Ian has strengthened into an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour (250 km per hour), the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said on Wednesday.

Several U.S. companies have curtailed operations as they brace for impact:


Airlines have canceled nearly 2,000 U.S. flights as of Wednesday morning and scrapped 1,608 Thursday flights, as per FlightAware data, with American Airlines Group Inc and Southwest Airlines Co among the worst hit.

Some airports in Florida, including Orlando International Airport, have also halted operations.

United Parcel Service Inc said services in Florida "may be impacted". The company continues to provide pickup and delivery services as conditions permit.


BP Plc evacuated personnel and halted output at its Na Kika and Thunder Horse offshore production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday. Since then, it has been working to redeploy offshore personnel after determining Hurricane Ian no longer posed a significant threat to its assets.

Chevron Corp also removed staff from two offshore Gulf of Mexico platforms.

Occidental Petroleum Corp and Hess Corp said they had taken precautions ahead of the storm's arrival and were implementing storm procedures without providing specifics.

NextEra Energy Inc's Florida Power & Light Co, the largest utility in the state, deployed nearly 16,000 workers from 27 states to restore power. About 221,100 customers were affected by power outages, with over 74,500 still out as of Wednesday morning, according to its power outage tracker.

Duke Energy Corp said it was mobilizing nearly 10,000 workers to repair electricity lines, clear vegetation, assess damage and more in its Florida service areas. Nearly 1,300 customers had reported being impacted by power outages, as per its outage tracker on Wednesday morning.


Amazon.com Inc, which has about 10 fulfillment centers in Florida, will pause its operations in some sites in the state. A spokesperson said the company was monitoring the hurricane and making adjustments to operations to keep warehouse staff and drivers safe.

More than 100 Walmart and Sam Clubs stores were closed in Florida, according to Walmart Inc's website.


Walt Disney Co will close its theme and water parks on Wednesday and Thursday, while some of its hotels in the state were set to be closed through Friday. A spokesperson said the attractions that will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday include Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Magic Kingdom.

Comcast Corp's Universal Resort and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday.


Walt Disney Co's Disney Cruise Line on Tuesday canceled its Disney Wish ship that was to set sail from Florida on Friday.

Carnival Corp's Carnival Cruise Line on Tuesday canceled two of its Thursday sailings from Florida due to port closures while also calling off a few stops on certain ships already on the sea.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd changed the itinerary of its Norwegian Sky's eight-day Western Caribbean voyage, which departed from Miami on Sunday. The company also canceled a Thursday sailing of Norwegian Getaway's ten-day Caribbean voyage departing from Florida.

Royal Caribbean Group said it has postponed a Thursday sailing of its Mariner of the Seas cruise to Friday. This was due to Port Canaveral's expected closure on Wednesday through Friday morning, while some of its other ships stayed at the sea or rerouted and called off a few stops.


Drugstore retailer Walgreens Boots Alliance said Florida pharmacies can refill medications for a 30-day supply without permission from a doctor or other prescribers, except in the case of controlled substances.

(Reporting by Ruhi Soni, Ananya Mariam Rajesh, Priyamvada C, Eva Mathews and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)