Home » News » World » Island 'Wiped Out', Death Toll 'Substantial': Charting Ian's 'Road to Hell' in Florida, South Carolina Next
4-MIN READ

Island 'Wiped Out', Death Toll 'Substantial': Charting Ian's 'Road to Hell' in Florida, South Carolina Next

By: News Desk

Edited By: Jessica Jani

News18.com

Last Updated: September 30, 2022, 14:44 IST

Florida

Rescue teams waded through chest-high waters to reach stranded residents across Florida and at least 700 rescues had been conducted. (Photos: Reuters/AP)

Rescue teams waded through chest-high waters to reach stranded residents across Florida and at least 700 rescues had been conducted. (Photos: Reuters/AP)

Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina are bracing for the Hurricane which has intensified to a Category 1 storm and is expected to make a landfall on Friday afternoon

The rapidly intensifying Hurricane Ian left thousands of Floridians stranded in floods, millions without power, and a ‘substantial’ death toll in its wake on Thursday as it makes its way to South Carolina with renewed intensity as a Category 1 storm.

Ian tore through Florida after making a landfall on the coast as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday, cutting a path of destruction across the state. Emergency crews tried to reach stranded residents amid deadly floodwaters, downed power lines and widespread damage, while about 2.7 million were left without power. The death toll in Florida is still uncertain but could be worrying. President Joe Biden Thursday said Hurricane Ian may be responsible for “substantial loss of life" and could end up being the deadliest storm in Florida history.

Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina are bracing for the Hurricane with forecasts warning that it could hit the area during high tide, worsening the flood danger.

PATH OF DESTRUCTION IN FLORIDA

Hurricane Ian made a landfall on Florida’s west coast on Wednesday after ploughing through Cuba, leaving the entire country in darkness after its electric grid failed. The US coastal state had ordered evacuations of over millions of people and residents had stocked up supplies in preparation for the storm, which was fast-hurtling towards it.

Devastating scenes from the state surfaced on local news and social media with seawater sweeping into homes, inundating entire neighbourhoods. Trees were downed, cars swept away and floodwater in some communities reached rooftops, as per Reuters.

Many mobile home residents took refuge in local schools and other facilities converted to emergency shelters. The area’s numerous assisted-living facilities were mostly evacuated, too, a report by Reuters said. Ian had generated life-threatening storm surges – waves of wind-driven seawater rushing in along the coast – of up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) in some places, the report said.

READ MORE: Million-Dollar McLaren P1 Supercar Submerged in Floods Caused by Hurricane Ian

Roughly 2.7 million homes and businesses in the state were left without power on Thursday. Connectivity to some islands was completely cutoff. DeSantis said the Sanibel Causeway — the only connection to the mainland for Sanibel and Captiva islands — will need either a major overhaul or a complete rebuild, even as the mayor of Sanibel said that the hard-hit island isn’t livable even though some residents decided to stay behind.

DeSantis said that Lee and Charlotte counties were “basically off the grid". Fort Myers Beach, along with Lee County’s other barrier islands, took the brunt of Hurricane Ian’s assault on Florida’s coastline, and entire swaths of neighbourhoods, with mobile homes, condos and townhouses were flooded. “Its leveled," a resident told USA Today.

DEATH TOLL UNCERTAIN

A report by CNN suggests that at least 17 people have perished due to the hurricane in Florida, however, the actual death toll is still uncertain and could be higher.

At an evening news briefing, Governor Ron DeSantis acknowledged some people had perished but warned against speculating before official confirmation. “We fully expect to have mortality from this hurricane," he said.

President Joe Biden, speaking earlier at Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters in Washington, said Ian could prove to be the deadliest in state history, as per Reuters. “The numbers are still unclear, but we’re hearing early reports of what may be substantial loss of life," Biden said, adding that this could be the deadliest storm in the state’s history.

Meanwhile rescue teams waded through chest-high waters to reach stranded residents across the state. Governor DeSantis said at least 700 rescues, mostly by air, had been conducted on Thursday, involving the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Guard and urban search-and-rescue teams, as per Associated Press.

Sheriffs in south-west Florida said 911 centers were inundated by thousands of stranded callers, some with life-threatening emergencies, and reports of rescue teams sawing through felled trees to reach citizens have emerged, as per AP. 

SOUTH CAROLINA BRACES FOR IMPACT

Ian, which had been downgraded to a tropical storm after striking Florida, regained hurricane strength over the Atlantic Ocean as it approached South Carolina’s coast, forecasters said, and has intensified into a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, as per reports.

The extremely dangerous conditions unleashed by Ian, including catastrophic floods and life-threatening storm surges, will continue as the storm moves toward Georgia and South Carolina, CNN reported. Hurricane Ian is expected to move onshore near or just after high tide times in South Carolina, worsening the flood threat, as per forecasts.

The mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, which is especially vulnerable to coastal flooding, told residents to “hunker down” and to treat Hurricane Ian seriously, as it approached with a potential storm surge of up to 7 feet, as per NBC News. “Tomorrow, when this storm is upon us — stay home, stay out of harm’s way,” Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said at a news conference.

A hurricane warning was in effect for hundreds of miles of coastline from the South Carolina-Georgia border north to Cape Fear, North Carolina, as per Reuters. Ian is expected to bring potential life-threatening storm surges and possible tornadoes to the region on Friday, the National Weather Service said.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper urged residents to “take necessary precautions," warning of possible flooding, landslides and tornadoes. “This storm is still dangerous," Cooper said.

Ian could be the first storm to make landfall in the state as a hurricane since Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The storm is predicted to make landfall at about 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT) on Friday north of Charleston.

Read the Latest News and Breaking News here

first published:September 30, 2022, 08:35 IST
last updated:September 30, 2022, 14:44 IST
Read More