Hurricane Ian moves toward South Carolina after killing dozens in Florida and leaving millions without power
South Carolinians are bracing for the storm’s expected arrival around noon Friday as Hurricane Ian wreaks havoc in what officials say is the worst natural disaster in the state’s history.
The hurricane, which has re-strengthened in the Atlantic, is expected to make landfall west of Myrtle after it killed at least 19 people in Florida and left millions without power, packing winds of up to 136 kilometers per hour on its way to the South Carolina coast. the beach A tornado warning has been issued from the Savannah River on the Georgia-South Carolina border to Cape Fear, North Carolina.
The hurricane’s destructive path through Florida triggered unusual flooding and storm surge, prompting the largest emergency response in state history, state fire chief Jimmy Petronis told CNN on Thursday. Hundreds of rescue operations were carried out by land, air and sea, with residents trapped in their homes or stuck on rooftops. Some homes along the coast of Fort Myers were reduced to nothing more than concrete slabs, and Gov. Ron DeSantis said the damage in parts of the state was “indescribable.”
The hurricane hit Florida’s southwest coast on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane, with winds reaching 140 mph, causing extensive damage to homes, vehicles and businesses. And officials warn it will be a long road to recovery.
Here’s what you need to know:
Dozens of deaths: At least 19 storm-related deaths have been reported in Florida so far, though that number is likely to rise. Most of those deaths were in hard-hit Lee and Charlotte counties. Ian could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida history, President Joe Biden said Thursday.
More than 2.2 million without power: Millions of people in Florida’s path of Ion remained in the dark as of early Friday morning, PowerOutage.us reported. Most of the counties with the highest percentage of people without power are in the Southwest, including Lee, Charlotte, Hardy and Sarasota. Thirteen districts report that more than 50% of monitored customers are without electricity.
Historic flooding in some areas: Flooding was reported in central and northern Florida, with at least three rivers reaching all-time flood records. Orlando officials warned residents of dangerous flooding. Electricity connection was given to some areas in stagnant water.
HUNDREDS OF RESCUES AND THOUSANDS OF EVACUATIONS: The governor said Thursday that there have been more than 700 rescues across the state so far, with thousands of evacuees reported. In Lee County, a hospital system had to evacuate more than 1,000 patients after its water supply was cut off, while other widespread evacuations were reported at jails and nursing homes.
Coastal islands completely cut off: Sanibel and Captiva islands in southwest Florida are completely cut off from the mainland after parts of the main waterway ruptured.
At least two people have died in Sanibel, and local officials said the road may need to be completely rebuilt. Chip Farrar, who lives on the small island of Matlacha, told CNN that parts of the essential road leading to the main bridge had collapsed, as had a second nearby bridge.
As Hurricane Ian moves away from Florida, the governors of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia have declared states of emergency.
In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster asked people not to underestimate the storm’s danger and urged them to closely follow storm warnings to prepare for Friday’s impact. According to CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward, it is expected to cause landslides at high tide, which could worsen flooding in low-lying areas.
When all is said and done, Ion’s storm system will have caused lasting changes in its wake.
Coastlines in Georgia and South Carolina could experience significant disruption as powerful waves and storm surges triggered by Ian could inundate coastal sand dunes, the USGS said. Deposit again and inland, which “can reduce the height of protective sand dunes, alter beach profiles and leave areas behind dunes more vulnerable to future storms.
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