After wreaking havoc throughout central Florida and sending rescue workers scrambling to reach stranded people along the state’s Gulf Coast, Hurricane Ian roared back to life on Friday and headed north toward a second landfall in South Carolina.
Maximum sustained winds for Ian increased from 50 to 85 miles per hour (80 to 140 kilometers per hour) over the Atlantic Ocean as it churned toward South Carolina, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).
On Friday, the hurricane was expected to make landfall near low-lying Charleston, South Carolina, at around 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT), bringing with it possibly fatal flooding, storm surges, and winds. There was a hurricane warning in effect for hundreds of miles of coastline from Georgia to North Carolina.
On Friday, police in Isle of Palms, South Carolina, recorded video of stormy conditions at the island’s beachfront neighborhood, showing heavy clouds above rough white-cap waves along the coast as strong winds swept across the area.
“Multiple roadways have debris and water standing in them. If you must be out and about, drive carefully “another tweet from the department said.
On Thursday, as rescue workers made their way to isolated communities in Florida, the full scope of the destruction caused by Ian, one of the most violent storms ever to impact the U.S. mainland, became clear. The number of fatalities is still unknown.
The governments of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina have all issued warnings to their citizens to get ready for potentially dangerous weather.
The city of Charleston is especially vulnerable. About 90% of all residential properties were vulnerable to storm surge flooding, according to a report commissioned by the city and issued in November 2020. Up to 8 inches of precipitation may fall in certain areas of northeast South Carolina, close to Charleston.
The National Hurricane Center’s warnings about the storm’s potential impact on Florida’s coastline were significantly less dire than what actually occurred. Resort goers to Edisto Beach, South Carolina, located approximately 30 miles south of Charleston, might have seen waves as high as 7 feet.
Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina has encouraged citizens to “take essential precautions” in light of the potential for flooding, landslides, and tornadoes.
Cooper emphasized the perilousness of the storm’s continued presence.
TENS OF THOUSANDS SAVED
The Category 4 hurricane Ian made its initial landfall on the barrier island of Cayo Costa off Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday afternoon. Its highest sustained winds were 150 mph (241 kph).
DeSantis stated that in Lee and Charlotte counties, two of the hardest devastated areas, there have been more than 700 confirmed rescues.
The NHC has warned that the heavy downpours that preceded Ian will flow into major rivers, causing flooding in Central Florida that might approach historic levels in the coming days.
The sole bridge leading to the island of Sanibel, a famous tourist destination on the Gulf Coast, was destroyed, so rescue workers had to use helicopters and boats to reach the island’s stranded population.
Roads in Punta Gorda were blocked by downed trees and electrical wires, but many structures withstood the hurricane’s onslaught better than was first thought.
All but a few of educational institutions will reopen on either Friday or Monday.
Brenda Siettas, a 62-year-old student support worker, was in the city when Hurricane Charley blew away part of her neighborhood in 2004. Structures built after that, she claimed, are better able to withstand hurricane-force winds.
They have “built back considerably better” since Charley, she said. There was no running water, electricity, or sewage system when I slept here for two weeks in the 1980s.
Biden told DeSantis on Thursday that he plans to visit Florida as soon as weather permits. Deanne Criswell, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will be in Florida on Friday.
A disaster declaration was signed by the president, releasing federal aid for the areas hit by the storm.