- River flooding adds to Florida’s woes
- Black neighborhood residents say they don’t get much help
- North Carolina ‘avoided the worst,’ ready to help Florida
- International Firefighters union leaders come to Florida
- Boca Grande, playground for presidents, took the hit from Ian
- DeSantis defends timing of evacuation orders
- Bidens to see the destruction of Florida firsthand
The death toll from Hurricane Ian rose to 54 and power remained without power to more than 800,000 homes and businesses across Florida on Sunday, four days after the Category 4 beast pummeled the Sunshine State’s Gulf Coast. .
The confirmed deaths included 47 in Florida, four in North Carolina and three in Cuba, where Ian first made landfall on Tuesday. The count remained fluid on Sunday.
More than 4,000 people have been rescued in Florida by local, state and federal authorities, FEMA and US Coast Guard officials said. Most survived the storm on barrier islands, with Sanibel and Pine Islands remaining essentially inaccessible. on Sunday.
The bridge to Pine Island, the largest barrier island off Florida’s Gulf Coast, was destroyed in the storm. Some residents were evacuated by helicopter.
“The water kept hitting the house and we saw, boats, houses, we saw everything fly by,” Joe Conforti said. “When the water is 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.”
Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest power company, said it has restored power to more than 1.5 million customers, including all hospitals in its service area. More than 20,000 workers participated in the restoration effort.
“Even given the unprecedented devastation caused by the storm, I can now say with confidence that our restoration will be complete in a matter of days, not weeks,” said company CEO Eric Silagy.
The weakened storm snaked up the East Coast on Sunday and continued to bring rain as far north as Washington, DC.
►BEFORE AND AFTER:A look at Ian’s damage.
► ‘IT’S LIKE A WAR ZONE’: The residents begin to rebuild.
DESTROYED HOPES:Ian, Fiona wake up to quiet hurricane season. Whats Next?
River flooding adds to Florida’s woes
Battling rising floodwaters by boat and horseback, rescuers pulled stranded residents from their homes and herded livestock to higher ground when Florida’s Myakka River burst its banks near Venice on Saturday. Locals and rescuers, long familiar with how hurricanes push water into their neighborhoods, said Hurricane Ian caused unusually high flooding, which came three days after the storm passed.
The strong storm surge was exacerbated by hours of heavy rain in central Florida, causing deep flooding inland. Several longtime residents blamed the new developments for destroying historic floodplains capable of absorbing water.
“We’re used to flooding, but we’ve never seen anything like it,” said Jennifer Stringer, 50, a high school teacher who has lived by the river since 2011. “All that water has nowhere to go.”
– trevor hughes
RIVERS OVERWHELMED BY IAN’S PUSH:After Hurricane Ian came the floods. These people came together to rescue residents, horses, cows
Black neighborhood residents say they don’t get much help
Residents of Dunbar, a storm-battered historically black area of Fort Myers, said the aftermath of Hurricane Ian will mean the city’s wealthier, majority-white neighborhoods will get power back sooner, as they generally have better power grids. Residents of Dunbar, which now also has a growing Latino population, have grown accustomed to relying on themselves and looking out for one another, some residents say.
“Anything where the majority is people of color is going to be the last thing,” said Shannon Tolbert, a dental assistant, adding that “we can get by on anything.”
– Nada Hassanein, USA TODAY
BLACK NEIGHBORHOODS AFTER A STORM:After Hurricane Ian hit Fort Myers, Black residents of the neighborhood say they don’t have much help
North Carolina ‘avoided the worst,’ ready to help Florida
In North Carolina, the storm downed trees and power lines. Three of the four deaths in the state were from storm-related vehicular tragedies, one was carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator in a garage. Gov. Roy Cooper said Sunday that dozens of highways remained closed. Still, he said “we’ve avoided the worst” and aid is already being offered to Florida.
“We stand in solidarity with the people of Florida,” Cooper said. “And since the storm passed through North Carolina, we’re already in discussions with Florida officials to try to make sure we help them. This is a time where we all need to come together to make sure people are safe.”
International Firefighters union leaders come to Florida
Leadership from the International Association of Firefighters will visit Florida firefighters in Fort Myers and join the union’s disaster relief teams who will provide members with food and water, emergency home repairs, health counseling behavioral and financial aid. Union teams were on the ground within 24 hours of Ian’s arrival, the union said in a statement.
“Our members are on the front lines of natural disasters, often working around the clock to serve their communities,” union president Edward Kelly said in a statement. “This is why it is important that they know that the IAFF is there to support them and their families in their time of need.”
Boca Grande, playground for presidents, took the hit from Ian
Historic Boca Grande, an exclusive vacation destination for presidents, movie stars and the elite of the old rich, suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Ian and communications were disrupted. But the island’s infrastructure, along with most buildings and landmarks, is largely intact and should be able to recover, according to those examining the storm’s aftermath.
Historic buildings like the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse built in 1890 and the Gasparilla Inn & Club, built in 1911 and which has housed President George HW Bush, President George W. Bush, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Katherine Hepburn and to many other celebrities. People: Survived Hurricane Ian.
“Basically, we’re not in contact with the rest of the world,” Boca Grande Fire Lt. Lee Cooper said.
–Zac Anderson, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
DeSantis defends timing of evacuation orders
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday continued to defend the timing of Southwest Florida officials’ evacuation orders amid lingering questions about whether they came too late for many residents. DeSantis recounted the changing path of Hurricane Ian, which was likely headed for Tampa Bay shortly before an eastward turn took it farther south along the Gulf Coast. Lee County emergency managers ordered evacuations Tuesday morning, a day before the deadly storm made landfall in the county with what DeSantis described as a “biblical storm surge.”
“They were following the data,” DeSantis said. “When we went to bed Monday night, people were saying this is a direct hit on Tampa Bay.”
– John Kennedy, USA TODAY Network Florida
IAN’S DEATH TOLL GOES UP:More than 1,000 rescued in Florida: updates
Bidens to see the destruction of Florida firsthand
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Florida this week, according to the White House, to see firsthand the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Ian, one of the most powerful storms to hit the nation. and the recovery being carried out by tens of thousands of local, state and federal workers and volunteers.
The Bidens will travel to Puerto Rico on Monday and then head to Florida on Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted late Saturday. Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico as a Category 1 storm on September 18.
“It’s not just a crisis for Florida,” Biden said Friday from the White House. “This is an American crisis. We are all in this together.”