After Cuba, Hurricane Ian hits Florida and South Carolina. There is enormous damage. Twelve deaths have been confirmed, and more are expected: the situation at a glance.
+++ 11.58 a.m .: Even before Hurricane “Ian” arrived in South Carolina, US President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency for the east coast state. Federal authorities were instructed to support the state and local authorities with aid and rescue work, the White House said late Thursday evening (local time). “Ian” was off the coast of South Carolina early Friday and was expected to make landfall later in the day.
It continued to gain strength, according to the latest situation report from the National Hurricane Center. Accordingly, its maximum wind speeds reached 140 kilometers per hour, which corresponded to category one of five. “Ian” made landfall in Florida on Wednesday as a level four hurricane with winds of up to 150 miles per hour.
It left destruction and flooding in its wake across the southern state.
Authorities held back on Thursday with estimates of the alleged death toll – but had no doubt that the hurricane had cost lives. Biden also voiced dire fears: “This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida history.”
Update Friday, September 30th, 2022, 7:30 a.m .: In the US state of Florida, the death toll from the passage of Hurricane “Ian” continues to rise. As the broadcaster CNN and representatives of various local authorities reported on Thursday, at least twelve people were killed by the devastating storm. After “Ian” temporarily weakened to a tropical storm, the US Hurricane Center NHC later reclassified it as a hurricane and continued to warn of “life-threatening, catastrophic” storm surges, strong winds and rain.
The hurricane is one of the strongest storms to ever hit the United States. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said it was too early to estimate how many people actually died as a result of the hurricane. According to him, hundreds of people were still dependent on help from rescue workers.
Possibly ‘deadliest hurricane in Florida history’
+++ 8:55 p.m .: Hurricane “Ian” left a trail of devastation in Florida. US President Joe Biden, who says he wants to travel to Florida soon, said on a visit to the Fema disaster control agency in Washington on Thursday that the death toll was still “unclear”. But there could be a “significant loss of life.” Biden warned it could be the “deadliest hurricane in Florida history.”
Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc in Florida. Governor Ron DeSantis spoke on Thursday of damage of “historic” proportions and flooding that only occurs “every 500 years”.
Hurricane Ian “Crushes” Florida County: Deaths Confirmed
+++ 3.15 p.m .: Hurricane “Ian” hit the US state of Florida with full force. One of the strongest hurricanes in state history, it produced violent winds, rain and storm surges. According to the German Press Agency , wind speeds of up to 240 kilometers per hour were measured. The extent of the hurricane is still unclear. So far, authorities in Volusia County on Florida’s east coast have confirmed one death via Twitter. But there could be far more deaths.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told ABC News , “We didn’t know where he was going to hit. All I can say is that he was very strong in Lee County and was slow moving.” He also stated that there were deaths, but the exact number of deaths was not yet known. They are currently accepting thousands of emergency calls and the situation is extremely confusing – especially since the area is completely “crushed” and many people are trapped. “We still don’t have access to many people in need,” says Marceno.
Hurricane Ian causes massive power outages in Cuba and the US state of Florida
+++ 11.13 a.m .: More than eleven million people are said to have been without electricity in Cuba after hurricane “Ian” crossed the country. With regard to the infrastructure in the nation shaped by socialism, observers now fear strong protests from the population.
“Cubans don’t have generators; their only source of energy is the government. (…) If the blackout lasts for days, it could lead to protests and complaints from the already desperate Cuban population, who already have to do so many things with so little,” writes the Miami Herald . As of Wednesday afternoon (local time/September 28), power could have been restored to individual areas, “but the government said restoring power to more populated areas would be more complicated.”
Hurricane “Ian” also cut the power supply for around 1.6 million people in the US state of Florida (see update from 8.45 a.m.).
Hurricane Ian leaves a path of destruction in its wake
+++ 8.45 a.m .: Hurricane “Ian” has left a path of destruction in Cuba and Florida. Numerous streets were flooded, roofs were taken off, trees were uprooted. In the meantime, 1.6 million people were without electricity. This is shown by data from the Poweroutage website. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke of storm surges up to 3.5 meters high.
In the meantime, “Ian” showed wind speeds of up to 240 km/h, which eventually weakened on the US coast. The hurricane reached Florida at about 150 km/h. Nevertheless, the storm moved across a wide strip of land through the southern US state. According to DeSantis, “Ian” is already one of the five worst hurricanes to hit Florida.
Update from Thursday, September 29, 5:30 a.m .: Hurricane “Ian” hit land in Florida on Wednesday evening with a wind speed of up to 150 mph, the equivalent of about 240 kilometers per hour. As CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller reports, “Ian” is the strongest hurricane to make landfall on the west coast of Florida, along with hurricane “Charley” from 2004. Both storms had the same wind force.
More than a million people in Florida are now without power, according to a report by the Poweroutage website. More major damage is to be expected as water levels continue to rise in many cities on Florida’s west coast. With regard to the flood data, which go back to 1965 in Florida, new record values were measured at water levels in several places. Among them is the city of Fort Myers, for example.
First report from Wednesday, September 28, 8:00 a.m .: Florida/Cuba – Hurricane “Ian” cut off the electricity supply to all of Cuba. The magnitude 3 hurricane also caused severe damage to homes. Mudslides and flash floods are still a threat in many places. “The damage is great, although not yet statistically recorded,” wrote President Miguel Díaz-Canel on Twitter after a visit to the province of Pinar del Río, which was particularly hard hit.
Now the hurricane is moving towards Florida. The authorities there are already calling for evacuations. More than 2.5 million people are affected by the warnings. As early as Tuesday evening (September 27), the first effects of the hurricane were felt in southern Florida, as reported by the US broadcaster CNN . “Rain and strong winds lashed the region, and there was a risk of tornadoes that will persist overnight,” a report said.
Hurricane “Ian”: After devastation in Cuba, Florida is now in danger
Meteorologists have been warning of “Ian” for days. The National Hurricane Center emphasized in several reports that the hurricane could cause enormous damage.
“I am asking everyone who is in an evacuation zone and has been told to evacuate – the time has come. You must evacuate now. There will come a time when it is no longer safe to drive on the roads,” Florida State Department of Safety director Kevin Guthrie said at a news conference Tuesday night.
“There will come a time when local public safety officers will be unable to respond to your calls for help. You may then be on your own,” he said, according to CNN . “Predictions are subject to change, but at the moment the experts are saying this could be a very severe hurricane, life-threatening and with devastating effects,” US President Joe Biden also warned. (tu/esa/dpa/AFP)