The passage of Hurricane Ian through Florida has left a path of destruction, especially in the southwest and center of this southern state, where there are more than 2.6 million people without power, thousands remain trapped in their homes flooded with water, some roads are impassable and the authorities speak of two possible deaths.
“He crushed us”, the Lee County Sheriff, Carmine Marceno, confessed to the program “Good Morning America” on ABC, who announced that the deaths will be counted by “hundreds”, an assertion that was later qualified by the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, which referred to two possible deaths.
“We have had two unconfirmed deaths, in the sense that we don’t know if they are related to the storm. Our guess is that they probably are.”DeSantis said at a news conference in Tallahassee, the state capital, where he noted that it is still premature to give a first official count of fatalities.
One of those possible victims is a 72-year-old man from the town of Deltona, northeast of Orlando, who died early Thursday morning after falling into a canal while emptying his pool in the middle of heavy rain, according to the Orlando Police. Volusia County, Central Florida.
In Lee County, where Fort Myers sits and the impact zone of Ianroads and bridges remain impassable, keeping thousands of people trapped in their homes and, those who have not lost connection, ask for help on the 911 emergency phone, some of whom are being rescued with helicopters.
“We still can’t access many of the people who need it,” Marcelo confessed.
The causeway that connects Fort Myers to Sanibel Island, home to more than 6,000 people, has been split in two with several sections destroyed due to the impact of Ianwhich this Thursday has been downgraded to a tropical storm but is still capable of causing damage and flooding from storm surge and rain, including in Georgia and South Carolina.
“We have never seen storm surges of this magnitude”confessed the governor, who said that the floods registered in coastal areas due to the rise of the tide correspond to an event “in every 500 years”, and warned that the increase in the tide may continue throughout the day today.
Among the impacted infrastructures is the Sarasota airport, which remains closed and will not be operational until Friday afternoon or Saturday, after the wind and heavy rains destroyed a roof in one of its terminals, according to its executive director, Rick Piccolo, to the local channel FOX 13.
The president of the United States, Joe Biden, approved a disaster zone declaration for nine counties of Florida affected by Ianwhich will make it possible to increase federal aid to alleviate its effects, as DeSantis had promised.
The federal government had sent to this state prior to the arrival of Ian more than 1,300 first responders, who work in coordination with 5,000 members of the Florida National Guard.
As a result of coordination between the federal and state administrations, more than 32,000 workers are available to restore electricity in Florida as of today, where almost 200 shelters have been opened that have received more than 10,000 people, as reported this Thursday. the government’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The top executive of this federal agency, Deanne Criswell, will inform Biden about the situation and will travel to the area on Friday to monitor the response given and assess whether it is necessary to provide more help.
After punishing Cuba and the southwest coast of Florida, Ian crossed that state last night in a northeasterly direction and, at 11:00 local time today (15:00 GMT), was about 25 miles (40 km) north-northeast of Cape Canaveral. (eastern Florida) and 285 miles (456 km) south of Charlotte (South Carolina), according to a bulletin from the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
With maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 km/h), Tropical Storm Ian is moving in a northwesterly direction near 9 mph (15 km/h) and will turn later to the north, followed by a turn toward the north-northwest with an increase in speed.
On the forecast track, Ian will return to Atlantic waters and approach the coast of South Carolina, which is under a full hurricane warning, on Friday.
The center of the cyclone will make landfall again, for the second time in the United States, when later that day or on Saturday it moves strengthened inland through the Carolinas.
The center of Ian made landfall on Wednesday afternoon near Cayo Costa, an island in front of the city of Fort Myers, with maximum sustained winds of 240 kilometers per hour, that is, as a category 4 hurricane.
According to US meteorologists, it ranks as the fifth most powerful hurricane to impact this territory in its history.