Flooding traps many in Florida as Ian heads to South Carolina

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (AP) – Rescue crews manned boats and waded via flooded streets Thursday to rescue 1000’s of Floridians trapped after Hurricane Ian destroyed properties and companies and left thousands and thousands at midnight.

The devastation started to come back into focus a day later Ian made it to Florida as one of many strongest hurricanes to ever hit the US. The storm flooded properties on each states’ coasts, severed the one bridge to a barrier island, destroyed a historic waterfront pier and knocked out energy to 2.67 million Florida properties and companies – almost 1 / 4 of utility clients. A minimum of one man is confirmed useless.

Aerial pictures from the Fort Myers space, a number of miles west of the place Ian made landfall, present properties ripped from their slabs and deposited among the many shredded wreckage. Companies close to the seashore have been utterly flattened, and solely twisted stays remained. Damaged docks floated at odd angles subsequent to broken boats, and fireplace smoldered on tons the place homes as soon as stood.

“We have by no means seen a storm surge of this magnitude,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stated at a information convention. “The quantity of water that has been rising, and can doubtless proceed to rise as we speak, even because the storm passes, is mainly a 500-year flood occasion.”

Though downgraded to a tropical storm by Thursday morning, the Nationwide Hurricane Heart stated storm surges and flooding rains remained a menace as Ian crawled throughout the Florida peninsula and out into the Atlantic Ocean north of Cape Canaveral. Forecasters predicted Ian would regain power because it turns north.

A hurricane warning was issued for the South Carolina coast, the place the storm was anticipated to make landfall once more.

Sheriffs in Southwest Florida stated 911 facilities have been overwhelmed with 1000’s of stranded callers, a few of them life-threatening. The U.S. Coast Guard started rescue efforts hours earlier than daybreak on islands close to the place Ian struck, DeSantis stated. Greater than 800 members of federal city search and rescue groups have been additionally within the space.

Within the Orlando space, Orange County firefighters used boats to succeed in individuals in a flooded neighborhood. A photograph posted by the division on Twitter reveals one firefighter carrying somebody in his arms via knee-deep water. On the regional nursing residence, sufferers have been carried on stretchers throughout floodwaters to a ready bus.

Amongst those that have been rescued was Joseph Agboona. “We have been glad to get out,” he stated after grabbing two baggage of stuff when the water got here as much as the home windows of his Orlando residence. “It was very, very unhealthy.”

In Fort Myers, Valerie Bartley’s household spent determined hours holding the eating room desk towards their patio door, fearing the storm raging exterior would “tear our home aside.”

“I used to be terrified,” Bartley stated. “What we heard was shingles and particles from every little thing within the neighborhood hitting our home.”

The storm tore off a patio and broke a palm tree within the yard, Bartley stated, however left the roof intact and her household unhurt.

Regardless of the utter devastation in elements of Fort Myers, some individuals left shelters to return residence Thursday afternoon. Lengthy traces fashioned at gasoline stations and House Depot opened, letting in a number of clients at a time.

Frank Pino was close to the again row, with about 100 individuals forward of him.

“I hope they depart one thing,” stated Pino, “as a result of I want virtually every little thing.”

Authorities have confirmed at the least one loss of life in Florida – that of a 72-year-old Deltona man who fell right into a drain whereas utilizing a hose to empty his pool in heavy rain, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Workplace stated. Two extra deaths within the storm have been reported in Cuba.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno stated his workplace was struggling to answer 1000’s of 911 calls within the Fort Myers space, however many roads and bridges have been impassable.

“We nonetheless cannot get to lots of people who need assistance,” Marceno advised ABC’s “Good Morning America.

Emergency crews sawed via fallen bushes to succeed in stranded individuals. Many within the worst-hit areas have been unable to name for assist as a consequence of energy and mobile phone outages.

Christine Bomlitz was unable to succeed in her mom by telephone after the storm touched down south of Englewood, the place the 84-year-old lady lives in a retirement group. Bomlitz stated her mom was purported to evacuate however was not picked up, so the distraught daughter from Las Vegas posted a plea for assistance on social media.

Some good Samaritans got here to her support Thursday, one in all them wading in chest-deep floodwaters to carry out a welfare verify. Relieved that her mom had weathered the storm, Bomlic labored to arrange a ship rescue.

“I am grateful for this stranger, an entire stranger,” Bomlitz stated.

A bit of the Sanibel Causeway fell into the ocean, slicing off entry to the barrier island, residence to six,300 individuals. It isn’t recognized what number of obeyed evacuation orders, however Charlotte County Emergency Administration Director Patrick Fuller expressed cautious optimism.

No deaths or accidents have been confirmed within the county, and barrier island overflights present “the integrity of properties is much better than we anticipated,” Fuller stated.

South of Sanibel Island, the historic Naples Seashore Pier has been destroyed, and even the pilings beneath have been pulled out. “There isn’t any dock proper now,” stated Collier County Commissioner Penny Taylor.

in Port Charlotte, the emergency room on the hospital was flooded and fierce winds tore off a part of the roof, sending water gushing into the intensive care unit. The sickest sufferers – some on ventilators – have been crammed onto the center two flooring as workers ready for the arrival of storm victims, stated Dr. Birgit Bodine of HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital.

Ian hit Florida as a monster Class 4 storm, with winds of 150 mph (241 km/h) that tied it because the fifth strongest hurricane ever to hit the US

Whereas scientists typically keep away from blaming local weather change for particular storms with out detailed evaluation, Ian’s watery destruction matches what scientists have predicted for a hotter world: stronger and wetter hurricanes, although not essentially extra of them.

“This enterprise of very, very heavy rain is one thing we anticipated to see due to local weather change,” stated MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel. “We’ll see extra storms like Ian.”

Even after weakening, Ian’s tropical-storm-force winds nonetheless reached 415 miles (667 kilometers) from its heart. Forecasters predicted the Atlantic would strengthen to a Class 1 hurricane earlier than making landfall in South Carolina on Friday.

The Nationwide Hurricane Heart warned {that a} storm surge of 6 ft (1.83 meters) or extra was attainable from Daytona Seashore, Florida, north of Charleston, South Carolina. Rainfall of as much as 8 inches (20.32 centimeters) threatened flooding within the Carolinas and Virginia.

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Tv. The Related Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This materials is probably not revealed, broadcast, copied or distributed.)

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