Tue | Dec 6, 2022

Dozens dead from Ian, one of strongest, costliest US storms

Published:Saturday | October 1, 2022 | 9:48 AM
In this aerial photo made in a flight provided by mediccorps.org, damage from Hurricane Ian is seen on Estero Island in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, Friday, September 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Rescuers searched for survivors among the ruins of Florida's flooded homes from Hurricane Ian while authorities in South Carolina began assessing damage from its strike there as the remnants of one of the strongest and costliest hurricanes to ever hit the United States continued to push north.

The powerful storm terrorised millions of people for most of the week, battering western Cuba before raking across Florida from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, where it mustered enough strength for a final assault on South Carolina.

Now weakened to a post-tropical cyclone, Ian was expected to move across central North Carolina on Saturday morning then move into Virginia and New York.

At least 30 people were confirmed dead, including 27 people in Florida mostly from drowning but others from the storm's tragic after effects.

An elderly couple died after their oxygen machines shut off when they lost power, authorities said.

Meanwhile, distraught residents waded through knee-high water Friday, salvaging what possessions 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 shuffling through her mostly destroyed Fort Myers apartment, the mud in her kitchen clinging to her purple sandals.

In South Carolina, Ian's centre came ashore near Georgetown, a small community along the Winyah 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.

The storm's winds were much weaker Friday than during Ian's landfall on Florida's Gulf Coast earlier in the week. Authorities and volunteers there were still assessing the damage as shocked residents tried to make sense of what they just lived through.

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