Hurricane Ian: At least 23 dead after passing through Florida

Hurricane Ian: At least 23 dead after passing through Florida

Storm Ian was expected to weaken further in the southeastern United States on Saturday after causing flooding in South Carolina and devastating large parts of Florida, where it claimed dozens of lives. That state’s authorities on Friday night confirmed a new toll of 23 victims, most of them by drowning and the vast majority of whom were elderly.

Some American media conjure up an even higher human toll, with CNN reporting 45 deaths.

After devastating Florida, Ian made his way to South Carolina, where it made landfall near Georgetown in the early afternoon as a Category 1 hurricane accompanied by winds up to 90 mph, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Although it later weakened to a post-tropical storm (winds up to 70 mph), its downpours caused sudden flooding in that state and North Carolina, where some areas could receive up to 20 cm of rainfall.

President Joe Biden has urged residents to heed calls for caution from local officials. In South Carolina, they asked people not to drive on the waterlogged roads.

“It’s a dangerous storm that will bring high winds and lots of water, but the most dangerous part will be human error. Be smart, make good decisions, check on loved ones and stay safe,” Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted.

According to the Hurricane Center, Ian is expected to “continue to weaken overnight and dissipate over western North Carolina or Virginia” on Saturday. According to the specialist website PowerOutage, 575,000 homes and businesses in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia were already without power as of Friday evening.

Property damage is “historic” in Florida.

In Florida, in addition to the high death toll, the material damage is also “historic”, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis that the extent that has been reached by the rising waters is unprecedented. Streets and houses were flooded and boats moored in marinas were thrown ashore by the storm. On Friday, authorities in Kissimmee, near Orlando, crossed the flooded areas in boats to rescue residents trapped in their homes.

In this state, “we are just beginning to appreciate the extent of the destruction” that is “probably among the worst” in US history, Joe Biden said during a speech. “Reconstruction will take months, years,” he lamented.

More than 1.4 million customers were left without power there as of Friday evening, two days after Ian passed through, according to PowerOutage.

“It was pretty awful, but we persevered”

In the coastal city of Fort Myers, dubbed the “epicenter” by Ron DeSantis, a handful of restaurants and bars had reopened and dozens of people sat on patios, offering residents a semblance of normality amid fallen trees and shattered facades.

“It was pretty awful, but we persevered. The roof of our house blew off, a big tree fell on our cars, our yard was flooded but other than that it’s fine,” said Dylan Gamber, 23, welcoming the solidarity seen between neighbors.

According to initial estimates, the passage of Hurricane Ian could cost insurers tens of billions of dollars and weigh on American growth, particularly through flight cancellations and damage to agricultural production. At the same time, the search found 17 passengers on a migrant boat that capsized near the Keys archipelago on Wednesday.

Rainfall associated with Hurricane Ian has increased by at least 10% due to climate change

Rainfall associated with Hurricane Ian has increased by at least 10% due to climate change, according to a first rapid study by American scientists released Friday.

“Climate change didn’t cause the hurricane, but it did make it wetter,” said Michael Wehner of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, part of the US Department of Energy, one of the scientists involved in this study.

Ian struck Cuba off Florida, causing three deaths and extensive damage, leaving many houses without power there as well.

Reference: www.europe1.fr

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