Recovery efforts continued Friday in Florida and the Carolinas, as massive Storm Ian left millions of people without power in the southeast.
The big picture: Hurricane Ian, which ravaged Florida earlier this week, became a post-tropical cyclone as winds dropped to 70 mph Friday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The last: The NHC said Friday night the storm posed a “life-threatening storm surge hazard” along the Carolinas coast, with flash flooding and high winds looming.
- Heavy rain and possible flash flooding could affect North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia tonight through Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
- According to the NHC, “flooding from major to record highs” in the areas of central Florida is expected to continue until next week.
Situation: Nearly 3,000 federal aid workers helped with recovery efforts Friday, with about 1,600 in Florida alone, according to the Assistant Administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Administration Anne Binck.
- She said residents of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas should continue to follow local officials’ predictions and warnings about safety, even as the storm slows.
- “Just because the sky is clear doesn’t mean it’s safe,” she said at a news conference Friday.
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a news conference Friday night that state and local law enforcement officials would monitor the areas for possible looting.
- Orlando city officials encouraged residents to limit water use in their homes.
Details: Ian made landfall again in South Carolina on Friday as a Category 1 storm as Florida continued to reel from the impact.
- The former Category 1 hurricane turned into a non-tropical system as it moved inland, where it continued to pose a serious threat to communities in South Carolina and the Southeast.
- The hurricane hit the coast near Georgetown, SC with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, National Hurricane Center saidbringing in a “life-threatening” storm surge of 4 to 7 feet.
What they say: Brian Henry, mayor of Pawley’s Island in South Carolina, told CNN that the hurricane triggered a storm surge “probably beyond what most people expected.”
- “Most of us didn’t believe we would see the storm surge at 7 plus feet,” Henry told CNN. “It’s starting to subside, but we have a huge amount of water on the roads and across the island.”
Threat level: The storm has resulted in significant flooding along the coast, flash flooding inland and damaging hurricane-force winds.
- More than 374,000 customers were without power Friday afternoon in the Carolinas.
- Ian’s wind field is more like a winter storm than a typical hurricane, increasing the potential for power outages far inland.
context: Such storms can cause more coastal damage today than a few decades ago, due to sea level rise due to human-induced climate change.
- Due to the rise in sea level, the waves get a higher floor to launch, allowing the water to penetrate further inland.
- South Carolina was expected to take the brunt of a resurgent Ian.
- Ian’s downtown was projected to move through eastern South Carolina and central North Carolina Friday evening and Saturday.
- President Biden declared a state of emergency for South Carolina and ordered the federal government to support local response efforts.
- The governors of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia declared a state of emergency earlier this week.
- The storm’s northward shift over time means the core of the strongest winds are likely to move inland, hitting communities such as Florence and Fayetteville, with the potential for power outages this afternoon and evening.
- Ian is not expected to make landfall in Georgia, but parts of the state will still experience tropical storm winds and a dangerous life-threatening storm surge, the NHC said in an update.
- A tropical storm warning is in effect from Georgia’s Altamaha Sound to the Savannah River, which marks the state’s border with South Carolina.
- Southern Virginia could be hit by heavy rain with a chance of tornadoes through early Saturday.
- The storm is expected to clear over western North Carolina or Virginia late Saturday, the NHC said.
Go deeper: Florida death toll rises due to Hurricane Ian
Editor’s Note: This is a story in development. Check back all day for updates.