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Ian has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone after damaging winds and a life-threatening storm surge in South Carolina on Friday afternoon and killing at least 42 people in Florida, leaving a trail of apocalyptic devastation .
The storm made landfall near Georgetown as a Category 1 hurricane, with winds reaching 70 mph as it moved further inland, over the Carolinas.
“It should be emphasized that just because Ian has become a post-tropical cyclone, the danger is not over,” the National Hurricane Center warned. “Dangerous storm surges, flash floods and high winds remain in the forecast for this hurricane.”
Reports of property damage, power outages and calls for help have multiplied as officials across the state continue to issue dire warnings to residents to stay indoors.
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Hurricane warnings were issued from the Savannah River on the Georgia-South Carolina state line to Cape Fear, North Carolina. Seawater and rain could cause massive flooding, forecasters said, especially along parts of the South Carolina coast, where storm surges could be as high as 7 feet and 4 to 12 inches of rain.
A tornado warning covering nearly 5 million people will remain in place until 10 p.m. ET for parts of the Carolinas and Virginia, including Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, according to the Storm Prediction Center. .
more than As of 3:50 p.m. ET, South Carolina reported 200,000 outages and North Carolina reported more than 138,000 outages, according to PowerOutage.us. In Virginia, more than 17,000 customers were without power, mostly in the eastern and southern parts of the state.
In addition, two South Carolina piers — Cherry Grove Pier in North Myrtle Beach and Pallis Island Pier north of Charleston — partially collapsed Friday due to the storm.
Polis Island Mayor Brian Henry told CNN that the water on the two causeways connecting the island to the mainland has receded. No one will be allowed to return to the island until the damage has been assessed, Henry said, adding that “there is a lot of debris on the roads on the island”.
“It’s a very scary sight,” Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune said of Hurricane Ian. “I’ve seen too many cars pass by. And I think people just don’t realise how dangerous it is to go out in these types of conditions. We’ve seen a lot of people’s cars get stuck and emergency crews have to go out and save people .”
Shelters in Charleston County will remain open until 4 p.m. Saturday, the county said in a release. On Saturday morning, buses will begin taking people from shelters back to their original pickup locations.
“Many prayers were answered,” said the South Carolina governor. Henry McMaster said. “This storm wasn’t as bad as you thought, but don’t let your guard down. We’re not out of the woods yet, there’s water on the road, high winds, and it’s still dangerous in many parts of the state.”
Airport closed Friday at Charleston International Airport due to high winds SayMyrtle Beach residents are urged to stay indoors during the storm, Mayor Brenda Bethune told CNN.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the coastlines of Georgia and South Carolina could see major changes as powerful waves and storm surges from Ian could inundate coastal dunes.
In addition to flooding the communities behind the dunes, the storm could push sand back and deposit inland, which could “reduce the height of the protective dunes, alter the beach profile, and make the area behind the dunes more vulnerable to future storms” agency said.
Florida, meanwhile, faced dizzying damage from Ian across much of the peninsula after a Category 4 storm hit the southwest coast on Wednesday and Thursday and swept the central and northeastern regions.
At least 42 people were reported dead in the state. Homes on the coast were washed into the sea, buildings were destroyed across the state, flooding destroyed homes and businesses and trapped residents, even in inland areas like the Orlando area.
Hundreds of rescues were carried out by land, air and sea, with residents trapped in their homes or on rooftops, and search and rescuers conducted numerous health checks, particularly in Fort Myers and Naples, where storm surge flooded streets and homes area.
Roger DeJales, manager of Lee County, which includes Fort Myers, told CNN on Friday that it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that Hurricane Ian devastated parts of the area and “certainly killed a lot of people.” .
“It looked as if someone had just fallen from the sky picking up hotels and buildings and taking them away. So much so that in many places there wasn’t even debris,” Desjarlais said. “We also know that not as many people have been evacuated from the islands as we would like. We know there are many more deaths that have not been counted.”
President Joe Biden continued to pledge federal support for Florida in dealing with the damage caused by the storm, which he said “could be the worst in the history of the United States…”
“We’re just starting to see the scale of the devastation,” Biden said, adding that the largest team of search-and-rescue experts “in recent history” is currently deployed to the state. “It will take months, years to rebuild.”
And now, the aftermath of the storm brings new, deadly dangers. Officials warned that some standing water was electrified, and that driving through cluttered buildings and streets — many traffic signals that didn’t work — was a risk of injury. Lack of air conditioning can lead to heat stroke, and improper use of generators can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Roseanne Walker stood Thursday at her flood-damaged home in North Harbor, between Fort Myers and Sarasota, where she weathered the storm. Part of her drywall ceiling hung down.
“All of a sudden, water comes in through the door — the top, the bottom, the windows here,” she told CNN. “It’s all in my closet; I have to empty my closet.”
“Everything is ruined.”
Claudette Smith, public information officer at the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, north of Fort Myers, told CNN that the county desperately needs help as emergency services continue to be overwhelmed.
“We need everything, to put it simply. We need everyone to pull together,” Smith said. “The people who came to help us were very helpful, but we really needed everything.”
Many community members are homeless, without water or electricity, and there is currently only one operating hospital in the county.
Here’s information about the damage in Florida:
• Florida fatalities: At least 42 suspected Ian-related deaths have been reported in Florida. That includes 16 in Lee County, 12 in Charlotte County, eight in Collier County, three in Volusia County, one in Polk County and two in unincorporated Sarasota County, according to officials. State emergency management director Kevin Guthrie said local medical examiners are dealing with unconfirmed deaths and they will decide whether the cases are disaster-related.
• Power outage: Florida had more than 1.6 million power outages as of Friday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.us. Most of the counties with the highest percentage of residents without electricity are in the Southwest, including Lee, Charlotte, DeSoto and Hardy.
• Historic Florida floods: Central and northern Florida recorded record flooding, with at least three rivers reaching historic flood records. Officials in Orlando are warning residents of dangerous flooding, which has reached more than a foot in some areas.
• Hundreds of rescues and thousands of evacuations: The U.S. Coast Guard has conducted more than 275 rescues in Florida, Rear Admiral Brendan McPherson told CNN. More than 700 rescues have taken place in Florida so far, with reports of thousands of evacuees, the governor said Thursday. In Lee County, a hospital system had to evacuate more than 1,000 patients after a water supply cut, while other widespread evacuations were reported at prisons and nursing homes. In Fort Myers, the fire chief was “very comfortable” by Friday morning, where everyone in need was rescued, Mayor Kevin Anderson said. The Coast Guard is treating this as a military operation, “searching block by block to make sure everyone leaves.”
• Much of Fort Myers Beach was erased: A helicopter flew over Fort Myers Beach, displaying the utter devastation: boats were thrown into mangroves on clearings or debris-strewn lots where homes and businesses once stood. “You’re talking about no structures left. … You’re talking about houses being thrown into the bay. It’s a long-term solution and it’s life-changing,” said Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno.
• Coastal islands isolated from the mainland: Sanibel Island and Captive Island in southwest Florida were cut off from the mainland after several sections of a vital causeway were torn apart. Local officials said at least two people were killed in the storm in Sanibel, and the bridge may need to be completely rebuilt. Chip Farrar, a resident of the small island of Matlacha, told CNN that the 50-foot road leading to the land bridge had been washed away and a second bridge nearby had collapsed.
• Insured losses in Florida can be substantial: Ian may have caused up to $47 billion in insured losses in Florida, which could make it the second-highest inflation-adjusted loss in the state’s history after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, according to estimates from real estate analytics firm CoreLogic. storm.