Hurricane Ian, which caused widespread damage and flooding while crossing western Cuba, is expected to approach the southwest coast of Florida amid expectations it would strengthen into a catastrophic Category 4 storm, authorities warned.

Ian slammed into Cuba earlier Tuesday, a Category 3 monster pounding the island with 125 mph winds. High winds and storm surge are still expected farther north into the Tampa Bay region, state Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said. 

Hundreds of thousands of Floridians faced mandatory evacuation orders as the National Hurricane Center expanded its hurricane warning along more than 150 miles of the state’s Gulf Coast. Power outages can be expected statewide, Florida Power & Light warned.

As of Tuesday night, power outages were already occurring in the Florida Keys and South Florida, according to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Along with the howling winds, parts of Central Florida could see 12 to 16 inches of rain, and 2 feet is possible in isolated areas, the hurricane center said. DeSantis said there was potential for “historic” storm surge and flooding.

“In some areas, there will be catastrophic flooding and life-threatening storm surge,”  DeSantis said Tuesday. “Because of the size of the storm, it’s kicking up a lot of surge. The Gulf is going to be very angry as this comes in.”

The Florida Keys saw hurricane-force winds and heavy rain late Tuesday as Ian advanced toward the state, DeSantis said during a news conference Tuesday night. Tornadoes are likely to occur overnight and the hurricane is expected to make landfall in southwest Florida, likely as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds Wednesday evening.

Conditions are expected to deteriorate across central and south Florida Tuesday night, according to the National Hurricane Center. A storm surge warning remains in effect along the state’s west coast with the highest risk in the Naples to Sarasota region.