Ian lashes South Carolina as Florida’s death toll climbs

Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_52768 A motorist drives though high water, as another turns around during the effects from Hurricane Ian, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Charleston, S.C.
Tropical_Weather_49346 This photo provided by the Myrtle Beach Fire Dept., crews respond to rescue people who were trapped on the second floor due to flooding caused by Hurricane Ian, on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Tropical_Weather_90182 A North Carolina Department of Transportation sign along I-40 near RDU International Airport issues a Tropical Storm Warning, as remnants of Hurricane Ian move into the area on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Cary, N.C.
Tropical_Weather_Biden_71702 President Joe Biden speaks about the ongoing federal response efforts for Hurricane Ian from the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_Homes_Lost_98916 In this image made from video, debris lies scattered at a home on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, after Hurricane Ian hit North Fort Myers, Fla.
Tropical_Weather_Homes_Lost_80114 In this image made from video, James Burdette speaks during an interview on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, after Hurricane Ian hit North Fort Myers, Fla.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_11376 Wind gusts, blowing down King Street, twist umbrellas during Hurricane Ian in Charleston, S.C., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_91133 A massive tree split during the winds and rains of Hurricane Ian bends over power lines and spills out into the street, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in North Charleston, S.C.
Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_18244 A massive tree split during the winds and rains of Hurricane Ian bends over power lines and spills out into the street on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in North Charleston, S.C.
APTIOPIX_Tropical_Weather_34816 Debbie and Lou Evans push their dog Brody on a hotel luggage cart they found amidst the wreckage, as they come to check on their home, two days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_43271 In this photo taken with a drone, displaced and damage homes are seen two days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_44008 In this photo taken with a drone, debris and damaged buildings are seen two days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_49058 In this photo taken with a drone, debris from destroyed buildings lies amidst damaged homes, two days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_80576 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_Florida_46877 Water streams past buildings on the oceanfront after Hurricane Ian passed by the area, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Sanibel Island, Fla.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_54592 University of Central Florida students are evacuate after apartment complex near the campus was totally flooded by rain from Hurricane Ian, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/John Raoux)
Tropical_Weather_Florida_45692 Family members work together to repair a home after a tree branch fell, damaging the roof, in Fort Myers, Fla., Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_85191 Volunteers with the Metropolitan Ministries World Central kitchen prepare sandwiches that will go to Hurricane Ian survivors in Southwest Florida, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.
Tropical_Weather_Florida_00420 Owner Robert Leisure walks into what used to be the gift shop of the Getaway Marina in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday, Sept. 28, as a Category 4 hurricane on the southwest coast of Florida.
Tropical_Weather_South_Carolina_35286 People walk along the beach on Sullivan's Island as winds from Hurricane Ian begin to kick up surf in the Charleston, S.C., area on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_00505 A man takes a selfie in front of white-capped waves in Charleston Harbor as winds from Hurricane Ian begin to roll in to the Charleston, S.C., area on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_70866 Friends seeing each other for the first time since the passage of Hurricane Ian stop to embrace, as they walk and bike on the island to collect belongings from whatever remains of their homes, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_54824 Evan Mackay writes a note asking passerby to please not take he and his partner's electric bikes, which weren't working, after they found them while hunting for their belongings amidst the wreckage of Red Coconut RV park, in Fort Myers Beach, after the park 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_94624 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers walk with Bobby, right, and Sue Stillwell, left, to retrieve their luggage from a third-floor beachfront condo, as FWC officials help the couple to evacuate, after Hurricane Ian tore through about one week into the couple's planned three month vacation, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
CORRECTION_Tropical_Weather_95254 CORRECTS TO FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION NOT FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE - Clay Wagner, of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, assists Bobby Stillwell with his luggage, as FWC officials help Stillwell and his wife evacuate from a third-story beachfront condo, after Hurricane Ian tore through about one week into the couple's planned three month vacation, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_03549 Residents wait for their phones to charge at a mobile charging station set up in the back of truck by a volunteer from outside the island, two days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_05912 A road is completely filled with 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_50645 Shower stalls are all that remain of the bathhouse at Red Coconut RV Park, two days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_81549
Tropical_Weather_93136 Jordan, right, and Chris Libak of south Fort Myers pilot their boat as the couple and their friends volunteer to do wellness checks and provide assistance to people isolated in their homes, two days after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_90167 This Planet Labs satellite image shows damages on the barrier island of Sanibel, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, after a powerful storm went through the area. A revived Hurricane Ian pounded coastal South Carolina on Friday, ripping apart piers and flooding streets after the ferocious storm caused catastrophic damage in Florida, trapping thousands in their homes and leaving multiple people dead.
Tropical_Weather_91127 This Planet Labs satellite image shows damages on an island in the Sanibel Causeway, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, after a powerful storm went through the area. A revived Hurricane Ian pounded coastal South Carolina on Friday, ripping apart piers and flooding streets after the ferocious storm caused catastrophic damage in Florida, trapping thousands in their homes and leaving multiple people dead.
Tropical_Weather_69329 Volunteers with the Metropolitan Ministries World Central kitchen prepare sandwiches that will go to Hurricane Ian survivors in Southwest Florida, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.
Tropical_Weather_19466 This combination satellite image provided by Planet Labs shows the Sanibel Causeway, Fla., left, taken on July 4, 2021, and damage of the causeway taken Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, after a powerful storm went through the area. A revived Hurricane Ian pounded coastal South Carolina on Friday, ripping apart piers and flooding streets after the ferocious storm caused catastrophic damage in Florida, trapping thousands in their homes and leaving multiple people dead.
Tropical_Weather_37040 Boys play in receding floodwaters after the passage of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.
Tropical_Weather_43443 This Planet Labs satellite image shows the Sanibel Causeway, Fla., on July 4, 2021. A revived Hurricane Ian pounded coastal South Carolina on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, ripping apart piers and flooding streets after the ferocious storm caused catastrophic damage in Florida, trapping thousands in their homes and leaving multiple people dead.
Tropical_Weather_97743 This Planet Labs satellite image shows damage on islands of the Sanibel Causeway, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, after a powerful storm went through the area. A revived Hurricane Ian pounded coastal South Carolina on Friday, ripping apart piers and flooding streets after the ferocious storm caused catastrophic damage in Florida, trapping thousands in their homes and leaving multiple people dead.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_Florida_65967
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Edward Segal, author of ''Crisis Ahead: 101 Ways to Prepare for and Bounce Back from Disasters, Scandals, and Other Emergencies' discusses the effects of Hurricane Ian.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A revived Hurricane Ian pounded coastal South Carolina on Friday, ripping apart piers and flooding streets after the ferocious storm caused catastrophic damage in Florida, trapping thousands in their homes and leaving at least 27 people dead.

The powerful storm, estimated to be one of the costliest hurricanes ever to hit the U.S., has terrorized people for much of the week — pummeling western Cuba and raking across Florida before gathering strength in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean to curve back and strike South Carolina.

While Ian’s center came ashore near Georgetown, South Carolina, on Friday with much weaker winds than when it crossed Florida’s Gulf Coast earlier in the week, the storm left many areas of Charleston’s downtown peninsula under water. It also washed away parts of four piers along the coast, including two at Myrtle Beach.

Online cameras showed seawater filling neighborhoods in Garden City to calf level. As Ian moved across South Carolina on its way to North Carolina Friday evening, it dropped from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone.

Ian left a broad swath of destruction in Florida, flooding areas on both of its coasts, tearing homes from their slabs, demolishing beachfront businesses and leaving more than 2 million people without power.

Even though the storm system has long passed over Florida, new issues were still presenting themselves Friday night. A 14-mile (22-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 75 was closed in both directions in the Port Charlotte area because of the amount of water in the Myakka River.

Many of the deaths were drownings, including that of a 68-year-old woman swept away into the ocean by a wave. A 67-year-old man who was waiting to be rescued died after falling into rising water inside his home, authorities said.

Other storm-related fatalities included a 22-year-old woman who died after an ATV rollover from a road washout and a 71-year-old man who fell off a roof while putting up rain shutters. An 80-year-old woman and a 94-year-old man who relied on oxygen machines also died after the equipment stopped working during power outages.

Another three people died in Cuba earlier in the week as the storm churned northward. The death toll was expected to increase substantially once emergency officials have an opportunity to search many of the hardest-hit areas.

Rescue crews piloted boats and waded through riverine streets in Florida after the storm to save thousands of people trapped amid flooded homes and shattered buildings .

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that crews had gone door-to-door to over 3,000 homes in the hardest-hit areas.

“There’s really been a Herculean effort,” he said during a news conference in Tallahassee.

Hurricane Ian has likely caused “well over $100 billion’’ in damage, including $63 billion in privately insured losses, according to the disaster modeling firm Karen Clark & Company, which regularly issues flash catastrophe estimates. If those numbers are borne out, that would make Ian at least the fourth costliest hurricane in U.S. history.

Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said first responders have focused so far on “hasty” searches, aimed at emergency rescues and initial assessments, which will be followed by two additional waves of searches. Initial responders who come across possible remains are leaving them without confirming, he said Friday, describing as an example the case of a submerged home.

“The water was up over the rooftop, right, but we had a Coast Guard rescue swimmer swim down into it and he could identify that it appeared to be human remains. We do not know exactly how many,” Guthrie said.

Desperate to locate and rescue their loved ones, social media users shared phone numbers, addresses and photos of their family members and friends online for anyone who can check on them.

Orlando residents returned to flooded homes Friday, rolling up their pants to wade through muddy, knee-high water in their streets. Friends of Ramon Rodriguez dropped off ice, bottled water and hot coffee at the entrance to his subdivision, where 10 of the 50 homes were flooded and the road looked like a lake. He had no power or food at his house, and his car was trapped by the water.

“There’s water everywhere,” Rodriguez said. “The situation here is pretty bad.”

The devastating storm surge destroyed many older homes on the barrier island of Sanibel, Florida, and gouged crevices into its sand dunes. Taller condominium buildings were intact but with the bottom floor blown out. Trees and utility poles were strewn everywhere.

Municipal rescuers, private teams and the Coast Guard used boats and helicopters Friday to evacuate residents who stayed for the storm and then were cut off from the mainland when a causeway collapsed. Volunteers who went to the island on personal watercraft helped escort an elderly couple to an area where Coast Guard rescuers took them aboard a helicopter.

Hours after weakening to a tropical storm while crossing the Florida peninsula, Ian regained strength Thursday evening over the Atlantic. Ian made landfall in South Carolina with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph). When it hit Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday, it was a powerful Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph (240 kph).

After the heaviest of the rainfall blew through Charleston, Will Shalosky examined a large elm tree in front of his house that had fallen across his downtown street. He noted the damage could have been much worse.

“If this tree has fallen a different way, it would be in our house,” Shalosky said. “It’s pretty scary, pretty jarring.”

Ian’s heavy rains and winds crossed into North Carolina on Friday evening. Gov. Roy Cooper warned residents to be vigilant, given that up to 8 inches (20.3 centimeters) of rain could fall in some areas.

“Hurricane Ian is at our door. Expect drenching rain and sustained heavy winds over most of our state,” Cooper said. “Our message today is simple: Be smart and be safe.”

In Washington, President Joe Biden said he was directing “every possible action be taken to save lives and get help to survivors.”

“It’s going to take months, years to rebuild,” Biden said.

“I just want the people of Florida to know, we see what you’re going through and we’re with you.”

___

Gomez Licon reported from Punta Gorda, Florida; Associated Press contributors include Anthony Izaguirre in Tallahassee, Florida, Terry Spencer and Tim Reynolds in Fort Myers, Florida; Cody Jackson in Tampa, Florida; Freida Frisaro in Miami; Mike Schneider in Orlando, Florida; Seth Borenstein in Washington; Bobby Caina Calvan in New York, and Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina.

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

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