Hurricane Ian targets the Carolina coast in September; 30, 2022.
CHARLESTON, South Carolina – The death toll from Hurricane Ian on Saturday rose to more than 77 as one of the most powerful and deadliest storms ever to hit the United States pushed north from the Carolinas, leaving in its wake a trio of misery – serious flooding, power outages and massive destruction.
Ian, which hit Florida on Wednesday with 150 mph winds, was downgraded to a post-tropical hurricane after marching through South Carolina and was expected to weaken further as it moved later on Saturday into south central Virginia before turning toward the middle of the ocean. Atlantic. .
According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm was still carrying maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.
But the NHC also warned of potential flash floods in both urban and rural areas across the central Appalachian Mountains and the south-central Atlantic region over the weekend, as well as continuing record river flooding across parts of Florida.
77 confirmed storm-related deaths have been recorded in Florida and North Carolina, according to a count by state officials and the NBC News Census. As rescue efforts continued and floodwaters receded in places littered with wrecked homes, local officials warned that the death toll could rise.
At least 1,100 rescues have been conducted in Florida since Ian made landfall in the state, Florida’s governor. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference on Saturday.
“There has been a huge outpouring of support and I’ve seen a lot of resilience in this community of people who want to revive themselves and want to get their communities back on their feet,” DeSantis told reporters. “We’ll be here and help every step of the way.”
Rear Admiral. Brendan McPherson, who commands the Coast Guards in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, told the Today Show Saturday morning that the power outages were complicating rescue efforts as people in affected communities who had no cell phone service or electricity were suffering. Temporarily cut off from the rest of the world.
First responders with Orange County Fire Rescue check the well-being of residents as they make their way through a flooded neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Thursday, September 9. 29, 2022, in Orlando, Florida.
Phelan M Inhak | AP
“It’s one of the biggest challenges,” he said. “Immediately after this storm, we sought and found air crews looking for people in need of help.”
But MacPherson said most of the cut-off areas of southwest Florida are now reached either by air or by urban search and rescue teams that go door-to-door by boat.
In Florida, nearly 1.3 million homes and businesses were still without power early Saturday, three days after Ian hit the state.
The lack of power and water was why 16-year-old Mia Fields and her family had to leave their Cape Coral home, where they rode the storm, for Sarasota. The teenager said they all needed a place where they could recharge and refresh so that the coastal city’s electricity could be restored.
So far, you don’t know when they will come home.
Ian was the first Hurricane Fields. Her family was evacuated during Irma in 2017 but decided to stay this time because they didn’t think Ian would hit them. She said in a phone call on Saturday that they did not expect Ian’s ferocity.
“It was really scary,” she said. “My parents used to say they had never tried anything like that.” “It was hurricane-force winds for at least 10 hours.”
Fields, her 14-year-old brother, and her parents gathered in the hallway until the storm passed. Aside from some missing shingles, the family home survived.
At Fort Myers, which early on bore the brunt of Ian’s, residents waded into knee-deep water and used canoes and rafts to salvage what they could find from their flooded homes.
“I want to sit in the corner and cry,” Stevie Scuderi told the Associated Press as she wandered through her mostly devastated apartment in Fort Myers, mud in her kitchen clinging to her purple sandals. “I don’t know what to do.”
In South Carolina, Ian’s eye came ashore near Georgetown, a small community along Winniah Bay 60 miles north of historic Charleston. The storm washed away parts of four piers along the coast, including two connected to the popular tourist town of Myrtle Beach. More than 62,000 customers have no power.