getting paid, but it’s not enough.”
Another commented: “Jim Cantore just got whacked by fallen tree debris on live television. Give this man a pay rise.”
Another tweeted: “I think it’s time for Jim Cantore to seek shelter #HurricaneIan Florida.”
In a later clip posted by The Weather Channel, it appeared Cantore and his team had taken refuge on a building balcony.
He said: “We have come up here for safety from the surge… and where we were earlier, it looks like there’s three or four feet of water. Waves crashing over the area from earlier this morning.”
Cantore continued: “This is one of the worst hurricanes I have ever been in. It may be the worst in terms of covering over 25 years and 90 storms.
“It looks like a North Atlantic Ocean storm here in Fort Myers. The ocean, the river and the gulf has taken over everything.”
Millions are expected to be impacted by the storm, which has already caused deadly flooding and power outages in Cuba.
The National Weather Service also warned of the likelihood of 'catastrophic' storm surge and flooding in parts of south-west Florida.
A tweet from the service yesterday said: "A special 7am update has been issued as Hurricane Ian has strengthened to 155 mph, a strong category 4 , with catastrophic storm surge flooding likely in some areas of SW FL."
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