The National Weather Service has issued hurricane advisories to more than 2.5 million coastal residents of Georgia and the Carolinas as Hurricane Ian gathers strength after carving a historic trail of devastation across Florida. Ian is expected to make landfall near Charleston, South Carolina, today as a Category 1 storm. This comes as rescue teams in helicopters and boats are struggling to reach communities trapped by floodwaters. So far at least 17 U.S. deaths have been attributed to Ian, but President Biden warned Thursday that number is likely to rise dramatically.
President Joe Biden: “This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history. The numbers are still unclear, but we’re hearing early reports of what may be substantial loss of life.”
More than 2 million homes and businesses across Florida remain without power. Republican Governor Ron DeSantis said the storm caused “biblical” damage to Sanibel Island and tore homes to their concrete foundations in Fort Myers Beach. DeSantis called it a one-in-500-year storm. NASA reports ocean temperatures off Florida’s coast were up to 3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than usual for this time of year, helping to fuel Ian’s rapid intensification to near-Category 5 strength ahead of its landfall.