Ian slows as hurricane death toll rises in Florida

Charleston, South Carolina – Death toll Hurricane Ian It soared to more than 77 Saturday as it pushed north from the Carolinas as one of the strongest and costliest storms to ever hit the U.S. — leaving a trifecta of dangerous flooding, power outages and massive destruction.

Hurricane Ian was downgraded to a post-tropical storm after moving across Florida on Wednesday with sustained winds of 150 mph. South Carolina It was expected to weaken further as it moved into south-central Virginia late Saturday before rolling into the mid-Atlantic.

The storm still has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

But the NHC warned of weekend and continued flooding in urban and rural areas across the central Appalachians and southern Mid-Atlantic region. Athadha river floods In some parts of Florida

77 confirmed storm-related deaths have been recorded in Florida, according to a tally by state officials and NBC News. Local officials warned that the death toll could rise further as rescue efforts continued and floodwaters receded from areas full of collapsed houses.

At least 1,100 rescues have been made since Ian made landfall in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a press conference Saturday.

“There’s a tremendous amount of support, and I’ve seen a lot of pushback in this community of people who want to lift themselves up and they want to get their communities back on their feet,” DeSantis told reporters. “We’ll be here and we’ll help every step of the way.”

Commanding the Coast Guard in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Rear Adm. Brendan McPherson told the Today Show on Saturday morning. Power outages Rescue efforts have been complicated by the fact that people in affected communities have no mobile phone service or electricity and are temporarily cut off from the rest of the world.

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A pedestrian carries an umbrella during heavy rain in Charleston, SCScott Olsen/Getty Images

“That’s one of the biggest challenges,” he said. “After this storm, we found air crews looking for people who needed help.”

But much of the cutoff in Southwest Florida is now being accessed by air or by urban search-and-rescue teams going door-to-door by boat, McPherson said.

In FloridaNearly 1.3 million homes and businesses were without power early Saturday, three days after Ian hit the state.

In Fort MyersIt initially took its toll on Ian, with residents wading through knee-deep water and using boats and rafts to salvage what belongings they could find from their flooded homes.

“I want to sit in the corner and cry,” Stevie Scuderi told The Associated Press as she walked through her mostly destroyed Fort Myers apartment, mud from her kitchen sticking to her purple slippers. “I don’t know what else to do.”

In South Carolina, Ian’s eye came ashore near Georgetown, a small community along Winnah Bay about 60 miles north of historic Charleston. The storm washed away parts of four piers along the coast, including two connected to the popular tourist town of Myrtle Beach. More than 62,000 customers are without power.

Bill McCausland from South Carolina, Leila Chakoor from London, England, and Corky Siemasko from New York City reported.

Associated Press Contributed.

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