Hurricane Ian begins to hit South Carolina after leaving at least 21 dead and millions without power across Florida

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Much of Florida takes stock of apocalyptic damage on Friday – with researchers always looking for people in need and millions without power – deadly Hurricane Ian started whipping South Carolinawhere an expected afternoon landfall threatens more deadly flooding and enough strength to alter the coastal landscape.

With at least 21 deaths reported in Florida, Ian strengthened to a Category 1 storm in the Atlantic and was heading towards South Carolina with sustained base winds of 85 mph from 8 a.m. ET Friday. Its center had to move on earth between Charleston and Myrtle Beachforecasters saidwith winds of up to 73 mph already hitting much of the Carolina coast and life-threatening storm surge and hurricane conditions expected within hours.

“This is a dangerous storm that will bring high winds and lots of water,” South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said. tweeted. “Be smart, make good decisions, watch your loved ones and stay safe.”


Meanwhile, Florida is dealing with the staggering destruction Ian unleashed across much of the peninsula on Wednesday and Thursday after crashing into the southwest coast as a Category 4 storm and plowed through the central and northeastern regions. Homes on the coast were washed out to sea, buildings were destroyed across the state, and floodwaters destroyed homes and businesses and trapped residents, even inland in places like the Orlando area.

Hundreds of rescues have taken place by land, air and sea, with residents trapped in homes or stranded on rooftops, and searchers have carried out numerous welfare checks, particularly in the Fort Myers and areas of Naples, where feet of storm surge flooded streets and homes.

And now the aftermath of the storm poses deadly new dangers of its own. Some standing water is electrified, officials warned, while maneuvering through debris-strewn buildings and streets — many without functioning traffic lights — risk injury. Lack of air conditioning can lead to heat-related illnesses and misuse of the generator can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

In North Port, between Fort Myers and Sarasota, Rosanna Walker stood Thursday in the flood-damaged home where she rode through the storm. Part of its plasterboard ceiling was hanging down.

“And all of a sudden the water was coming in through the doors – the top, the bottom, the windows here,” she told CNN’s John Berman. “Everything is in my cupboards; I have to empty my cupboards.

“It’s all been messed up.”

Here’s what you need to know:

• Deaths reported: At least 21 storm-related deaths have been reported in Florida. Of those, 20 are unconfirmed — 12 in Charlotte County and eight in Collier County, state emergency management director Kevin Guthrie said Friday. One confirmed death has occurred in Polk County, he said, noting that unconfirmed death cases are handled by local medical examiners, who decide if they are disaster-related.

• More than 1.9 million breakdowns: Millions of Floridians who were in Ian’s path are still in the dark Friday morning, according to Most of the counties with the highest percentage of residents without power are in the southwest, including Lee, Charlotte, DeSoto and Hardee.

• Historic floods in some areas: Record flooding has been recorded in central and northern Florida, including at least three rivers which reached all-time flood records. Orlando officials warned residents of dangerous flooding, which exceeded a foot in some areas.

• Hundreds of rescues and thousands of evacuations: More than 700 rescues have taken place across Florida so far, the governor said Thursday, and thousands of evacuees have been 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 in the jails and nursing homes. In Fort Myers, the fire chief was “pretty comfortable” Friday morning that everyone in need of help had been rescued, Mayor Kevin Anderson said.

Much of the beach in Fort Myers has been erased: A helicopter flight above Fort Myers Beach shows utter devastation: empty or debris-strewn land where homes and businesses stood and boats thrown into the mangroves. “You talk about no more structure. … You talk about houses that have been thrown into the bay. It’s a long-term, life-changing solution,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said.

• The Coast Guard continues its rescue flights on Friday: Coast Guard crews rescued 95 people in Florida on Thursday, including lifting people from flooded areas by helicopter, and will continue rescue flights on Friday, Rear Admiral Brendan McPherson said. “We’ll find someone else who needs help,” he said.

• Coastal islands isolated from the mainland: Sanibel and Captiva Islands in southwest Florida are cut off from the mainland after several parts of a critical causeway were ripped out. At least two people were killed in the storm in Sanibel, and the bridge may need to be completely rebuilt, local officials said. Chip Farrar, a resident of the small island of Matlacha, told CNN that 50 feet of road essential to reach the mainland bridge was washed out and that a second nearby bridge also collapsed.

• Impacts of the storm today: A hurricane warning has been issued from the Savannah River on the Georgia-South Carolina border to Cape Fear, North Carolina. Extensive flooding is possible from seawater and rain, especially in parts of coastal South Carolina, where storm surge up to 7 feet and 4 to 12 inches of rain could hit, say the forecasters.

As Hurricane Ian moved away from Florida, the governors of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia declared emergencies.

McMaster, of South Carolina, implored residents not to underestimate the danger of the storm and urged them to closely follow storm warnings to prepare for Friday’s impact.

Ian will likely have left lasting changes in the landscape behind. Coastlines along Georgia and South Carolina could experience significant change as powerful waves and storm surges from Ian could flood coastal sand dunes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In addition to flooding communities behind the dunes, the storm can push sand and deposit it inland, which could “reduce the height of protective sand dunes, alter beach profiles and leave areas behind. dunes more vulnerable to future storms,” ​​the agency said. .

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