Florida: At least 17 dead from Hurricane Ian, hundreds rescued
Hurricane Ian is moving towards the coast of South Carolina and could hit the state around high tide on Friday Full Story, Photos, Video
At least 17 people have died in Florida due to Hurricane Ian, which pummeled the state on Wednesday and Thursday, a CNN tally of reports from local officials indicates.
However, that number is expected to increase.
The US Coast Guard conducted 68 rescue operations in Florida on Thursday, according to Rear Admiral Brendan McPherson, Commander of the US Coast Guard’s 7th District.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said approximately 700 people have been rescued thus far from the destruction left behind by the storm.
US President Joe Biden told reporters the storm could be the “deadliest hurricane in Florida history”. That pronouncement is likely to prove incorrect, noted The Tampa Bay Times, given Florida’s deadliest hurricane killed at least 2,500 in 1928.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Ian is moving towards the coast of South Carolina and could hit the state around high tide on Friday.
In Charleston, a city that is especially vulnerable to coastal flooding, the high tide is at 11:41 a.m. ET. In Myrtle Beach, high tide is at 11:18 a.m. ET, according to CNN.
Hurricane Ian is expected to move onshore near or just after these high tide times, according to forecasts.
An aerial view of damaged buildings in Fort Myers Beach, in Lee County, Florida, on September 29, 2022 after Hurricane Ian made landfall.
In this aerial view, damaged homes are seen after Hurricane Ian moved through the Gulf Coast of Florida on Sept. 29, 2022 in Punta Gorda, Florida.
Residents inspect damage to a marina as boats are partially submerged in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Florida, on Sept. 29, 2022.
A chunk of the Sanibel Causeway, which links Sanibel Island to the Florida mainland, fell into the sea — cutting off access to the barrier island where 6,300 people normally live.
How many heeded mandatory evacuation orders before the storm surge washed over the island wasn’t known.
Lee County, which is seeing “catastrophic damage” from the storm, said its Department of Transportation and law enforcement was on the scene at the causeway and in the Matlacha area, where “extensive damage occurred.”
Here’s a look at the causeway in a photo from 2019:
Florida, Sanibel Island Causeway, in 2019JEFFREY GREENBERG/EDUCATION IMAGES/UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP VIA GETTY IMAGES
A section of the damaged Sanibel Causeway seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Sept. 29, 2022, near Sanibel Island, Florida.
Utility companies had crews and trucks staged in St. Petersburg and The Villages ahead of Hurricane Ian, to be ready to respond to the widespread outages caused by the storm. Personnel and equipment from Texas, Alabama and other states were also dispatched to help.
Almost 2.6 million homes and businesses across a broad swath of Florida were without power Thursday morning, as tracked by poweroutage.us.