Hurricane Ian: Danger persists, worsening in parts


People kayaking on passable streets just a day or two before. Hundreds of thousands without electricity. National Guard helicopters carry out rescue missions for residents still stranded on Florida’s barrier islands.

In the days after Hurricane Ian created a devastating path from Florida to the Carolinas, the dangers persisted and were even worse in some places. It was clear that the road to recovery from this monster storm would be long and painful.

And Ian wasn’t done yet. The storm brought rain to Virginia on Sunday, and officials warned of the possibility of severe flooding along its coast, starting Monday night.

The ruins of Ian move offshore and form a large vessel that is expected to dump more water into the already flooded Chesapeake Bay and threaten to cause the most severe tidal inundation event in the Hampton region. Roads of Virginia for the past 10 to 15 years, said Cody Poche, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The island town of Chincoteague declared a state of emergency on Sunday and specifically advised residents in some areas to evacuate. The East Coast and northern portion of North Carolina’s Outer Banks are also likely to be affected.

At least 68 people are confirmed dead: 61 in Florida, 4 in North Carolina and 3 in Cuba.

With the death toll rising, Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the federal government stands ready to help in a big way, focusing first and foremost on victims in Florida, which bore the brunt of one of the strongest storms to make landfall. in U.S.A. US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are scheduled to visit the state on Wednesday.

Flooded roads and washed-out bridges to barrier islands leave many isolated amid limited cell phone service and a lack of basic amenities such as water, electricity and internet. Officials warned that the situation in many areas is not expected to improve over the next few days as the rain has subsided to nowhere else possible due to the inflows of water.

Fewer than 620,000 homes and businesses in Florida remained without power early Monday, down from a peak of 2.6 million.

Criswell told “Fox News Sunday” that the federal government, which includes the Coast Guard and the US Department of Defense, has moved in on “the largest amount of search and rescue assets that I think we’ve ever had. previously booked.”

However, recovery will take time, said Criswell, who visited the state on Friday and Saturday to assess the damage and speak to survivors. She warns that danger remains with power lines downed in standing water.

More than 1,600 people have been rescued statewide, according to Florida’s emergency management agency.

Rescue missions are still ongoing, especially for Florida’s barrier islands, which were cut off from the mainland as storm surge destroyed causeways and bridges.

The state will build a temporary walkway for the largest walkway, Pine Island, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Sunday, adding that an allocation has been approved for the Department of Transportation to build it this week and construction can start as early as Monday.

“It won’t be a full bridge, you’ll have to cross it maybe 5 miles an hour or something, but at least it’ll let people in and out of the island in their own vehicle,” the governor said. said at a press conference.

The Coast Guard, municipal and private fleets have been using helicopters, boats and even jets to evacuate people for days.

In rural Seminole County, north of Orlando, residents armed with waders, boots and bug spray to paddle to their flooded homes on Sunday.

Ben Bertat found 4 inches (10 cm) of water in his house by Lake Harney after kayaking there.

“I think it’s going to get worse because all this water has to go into the lake,” Bertat said, pointing to the water flooding a nearby road. “With the saturation of the ground, all this swamp is full and it can’t take any more water. It doesn’t seem to be any lower.”

Elsewhere, at least half of South Carolina’s Pawleys Island, a beach community about 75 miles (115 km) from Charleston, remained without power. In North Carolina, the storm knocked out trees and power lines.


Associated Press correspondent Rebecca Santana in Ft. Myers; Brendan Farrington and Anthony Izaguirre in Tallahassee; David Fischer in Miami; Sarah Rankin of Richmond, Va.; and Richard Lardner in Washington contributed to this report.


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