Ian recovery efforts begin in Florida and the Carolinas

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As post-tropical Cyclone Ian continues to weaken near the Virginia-North Carolina border, the National Hurricane Center warns that “major to record” river flooding could continue in areas of Florida next week.

Heavy rain and strong wind will influence parts of the Mid-Atlantic region and the New England coast Saturday, the National Weather Prediction Center said, and “limited flash, urban and small stream flooding” is possible this weekend in central Appalachians and the southern Mid-Atlantic, according to the NHC .

Here’s what we know now:

Deaths: At least 45 people have died after Hurricane Ian swept through Florida Wednesday through Friday.

Here’s CNN’s current death toll by county in Florida:

  • Lee County: 16
  • Charlotte County: 12
  • Collier County: 8
  • Province of Volusia: 4
  • Sarasota County: 2
  • Lake County: 1
  • Manatee County: 1
  • Polk County: 1

Blackouts: About 1.7 million customers are still without power in four states, including more than 1.2 million in Florida alone. More than 337,000 customers in North Carolina have lost power, especially in the central region of the state. In South Carolina, about 57,000 customers are without power in the northeast of the state. More than 91,000 customers have lost power in Virginia.

A Florida Power & Light spokesperson said it could take weeks to restore power in Florida’s hardest-hit southwestern areas.

Injury:

This week, Ian left a trail of destruction that was most felt in Florida’s southwestern coastal communities, including Fort Myers and Naples. Tampa, Orlando and cities along Florida’s northeast coast were also hit by torrential rains, flooding and high winds.

“I’ve made it to about two-thirds of the island, and I’d say 90% of the island is pretty much gone,” said Fort Myers Beach Town Councilman Dan Allers. “Unless you have a high-rise apartment or a newer concrete house built to the same standards today, your house is pretty much gone.”

The islands of Sanibel and Captiva have been cut off from the mainland after sections of a causeway were swept away by the storm.

View striking before-and-after images here.

Storm surge also set records for the highest water levels ever seen in multiple locations, such as Fort Myers and Naples.

Radar estimates suggest that more than 12 inches of rain fell in a wide swath from Port Charlotte to Orlando in just 12 to 24 hours. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hurricane Ian produced 1 in 1,000 years of rainfall in some of the worst affected locations.

South Carolina authorities began cataloging damage on Pawleys Island, a coastal town about 70 miles north of Charleston. The biggest concern there, according to the mayor, is how to clear debris so the island can become safe again.

“It was a Category 1 hurricane, but we experienced a massive storm surge today, probably more than most people expected,” Mayor Brian Henry told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Friday.

recovery: As residents move back into homes that have in some cases been shattered or flooded as a result of the storm, hundreds of rescues have taken place as federal, state and local crews work on recovery efforts.

According to Rear Admiral Brendan McPherson, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued more than 275 people in Florida, and hundreds of additional rescues were carried out by teams from FEMA, local and government agencies. But conditions after the storm remain a huge challenge, he told CNN on Friday.

“We fly and we operate in unrecognizable areas. There are no street signs. They don’t look like they used to. Buildings that were once community standards are no more,” he said.

In a speech at the White House Friday, President Biden said it could take years for some places to be rebuilt. “We’re just starting to see the magnitude of that destruction,” he said.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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