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Ian death toll climbs to 54; over 4,000 people rescued in Florida: Live updates

Written by on October 2, 2022

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The loss of life toll from Hurricane Ian rose to 54 and energy remained out to greater than 800,000 properties and companies throughout Florida on Sunday, 4 days after the Class Four beast slammed ashore along the state’s Gulf Coast.

Confirmed fatalities included 47 in Florida, 4 in North Carolina and three in Cuba, the place Ian made its first landfall Tuesday. The depend remained fluid Sunday. 

Over 4,000 individuals have been rescued in Florida by native, state and federal authorities, FEMA and U.S. Coast Guard officers mentioned. Most rode out the storm on barrier islands — and Sanibel and Pine islands remained basically inaccessible Sunday.

Elements of the causeway to Sanibel collapsed, and the bridge to Pine, the biggest barrier island off Florida’s Gulf Coast, was destroyed by the storm. Some residents had been evacuated by helicopter. 

“The water simply stored pounding the home and we watched boats, homes – we watched every part simply go flying by,” resident Joe Conforti mentioned. “When the water’s at your door, and it’s splashing on the door and also you’re seeing how briskly it’s transferring, there’s no approach you’re going to outlive that.”

Florida Energy & Mild, the state’s largest energy firm, mentioned it had restored electrical energy to greater than 1.5 million prospects, together with all hospitals in its service space. Greater than 20,000 employees had been concerned within the restoration effort.

“Even given the unprecedented devastation attributable to the storm, I can now confidently say that our restoration shall be accomplished in a matter of days, not weeks,” firm CEO Eric Silagy mentioned.

The weakened storm was meandering up the East Coast on Sunday, persevering with to deliver rain as far north as Washington, D.C.

►BEFORE AND AFTER:A look at Ian’s damage.

► ‘IT’S LIKE A WAR ZONE’: Residents start to rebuild.

SHATTERED HOPES:Ian, Fiona wake up a quiet hurricane season. What’s next?

River flooding provides to Florida’s woes

Battling rising floodwaters on boat and horseback, rescuers plucked stranded residents from their properties and herded cattle to greater floor because the Myakka River in Florida  overflowed its banks close to Venice on Saturday. Locals and rescuers, lengthy accustomed to how hurricanes push water into their neighborhoods, mentioned Ian drove unusually excessive flooding, which got here three days after the storm’s passage.

The heavy storm surge was exacerbated by hours of pounding rainfall in Central Florida – resulting in deep inland flooding. A number of longtime residents blamed new developments for destroying historic floodplains ready to take in the water.

“We’re used to flooding, however we’ve by no means seen something like this,” mentioned Jennifer Stringer, 50, a highschool trainer who has lived alongside the river since 2011. “All that water has no place to go.”

Trevor Hughes

RIVERS OVERWHELMED BY IAN’S PUSH:After Hurricane Ian came the floods. These people rallied to rescue residents, horses, cows

Black neighborhood residents say they aren’t relying on a lot assist

Residents of Dunbar, a historically Black area of storm-battered Fort Myers, mentioned the aftermath of Hurricane Ian will imply town’s wealthier, majority-white neighborhoods will get energy again sooner since they usually having higher energy grids. These in Dunbar, which now additionally includes a rising Latino inhabitants, have grown accustomed to relying on themselves and looking for one another, some residents say.

“Something the place it’s majority individuals of coloration, it’s going to be final,” mentioned Shannon Tolbert, a dental assistant, including, “We are able to survive off something.”

Vice President Kamala Harris has mentioned communities of coloration typically take the brunt of pure disasters, “so now we have to deal with this in a approach that’s about giving assets primarily based on fairness.”

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell mentioned Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that she has been engaged on eradicating obstacles for individuals in these communities to get assist from the company, but additionally identified these packages can be found to all affected by occasions like Hurricane Ian.

“We’ll help all communities,” Criswell mentioned. “I dedicated that to the governor, I decide to you proper right here that each one Floridians are going to have the ability to get the assistance that’s obtainable to them by our packages.”

Nada Hassanein, USA TODAY

BLACK NEIGHBORHOODS AFTER A STORM:After Hurricane Ian hits Fort Myers, Black neighborhood residents say they aren’t counting on much help

‘I simply knew we might not make it’: Scary tales from those that rode out storm

Irrespective of how dire the warnings of officers urging individuals to depart or search protected shelter as a hurricane approaches, some residents at all times select to experience out the storm. 

After Ian, some in southwest Florida are having second ideas.

Ian made landfall in that a part of the state as a Class Four hurricane packing sustained winds of as much as 150 mph, disconnecting Sanibel and Pine islands from the mainland, wiping away massive components of Fort Myers Seashore and bringing a number of toes of water into inland neighborhoods in Cape Coral.

Even some locals with loads of hurricane expertise told tales of woes they’d never gone through before. 

At Pelican Bay close to Naples, newcomers Robert Reecer and his spouse rode out Ian at house and realized that may not have been smart as their veranda flooded, seeping water into the home. He stuffed the underside of doorways with towels to maintain water that reached his ankles from spreading too quick, then took blankets, consuming water and an axe to the attic.

“Being within the attic listening to wind blowing 120 miles per hour and attempting to get involved with household I assumed I could by no means see once more was the worst half,” Reecer mentioned. “I simply knew we might not make it.” 

– Stefania Lugli, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

North Carolina ‘prevented the worst of it,’ prepared to assist Florida

In North Carolina, the storm downed bushes and energy traces. Three of the 4 deaths within the state had been from storm-related car tragedies, one was carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator in a storage. Gov. Roy Cooper mentioned Sunday that dozens of roads remained closed. Nonetheless, he mentioned “now we have prevented the worst of it,” and assistance is already being provided to Florida.

“We sympathize with the individuals in Florida,” Cooper mentioned. “And for the reason that storm has handed North Carolina, we’re already in discussions with Florida officers to attempt to make it possible for we assist them. It is a time once we all have to drag collectively to make it possible for individuals are protected.”

Boca Grande, playground for presidents, took hit from Ian

Historic Boca Grande, an unique trip vacation spot for presidents, film stars and outdated cash elite, suffered in depth harm from Hurricane Ian and communications had been down. However the island’s infrastructure, together with most buildings and landmarks, largely is intact and may be capable to get better, in accordance with these surveying the storm’s aftermath.

Historic buildings such because the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse inbuilt 1890 and the Gasparilla Inn & Membership – which was inbuilt 1911 and has hosted President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Katherine Hepburn and many different well-known individuals – survived Hurricane Ian.

“Mainly we’re not involved with the remainder of the world,” Boca Grande Fireplace Lieutenant Lee Cooper mentioned.

–Zac Anderson, Sarasota Herald-Tribune 

DeSantis defends timing of evacuation orders

Gov. Ron DeSantis continued Saturday to defend the timing of evacuation orders by Southwest Florida officers amid lingering questions about whether or not they got here too late for a lot of residents. DeSantis recounted the shifting path of Hurricane Ian, which was seen as doubtless concentrating on Tampa Bay shortly earlier than an eastward flip introduced it additional south alongside the Gulf Coast. Lee County emergency managers ordered evacuations Tuesday morning, a day earlier than the lethal storm made landfall within the county with what DeSantis described as “biblical storm surge.” 

“They had been following the info,” DeSantis mentioned. “After we went to mattress Monday evening, individuals had been saying it is a direct hit on Tampa Bay.”

John Kennedy, USA TODAY Community Florida

IAN DEATH TOLL RISES:More than 1,000 rescued in Florida: Updates

Bidens to see Florida destruction first-hand

President Joe Biden and first woman Jill Biden will journey to Florida this week, in accordance with the White Home, to see firsthand the widespread harm attributable to Hurricane Ian, probably the most highly effective storms to strike the nation, and the restoration being carried out by tens of 1000’s of native, state and federal employees and volunteers.

The Bidens will journey to Puerto Rico on Monday after which head to Florida on Wednesday, White Home press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted Saturday evening. Hurricane Fiona slammed Puerto Rico as a Class 1 storm on Sept. 18.

“It’s not only a disaster for Florida,” Biden mentioned Friday from the White Home. “That is an American disaster. We’re all on this collectively.”

Sergio Bustos, USA TODAY Community Florida

Contributing: The Related Press

Residents of apartments in Harlem Heights, Fla., clean out clothes and other possessions from their apartments swamped by flood waters from Hurricane Ian, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.