Hurricane Ian death toll expected to rise as search continues

Florida residents continue to struggle with floodwaters that have yet to retreat, and the state grapples with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the continental U.S.

The confirmed death toll now stands at 48 and is expected to rise as more autopsies are completed and recovery efforts continue, with President Biden warning that Ian could be the deadliest hurricane on record in Florida.

Biden and first lady Jill Biden plan to travel to Puerto Rico on Monday and Florida on Wednesday to inspect the damage caused by the hurricane in two severely affected locations, the White House announced Saturday night.

On Saturday, the Florida National Guard relied on high-water vehicles to transport rescued residents to a church in North Harbor.

Connie Cullison, 67, said she was finally picked up on Saturday afternoon after she initially sought help Friday night. Rising water cut access to her home, and Cullison needed a walker to get around after undergoing knee replacement surgery.

“My house has minor damage, but we have no electricity, no water, no food,” Cullison said after being taken to church. “But there are people who are worse than me.”

The Florida Board of Medical Examiners said Saturday night that the storm had killed 44 people in the state, mostly by drowning. Many are over 60 years old. The bodies were found inside the flooded car, floating in the water and drowned on the beach. That number is expected to increase as rescuers comb through the wreckage and forensic medical examiners conduct autopsies. Four people have died from the storm in the governor of North Carolina. Roy Cooper (D) said.

Thirty Florida victims were found in Lee County, which includes Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Cape Coral, officials said. There is no running water in the county, and nearly 70% of the county has power outages.

Explore aerial imagery of Hurricane Ian’s damage to Florida’s coast

In the southwest and central regions of the state, about 800,000 homes and businesses remained without power on Sunday, according to In North Carolina, more than 26,000 customers were without power.

Meanwhile, multiple bridges were destroyed, complicating rescue efforts. The causeway to Sanibel, the 12-mile-long barrier island, became impassable, cutting the island off from the mainland.

senator. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told ABC News “this week” that the island will be uninhabitable for the foreseeable future. “I think our priority right now is to identify those who want to stay in Sanibel but end up having to leave because there is no way to go on living there. There is no way to restore strength. There is no economy there. At some point they will have to Don’t move,” Rubio said, adding that it would take “at least a few years” to rebuild the bridge.

Rubio said the total loss was more damaging than anything he could recall in Florida history. “Fort Myers Beach is gone. It has to be rebuilt,” he said. “It’s part of old Florida that you can’t recapture,” he said.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said in the same project that emergency crews were “still in an active search and rescue phase” and were “going through every home to make sure we didn’t leave anyone behind”.

Residents of Sanibel were told to evacuate ahead of the storm, but some questioned how long officials in Lee County took to make the evacuation decision amid uncertain forecasts.

Those who have decided to weather the major hurricane at home have started to share their stories of camaraderie and loss after the storm.

Further challenges to cleanup and rescue, major flooding in parts of central Florida is also expected to continue into next week, causing more damage. The storm is estimated to have caused more than $60 billion in property damage in Florida.

Hurricane-hit Floridians face gridlock, flooding and widespread destruction

The National Hurricane Center issued its final warning Saturday night for Tropical Cyclone Ian, forecasting flooding in central Florida and up to 3 inches of rain in parts of West Virginia and western Maryland through Sunday morning.

A major flood warning has closed roads from the Kissimmee River to St. Petersburg. Johns River Basin in Central Florida. The National Weather Service is concerned that some places like East Lake Tohopekaliga and Lake Tohopekaliga will see more flooding in the coming days, leading to more standing water downstream in inland areas like Orlando.

The record-high Myaka River swept across Interstate 75, closing major highways before reopening Saturday afternoon. Officials are continuing to monitor the river’s water levels.

Water has flooded buildings as far north as Astor’s residence near St. Petersburg. Johns and South serves as a retirement community in Kissimmee, just outside of Orlando.

Tim Craig, Matt Viser and Matt Brown contributed to this report.

Source link