At least 31 people have been confirmed dead, including 27 in Florida mostly from drowning.
Rescuers search for survivors among the rubble of homes flooded in Florida by Hurricane Ian while authorities in South Carolina begin assessing damage from its strike.
Now weakened to a post-tropical cyclone, Ian is expected to move over central North Carolina on Saturday then move into Virginia and New York.
At least 31 people have been confirmed dead, including 27 in Florida, mainly from drowning but others as a result of the catastrophic aftermath of the storm. Authorities say an elderly couple died after their oxygen ventilator went off during a power outage.
Meanwhile, distraught residents waded through knee-deep water, scooping up possible possessions from their flooded homes and loading them into rafts and canoes.
“I want to sit in the corner and cry. I don’t know what else to do,” said Stevie Scuderi after trudging through her mostly demolished Fort Myers apartment, mud in the kitchen clinging to her purple slippers.
The powerful storm, one of the most powerful and costly to ever make landfall in the United States, terrorized millions for much of the week, pounding western Cuba before making its way across Florida from the waters. warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, where it gathered enough strength for the final assault on South Carolina.
In South Carolina, Ian’s center came ashore near Georgetown, a small community along Winyah Bay 95 kilometers (60miles) north of historic Charleston. The storm washed away parts of four piers along the coast, including two connecting the popular tourist town of Myrtle Beach.
The storm’s winds were much weaker than when Ian made landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast earlier this week. Authorities and volunteers there are still assessing the damage as shocked residents try to understand what they’ve just been through.
Anthony Rivera, 25, said he had to climb through the window of his first-floor apartment during the storm to carry his grandmother and girlfriend to the second floor. As they rushed out of the high water, the high tide swept away a boat right next to his apartment.
“It was the scariest thing in the world because I couldn’t stop the boat,” he said. “I’m not a superhero.”
Pawleys Island, a beach community about 117 kilometers (73 miles) up the coast of South Carolina from Charleston, was one of the places hardest hit by Ian.
Eddie Wilder, who has been to Pawleys Island for more than six decades, said the storm was “crazy to watch”. He said waves as high as 7.6 meters (25 feet) washed away the pier, just two doors from his home.
Wilder said: “We watched it hit the pier and saw the pier disappear. “I’ve seen a few hurricanes and this one is wild… We have a front row seat.”
Although Ian had long since moved to Florida, new problems continued to arise. A 22 km (14 mi) section of Interstate 75 was closed in both directions in the Port Charlotte area due to excessive water surges in the Myakka River.
Farther southeast, the Peace River was also in a major flood stage early Saturday in Polk, Hardee and DeSoto counties.
The official death toll rises with authorities warning that it is likely to soar much higher as crews carry out a more comprehensive examination of the damage.
Hurricane Ian has the potential to cause “over $100 billion in damage,” including $63 billion in privately insured losses, according to the modeling firm, according to disaster modeling firm Karen Clark & Co. disaster Karen Clark & Co. The biggest hurricane in US history.