Ian leaves dozens dead as focus turns to rescue, recovery

Tropical_Weather_34011 In a satellite photo provided by Maxar Technologies, damage to an area of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., caused by Hurricane Ian earlier in the week, is seen Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_53145 A classic sports car sits where it landed during the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_81911 FEMA USAR South Florida Task Force 2 rescue team members evacuate John Van Fleet, who has a very swollen right leg, on the island of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Van Fleet said even though he had an injured leg, "Physically, I'm OK; mentally, I'm a basket case." Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, as a Category 4 hurricane on the southwest coast of Florida.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_Florida_78882 Local muralist Candy Miller, left, embraces Ana Kapel, the manager of the Pier Peddler, a gift shop that sold women's fashions, as she becomes emotional at the site of what used to be the store on the island of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, as a Category 4 hurricane on the southwest coast of Florida.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_Florida_01295 In this aerial photo made in a flight provided by mediccorps.org, damage from Hurricane Ian is seen on the causeway leading to Sanibel Island from Fort Myers, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_78191 Island residents await evacuation on the island of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, as a Category 4 hurricane on the southwest coast of Florida.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_45325 An airplane lies in a ditch at the Punta Gorda Airport in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, in Punta Gorda, Fla., Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_Florida_89942 A damaged airplane is seen at the Punta Gorda Airport in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, in Punta Gorda, Fla., Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_86170 In this aerial photo made in a flight provided by mediccorps.org, damage from Hurricane Ian is seen on Estero Island in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_68688 In this aerial photo made in a flight provided by mediccorps.org, damage from Hurricane Ian is seen on Estero Island in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_87562 John Van Fleet, who has a very swollen right leg, is evacuated from his home by FEMA USAR South Florida Task Force 2 rescue team members on the island of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Van Fleet said even though he had an injured leg, "Physically, I'm OK; mentally, I'm a basket case." Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022 as a Category 4 hurricane on the southwest coast of Florida.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_39273 Ana Kapel walks through what is left of the Times Square area near the Lynn Hall Pier on the island of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, as a Category 4 hurricane on the southwest coast of Florida.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_40465 A woman hands a box through a hole in her garage door on the island of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, as a Category 4 hurricane on the southwest coast of Florida.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_27545 Island residents await evacuation on the island of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, as a Category 4 hurricane on the southwest coast of Florida.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_70414 Emergency workers walk past the remains of a clothing store, blown out by Hurricane Ian, in the Times Square area near the Lynn Hall Pier on the island of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, as a Category 4 hurricane on the southwest coast of Florida.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_06117 The Times Square area near the Lynn Hall Pier has been reduced to rubble on the island of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, as a Category 4 hurricane on the southwest coast of Florida.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_25115 FEMA USAR South Florida Task Force 2 rescue team members evacuate John Van Fleet, who has a very swollen right leg, on the island of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Van Fleet said even though he had an injured leg, "Physically, I'm OK; mentally, I'm a basket case." Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, as a Category 4 hurricane on the southwest coast of Florida.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_99367 Damaged airplanes and hangars are seen at the Punta Gorda Airport in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, in Punta Gorda, Fla., Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_07671 In this aerial photo made in a flight provided by mediccorps.org, damage from Hurricane Ian is seen in St. James City, Fla., on Pine Island, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_75696 In this aerial photo made in a flight provided by mediccorps.org, damage from Hurricane Ian is seen in St. James City, Fla., on Pine Island, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_44014 In this aerial photo made in a flight provided by mediccorps.org, damage from Hurricane Ian is seen on Estero Island in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_82591 John Quigley carries a piece of artwork made by his daughter, the only thing he found to salvage from his collapsed home, as he pulls his girlfriend's son Sebastian in a cart while walking off the island, two days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_34638 Shrimp boats lie jumbled together and run aground two days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in the San Carlos Island area of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_29361 In this photo taken with a drone, debris from destroyed buildings swept from the beachfront lies amid damaged homes, two days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_77697 A figurine rests on debris in the wreckage of Red Coconut RV Park, two days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_17572 Holly Ciaglia, left, kisses her partner Evan Mackay after they found, then lost, and found again their unbroken bottle of champagne, bought to celebrate their new life in Fort Myers Beach, in the wreckage of Red Coconut RV Park, after it was destroyed in Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. After visiting Fort Myers Beach for 18 years, the couple had finally decided to move there for good, purchasing in Red Coconut three weeks ago.
Tropical_Weather_53178 Water floods a damaged trailer park in Fort Myers, Fla., on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, after Hurricane Ian passed by the area.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_03348 A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter takes off on Sanibel Island, Fla., with people affected by Hurricane Ian, as seen from inside a damaged home, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_Florida_79670 This is an aerial view of a damaged trailer park after Hurricane Ian passed by the area Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla.
Tropical_Weather_13190 A powerboat lies atop a tall pile of debris from destroyed beachfront homes and businesses, two days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_23047 Buddy Reed clears sea grass and debris from around the Pawleys Island House of Worship after Hurricane Ian, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Pawleys Island, S.C.
Tropical_Weather_26462 Holly Ciaglia looks for her and her partner Evan Mackay's personal belongings on the ground two days after their mobile home was destroyed during the passage of Hurricane Ian, at Red Coconut RV Park in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. After visiting Fort Myers Beach for 18 years, the couple had finally decided to move there for good, purchasing in Red Coconut three weeks ago.
Tropical_Weather_96779 Residents look at receding flood waters still clogging streets in the Harlem Heights neighborhood, three days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_70462 Men walk past destroyed homes and debris as they walk to survey damage to other properties, two days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_55163 Receding flood waters still fill a street in Harlem Heights, three days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_70937 Waters from a rain-swollen pond cover grass and a foot path around Quarterman Park in North Charleston, S.C., after Hurricane Ian brought sheets of rain to the area. Earlier Friday, Gov. Henry McMaster said there had been no reported deaths in the state associated with the storm, which made landfall as a Category 2 storm.
Tropical_Weather_95614 Jose Cruz, 13, carries an empty Jerrycan through receding flood waters outside his house as his family heads out to look for supplies, three days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_69210 Dusty Hollar, 57, a cancer survivor who lives with chronic illness, climbs over toppled and displaced furniture as he assesses the damage in the mobile home he shares with his 79-year-old mother in Sunshine Mobile Home Park, three days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. The family's home stayed on its foundations, unlike those of some of their neighbors, but flooding almost to the height of their ceiling destroyed most of their possessions and household items.
Tropical_Weather_Island_Disaster_23544 Rescue personnel lift a body recovered from Sanibel Island to a dock for transport to the medical examiner Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_26416 Steve Gibson, left background, helps Maria Zoltac into the back of his truck as her sister Susan, Zoltac, left, makes herself comfortable with her dogs after being rescued from Sanibel Island Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla.
Tropical_Weather_00248 Nita Ross, 79, looks for clothes and personal items that she can salvage from amidst a mud-coated jumble of toppled furniture, in the bedroom of her mobile home in Sunshine Mobile Home Park, three days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Ross' home stayed on its foundations, unlike those of some of her neighbors, but storm flooding almost to the height of the ceiling destroyed most of her possessions and household items.
Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_18733 Docks on the the inlet between Pawleys Island and the mainland show damage following winds and rain from Hurricane Ian on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Pawleys Island, S.C.
Tropical_Weather_76228 Furniture and personal items lie jumbled in the living room of Nita Ross, 79, as she returns to her mobile home for the first time since the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Sunshine Mobile Home Park in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Ross' home stayed on its foundations, unlike those of some of her neighbors, but storm flooding almost to the height of the ceiling destroyed most of her possessions and household items.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_76228 Furniture and personal items lie jumbled in the living room of Nita Ross, 79, as she returns to her mobile home for the first time since the passage of Hurricane Ian, at the Sunshine Mobile Home Park in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Ross' home stayed on its foundations, unlike those of some of her neighbors, but storm flooding almost to the height of the ceiling destroyed most of her possessions and household items.
Tropical_Weather_25266 Maryann Loh walks down the dock after being rescued from Sanibel Island after Hurricane Ian passed by the area Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla.
Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_94314 Pylons from the storied Pawleys Island Pier lie on the shore on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Pawleys Island, S.C. Winds and surge from Hurricane Ian broke apart the pier on Friday, scattering its pieces along expanses of the nearby beach.
Tropical_Weather_90097 Steve Gibson loads a dog into the back of his pickup truck after it was rescued along with it's owners from Sanibel Island Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla.
Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_96978 Walter McGee stands next to his flooded car on Pawleys Island, S.C., on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. McGee rode out Hurricane Ian from his rental property as the storm pushed tons of sand from beach dunes under homes and across the town's handful of roads.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_28676 Dirk Russell, who has medical issues, lies on the sofa in his waterlogged home that flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Pine Island, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. The only bridge to the island is heavily damaged so it can only be reached by boat or air.
Tropical_Weather_08011 Nita Ross, 79, uses a flashlight to look at the jumble of toppled and displaced furniture in her bedroom, as she returns to check on her mobile home for the first time since the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Sunshine Mobile Home Park in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Ross' home stayed on its foundations, unlike those of some of her neighbors, but storm flooding almost to the height of the ceiling destroyed most of her possessions and household items.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_85453 Members of the National Guard ride in a rescue truck down a flooded road in Geneva, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. The area is heavily flooded after Hurricane Ian.
Tropical_Weather_14469 Members of the US Army National Guard hand out water, food, and ice to local residents in need three days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, at a drive-through distribution point in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_88365 Heide Haydu hugs a friend as they part ways after evacuating from Estero Island in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, three days after Hurricane Ian bore down on the barrier island. Haydu lives in the region and was staying at a beachfront resort with her husband on Estero Island when the storm hit.
Tropical_Weather_18614 Helen Koch, a dog breeder, holds one of her 17 dogs as she is evacuated by helicopter by members of mediccorps.org, who arrived with two helicopters, paramedics and volunteers, help evacuate residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Pine Island, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. The only bridge to the island is heavily damaged so it can only be reached by boat or air.
Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_61226 A section of the Pawleys Island pier was lost in the effects from Hurricane Ian, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Pawleys Island, S.C.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_36498 Physician Karen Calkins tends to Mona Guibord, 94, as she waits to be evacuated from Pine Island, Fla., in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. The only bridge to the island is heavily damaged so it can only be reached by boat or air.
Tropical_Weather_93162 Members of mediccorps.org help evacuate Tom Acerbo in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Pine Island, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. The group arrived on the island with two helicopters, paramedics and volunteers, as the only bridge to the island is heavily damaged so the only access is by boat or air.
Tropical_Weather_62789 A Fire Rescue vehicle drops off two people evacuating from Estero Island alongside a sign put up by "Cowboy" Dave Graham to invite people to take advantage of his talk support stand across the street, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Cowboy Dave travels to communities that have suffered traumatic events to offer support to survivors by listening to them.
Tropical_Weather_68126 Cars navigate an intersection with no working traffic lights, a common sight as many areas remain without power three days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in south Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_87466 People line up to receive a hot meal from popular Miami food trucks brought in by the non-profit World Central Kitchen, which funds locally-sourced hot meals for people in disaster zones, in Cape Coral, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, three days after the passage of Hurricane Ian.
Tropical_Weather_81114 "Cowboy" Dave Graham of Ohio, left, who travels to communities that have suffered traumatic events to offer support by listening to survivors, speaks with John, a resident of San Carlos Island whose mobile home was destroyed in Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_90870 A sign placed by a resident asks that a boat that landed on their lawn during Hurricane Ian please be removed, in south Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_44890 A sign placed by a resident asks that a boat that landed on their lawn during Hurricane Ian please be removed, as debris and items ruined by flooding are laid out on the curb, in south Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_60504 Estero Island residents bike back across the bridge toward San Carlos Island as residents are given assistance to evacuate following extensive damage to the island from Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_42838 Thomas Fischer waits for a ride with belongings recovered from his ruined home after evacuating from Estero Island, on San Carlos Island in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, three days after the passage of Hurricane Ian. Fischer said he and his family rode out the storm in their home's attic and had to punch a hole through the roof to get out after it filled with water. In the immediate aftermath, Fischer helped rescue elderly neighbors and recover the body of one neighbor who did not survive.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_63912 Tony Rivera carries items recovered from his family's waterlogged car through receding flood waters still filling a street in the Harlem Heights neighborhood, three days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_87809 Water floods a damaged trailer park in Fort Myers, Fla., on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, after Hurricane Ian passed by the area.
Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_19594 Heavy equipment is trucked onto the island after the effects from Hurricane Ian, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Pawleys Island, S.C.
Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_10000 What remains of a pier stands at Pawleys Island, S.C., on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Winds, rain and surf from Hurricane Ian pounded Pawleys on Friday, pushing tons of sand from beach dunes under homes and across the town's handful of roads and breaking apart the pier.
Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_66221 Pylons from the storied Pawleys Island Pier lie on the shore on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Pawleys Island, S.C. Winds and surge from Hurricane Ian broke apart the pier on Friday, scattering its pieces along expanses of the nearby beach.
Tropical_Weather_57213 Water floods a damaged trailer park in Fort Myers, Fla., on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, after Hurricane Ian passed by the area.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_64963 Damage to a trailer park is seen after Hurricane Ian passed by the area Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_79670 This is an aerial view of a damaged trailer park after Hurricane Ian passed by the area Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_78379 A child runs under a fallen tree from the effects from Hurricane Ian, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Charleston, S.C.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_17572 Holly Ciaglia, left, kisses her partner Evan Mackay after they found, then lost, and found again their unbroken bottle of champagne, bought to celebrate their new life in Fort Myers Beach, in the wreckage of Red Coconut RV Park, after it was destroyed in Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. After visiting Fort Myers Beach for 18 years, the couple had finally decided to move there for good, purchasing in Red Coconut three weeks ago.
Tropical_Weather_13830 Dusty Hollar, 57, a cancer survivor who lives with chronic illness, carries the urn containing his father's ashes, as he recovers a few personal items from the mobile home that he shares with his 80-year-old mother in Sunshine Mobile Home Park, three days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. The family's home stayed on its foundations, unlike those of some of their neighbors, but flooding almost to the height of their ceiling destroyed most of their possessions and household items.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_10386 Businesses near the beach lie in ruins as others were completely swept away, two days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_43989 Nita Ross, 79, walks on the mud-coated floor of her kitchen, as she returns to her mobile home for the first time since the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Sunshine Mobile Home Park in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Ross' home stayed on its foundations, unlike those of some of her neighbors, but storm flooding almost to the height of the ceiling destroyed most of her possessions and household items.
(1/78)

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Dozens of Florida residents left their flooded and splintered homes by boat and by air on Saturday as rescuers continued to search for survivors in the wake of Hurricane Ian, while authorities in South Carolina and North Carolina began taking stock of their losses.

The death toll from the storm, one of the strongest hurricanes by wind speed to ever hit the U.S., grew to more than four dozen, with 47 deaths confirmed in Florida, four in North Carolina and three in Cuba. The storm weakened Saturday as it rolled into the mid-Atlantic, but not before it washed out bridges and piers, hurdled massive boats into buildings onshore and sheared roofs off homes, leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

The bulk of the deaths confirmed in Florida were from drowning in storm waters, but others from Ian’s tragic aftereffects. An older couple died when they lost power and their oxygen machines shut off, authorities said.

As of Saturday, more than 1,000 people had been rescued from flooded areas along Florida’s southwestern coast alone, Daniel Hokanson, a four-star general and head of the National Guard, told The Associated Press while airborne to Florida.

Later in the evening, the White House announced that President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden would travel to Florida on Wednesday. No other details of Biden’s visit were immediately released.

Chris Schnapp was at the Port Sanibel Marina in Fort Myers on Saturday, waiting to see whether her 83-year-old mother-in-law had been evacuated from Sanibel Island. A pontoon boat arrived carrying a load of passengers from the island — with suitcases and animals in tow — but Schnapp’s mother-in-law was not among them.

“She stayed on the island. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law own two businesses over there. They evacuated. She did not want to go,” Schnapp said. Now, she said, she wasn’t sure if her mother-in-law was still on the island or had been taken to a shelter somewhere.

On Pine Island, the largest barrier island off Florida’s Gulf Coast, houses were reduced to splinters and boats littered roadways as a volunteer rescue group went door-to-door, asking residents if they wanted to be evacuated. People described the horror of being trapped in their homes as water kept rising.

“The water just kept pounding the house and we watched, boats, houses — we watched everything just go flying by,” Joe Conforti said as he fought back tears. He said if it wasn’t for his wife, who suggested they get up on a table to avoid the rising water, he wouldn’t have made it: “I started to lose sensibility, because when the water’s at your door and it’s splashing on the door and you’re seeing how fast it’s moving, there’s no way you’re going to survive that.”

River flooding posed a major challenge at times to rescue and supply delivery efforts. The Myakka River washed over a stretch of Interstate 75, forcing a traffic-snarling highway closure for a while. The key corridor links Tampa to the north with the hard-hit southwest Florida region that straddles Port Charlotte and Fort Myers. Later Saturday, state officials said, water levels had receded enough that I-75 could be fully reopened.

While rising waters in Florida’s southwest rivers have crested or are near cresting, the levels aren’t expected to drop significantly for days, said National Weather Service meteorologist Tyler Fleming in Tampa.

Elsewhere, South Carolina’s Pawleys Island — a beach community roughly 75 miles (115 kilometers) up the coast from Charleston — was among the places hardest hit. Power remained knocked out to at least half of the island Saturday.

Eddie Wilder, who has been coming to Pawleys Island for more than six decades, said Friday’s storm was “insane.” He said waves as high as 25 feet (7.6 meters) washed away the local pier, an iconic landmark.

“We watched it hit the pier and saw the pier disappear,” said Wilder, whose house 30 feet (9 meters) above the ocean stayed dry inside. “We watched it crumble and and watched it float by with an American flag.”

The Pawleys pier was one of at least four along South Carolina’s coast destroyed by battering winds and rain. Meanwhile, the intracoastal waterway was strewn with the remnants of several boat houses knocked off their pilings.

John Joseph, whose father built the family’s beige beach house in 1962, said Saturday he was elated to return from Georgetown — which took a direct hit. He found his Pawleys Island home entirely intact.

“Thank God these walls are still here, and we feel very blessed that this is the worst thing,” he said of sand that had swept under his home. “What happened in Florida — gosh, God bless us. If we’d had a Category 4, I wouldn’t be here.“

In North Carolina, the storm claimed four lives and mostly downed trees and power lines, leaving over 280,000 people statewide without power at one point Saturday morning, officials said. The outages were down sharply hours later, after crews worked to restore power.

Two of the North Carolina deaths were from storm-related vehicle crashes, while officials said a man drowned when his truck plunged into a swamp and another was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator in a garage.

At Port Sanibel Marina in Fort Myers, charter boat captain Ryan Kane inspected damage to two boats Saturday. The storm surge pushed several boats and a dock onshore. He said the boat he owns was totaled so he couldn’t use it to help rescue people. Now, he said, it would be a long time before he’d be chartering fishing clients again.

“There’s a hole in the hull. It took water in the motors. It took water in everything,” he said, adding: “You know boats are supposed to be in the water, not in parking lots.”

___

Kinnard reported from Pawleys Island, South Carolina; Associated Press contributors include Freida Frisaro in Miami; Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida; Gerald Herbert in Pine Island, Florida; Mike Pesoli in Lehigh Acres, Florida; Sarah Rankin in Richmond, Virginia; and Amy Forliti in Minneapolis.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Related Categories:

National News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up