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Florida governor warns of ‘historic’ destruction


A man cycles through water past a downed street lamp in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Florida, on September 29, 2022

Fort Myers was among the many hardest-hit cities in Florida

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis warned Hurricane Ian will go away historic devastation, because the storm batters the state with catastrophic wind and rain.

Ian, which has left individuals trapped of their houses, is predicted to set flood information and could also be one of the worst storms ever to strike the state.

It continued to wreak havoc because it moved east over Florida on Thursday.

One particular person is confirmed to have died within the state and a few 2.7 million individuals are with out energy.

President Joe Biden has declared the storm a serious catastrophe – triggering entry to federal funds and catastrophe aid.

“This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history,” he mentioned on Thursday afternoon. “The numbers are still unclear, but we’re hearing early reports of what may be substantial loss of life.”

Florida’s Mr DeSantis mentioned some 30,000 first responders had been on their technique to help restoration efforts, although some areas of the state stay inaccessible.

“The amount of water that’s been rising, and will likely continue to rise today even as the storm is passing, is basically a 500-year flooding event,” he mentioned.

Erik Salna, affiliate director of the International Hurricane Research Center, instructed the BBC the harm from Ian would doubtless go away components of of the state unrecognisable.

“From what we’re seeing now, Fort Myers beach, Bonita Beach, Naples – these places are going to look dramatically different when this is finally done,” Mr Salna mentioned. “We just hope that the people who were asked to evacuate did.”

Ian has continued to inundate communities with extreme rainfall because it strikes east to west over the Florida peninsula.

In Port Charlotte, a group in south-western Florida that was battered by the storm, Tom, 48, and his 66-year-old, wheelchair-bound mom Kathy survived Hurricane Ian for practically 12 hours after the roof blew off half of their residence.

“We were in the bathroom and could feel the wall shaking,” Tom instructed the BBC.

The pair had been planning a transfer to Colorado, and after a traumatic and devastating night time, have determined to depart instantly.

For Cathy, who has lived in Florida for the previous 18 years, the prospect of leaving the state is heartbreaking. But there’s little left to maintain her right here.

“The town is destroyed,” she mentioned, alongside together with her residence of the previous six years.

A vehicle sits partially submerged in a flooded downtown following Hurricane Ian, in Orlando

Orlando, like a lot of Florida, has been inundated with rainfall

On Thursday morning, visitors crawled alongside a serious highway that slices the size of the Florida peninsula, with vehicles heading again in the direction of areas hit hardest by Ian akin to Fort Myers and surrounding Lee County.

Almost all of this ocean-side county was with out energy as of 10:30 native time (15:00 GMT), authorities mentioned, and search and rescue efforts had been energetic.

“I spend a lot of time studying hurricane damage, and I’m thinking it will be $100bn (£90bn) in damage and several hundred fatalities,” mentioned Hugh Willoughby, a meteorology professor at Florida International University. “I hope I’m wrong.”

Basic rebuilding and building efforts will take till the brand new yr, he mentioned, although a full restoration to the realm will take “several years”.

By Thursday afternoon, Ian had emerged over the Atlantic because it continues its journey west in the direction of North and South Carolina. The US National Weather Service mentioned it expects Ian to accentuate right into a hurricane as soon as once more.

The heat water of the Gulf Stream – a fast-moving ocean present that travels north alongside the east price of Florida – makes for ideally suited situations for a hurricane, Professor Willoughby mentioned.

“Hurricanes derive their energy from warm ocean water and the Gulf Stream is sort of the warmest ocean water around,” he instructed the BBC.

But whereas the Carolinas are anticipated to be hit, they’ll doubtless face a weaker storm than Cuba and Florida have endured. “Unless we’re very, very unlucky it won’t be as intense as in Florida,” he mentioned.

Map showing predicted path of Hurricane Ian

Map exhibiting predicted path of Hurricane Ian

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