Rescue crews rode boats and navigated through flood-prone streets on Thursday to rescue thousands of Floridians trapped in flooded homes and destroyed buildings.
After becoming a tropical storm when it crossed the Florida peninsula, Ian was able to regain hurricane strength over the Atlantic on Thursday evening. According to the National Hurricane Center, it will hit South Carolina Friday as a Category 1 hurricane. Winds could reach 80 mph (129 km/h) at night.
One day after Ian, a powerful Category 4 hurricane that ravaged the United States, Florida’s devastation was brought to light. It was one of the most destructive storms to ever hit the country. It caused flooding on both Florida’s coastlines, cut off road access to barrier islands, and destroyed historic waterfront piers. The storm also knocked out electricity supply to nearly 25% of Florida’s homes and businesses.
Florida has confirmed the deaths of four people. Two residents of Sanibel Island, Florida’s west coast were among them, Sanibel City Manager Dana Souza reported late Thursday. After Tuesday’s hurricane, three other victims were also reported to have been killed in Cuba.
Homes in Fort Myers were ripped from their slabs, and left among the shredded debris. Businesses close to the beach were totally destroyed, leaving behind twisted debris. Broken docks were found at odd angles alongside damaged boats, and fires still blazed on many areas where once lived houses.
William Goodison, who had lived in Fort Myers Beach for over 11 years, said that he didn’t know how anyone could survive in the wreckage. Goodison rode the storm to safety at his son’s home inland.
The park was home to 60 homes. Many of these were destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Goodison’s one-wide home was also affected by the hurricane. Goodison and his son walked through waist-deep water and pulled two trash cans that contained what little they could salvage: a portable air conditioner, tools, and a baseball bat.
Broken trees, boat trailers, and other debris littered the road to Fort Myers. The road was littered with broken trees, boat trailers and other debris.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stated that at least 700 rescues have been performed so far, mostly by air. These included the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard and urban search and rescue teams.
Ian became a hurricane after leaving Florida on Thursday as a tropical storm and entering the Atlantic Ocean north Cape Canaveral with winds of 75 mph (120 km/h).
A hurricane warning was issued for South Carolina’s coast. It extended to Cape Fear, on the southeastern Coast of North Carolina. Tropical-storm force winds of about 415 miles (665 km) from the center were forecast to push storm surges of 5 feet (1.55 meters) onto coastal areas in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. From South Carolina to Virginia, flooding was possible due to rainfall of up to 8 inches (20 cm).
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