Dozens dead from Ian, one of America’s strongest and costliest storms – Salmon Arm Observer

0

Rescuers searched for survivors among the ruins of Florida homes flooded by Hurricane Ian as authorities in South Carolina began assessing damage from its strike there as the remnants of one of the hurricanes the most powerful and costly to ever strike the United States continued to push north.

The powerful storm terrorized millions of people for most of the week, battering western Cuba before moving across Florida from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, where it gathered enough strength for a final assault on South Carolina. Now weakened by a post-tropical cyclone, Ian was due to cross central North Carolina on Saturday morning, then on to Virginia and New York.

At least 30 people have been confirmed dead, including 27 people in Florida, mostly from drowning, but others from the storm’s tragic aftermath. An elderly couple died after their oxygen machines shut off due to a power outage, authorities said.

Meanwhile, distraught residents waded through knee-deep water on Friday, salvaging what they could from their flooded homes and loading them onto rafts and canoes.

“I want to sit in the corner and cry. I don’t know what else to do,” Stevie Scuderi said after walking through her largely destroyed Fort Myers apartment, the mud in her kitchen clinging to her purple sandals. .

In South Carolina, Ian’s center landed near Georgetown, a small community along Winyah Bay about 95 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.

Winds from the storm were much weaker on Friday than when Ian landed on Florida’s Gulf Coast earlier in the week. Authorities and volunteers on site were still assessing the damage as shocked residents tried to make sense of what they had just experienced.

Anthony Rivera, 25, said he had to climb out of his first-floor apartment window during the storm to carry his grandmother and girlfriend to the second floor. As they rushed to escape the rising waters, the storm surge swept away a boat right next to his apartment.

“It’s the scariest thing in the world because I can’t stop any boat,” he said. “I am not Superman.”

Pawleys Island, a seaside community about 117 kilometers up the South Carolina coast from Charleston, was one of the places hardest hit by Ian.

Eddie Wilder, who has been coming to Pawleys Island for more than six decades, said Friday’s storm was “incredible to watch”. He said waves reaching 25 feet (7.6 meters) swept away the pier, just two doors down from his home.

“We watched it hit the pier and saw the pier disappear,” said Wilder, whose home sits about 30 feet above the ocean and stayed dry inside. “I’ve seen quite a few storms, and this one was wild. … We had a front row seat.

Pawleys Pier was one of at least four along the South Carolina coast to be destroyed by Ian’s winds and rain.

“We saw it go down and we saw it float with an American flag still waving,” Wilder said.

The decks of Pawleys Island were littered with palm fronds, pine needles and even a kayak salvaged from a nearby shore. An intercoastal waterway was littered with the remains of several boathouses torn and knocked off their stilts in the storm.

Even though Ian has long been in Florida, new problems have continued to arise. A 14-mile (22-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 75 was closed Friday night in both directions in the Port Charlotte area due to massive water swelling in the Myakka River.

Ross Giarratana, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tampa, said the Myakka hit a record high of 12.73 feet (3.88 meters) on Saturday morning.

Further southeast, the Peace River was also in a major flood stage early Saturday in Polk, Hardee and DeSoto counties. The majority of those points have yet to peak, Giarratana said.

“It was crazy how fast the rivers were rising,” he said. “We knew we were going to have some record-breaking stuff.”

The official death toll climbed throughout the day on Friday, with authorities warning it would likely rise much further once crews did a more thorough sweep of the damage. The searches were aimed at emergency rescues and initial assessments, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said.

Hurricane Ian likely caused “well over $100 billion” in damage, including $63 billion in privately insured losses, according to disaster modeling firm Karen Clark & ​​Co., which regularly publishes rapid disaster assessments. If confirmed, this would make Ian at least the fourth costliest hurricane in US history.

—Meg Kinnard and Adriana Gomez Licon, Associated Press

HurricaneSevere WeatherUnited States

Rescue workers walk past the remains of a clothing store, blown over by Hurricane Ian, in the Times Square neighborhood near Lynn Hall Pier on the island of Fort Myers Beach, Florida, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday, September 28, 2022, as a Category 4 hurricane on the southwest coast of Florida. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Debbie and Lou Evans push their dog Brody on a hotel luggage cart they found amid the wreckage, as they come to check on their home, two days after Hurricane Ian hit Ft. Myers Beach, Florida on Friday, September 30.  , 2022. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Debbie and Lou Evans push their dog Brody on a hotel luggage cart they found amid the wreckage, as they come to check on their home, two days after Hurricane Ian hit Ft. Myers Beach, Florida on Friday, September 30. , 2022. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Share.

Comments are closed.