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Hurricane Ian hits the US: Storm surge and power outages in Florida

Hurricane Ian hits the US: Storm surge and power outages in Florida

Status: 09/29/2022 11:57 am

Hurricane Ian has caused flooding and severe damage along Florida’s west coast. Florida’s governor said the storm is likely to be one of the five deadliest hurricanes ever to hit Florida.

Hurricane Ian has caused severe flooding and storm surge along Florida’s west coast. According to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, some of them reach a height of about three and a half meters and are “life-threatening”. Photos and videos on social media showed severe flooding in Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral and Naples, some of which was several meters high.

Despite the weakening of the storm, more than 100 kilometers of land was subjected to severe storms in its path. The storm’s center was 90 kilometers southeast of Orlando overnight, according to the Hurricane Center. Rain poured down the streets, with only the roofs of cars sticking out of the floodwaters and debris flying in the air, television footage showed. A hospital in Port Charlotte has been flooded.

More than two million homes are without electricity

More than 2.4 million households were temporarily without power, the “PowerOutage” website showed. That’s 20 percent of households in the state, CNN reported. Fort Myers and Cape Coral are the counties with the most failures in Lee County. 90 percent of the houses there do not have electricity. The US media initially assumed that the number of power outages would continue to increase.

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One of the strongest hurricanes in US history

With sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour, “Ian” is now at its lowest strength of one-fifth, the hurricane center said. According to DeSantis, “Ian” should still be on the list of the five worst hurricanes to hit Florida. Many media outlets are now even reporting the storm as one of the strongest in US history.

The hurricane increased significantly over the Gulf of Mexico on its way toward Florida, and sustained winds of 150 mph (240 km/h) were below the threshold for a Category Five hurricane, the highest. “Ian” washed ashore near Cape Coral, a size four. The hurricane is currently over Florida – about 110 kilometers south of Orlando, according to experts.

The danger is still there

Evacuation instructions apply to 2.5 million people in the region. Elsewhere, people were warned not to leave their homes – for example, to assess the damage. Even as the hurricane winds down, there is still a risk of debris and downed power lines. “Then you have broken power lines, constant flooding, generators that can be life-threatening if misused,” the governor said. In previous hurricanes, more than ten times more deaths occurred in the days following the storm than during the storm itself.

Begin rescue as soon as weather permits

Weather forecasters have warned that “Ian” could still face a destructive storm when it reaches the state’s east coast today. Calls to emergency services from hundreds of people at home before the storm hit Florida initially went unanswered, the Miami Herald reported.

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Governor DeSantis said officials are ready for rescue and repair work as soon as weather permits. About 7,000 National Guard soldiers and 179 planes or helicopters could be deployed, he wrote on Twitter. Additionally, technicians from more than 40,000 utility companies are already on hand to repair power lines.

In his address, the governor said thousands of people now need help rebuilding.

Heavy rain for 24 hours

Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center, stressed that it could take up to 24 hours to make landfall in Florida.

According to meteorologists, “Ian” will continue to move over Florida in the coming hours. The storm is expected to reach the Atlantic on Thursday before moving further north. People in the states of Georgia, South and North Carolina, and Virginia were expecting the storm’s arrival.

Governor: ‘Very ugly days’

Florida’s Governor DeSantis earlier warned people in his state to prepare for severe damage from the approaching Hurricane Ian. “It was a big, strong storm,” DeSantis said. The Republican politician said the next day or two will be “pretty ugly” until the hurricane hits Florida. “It’s going to be a tough stretch.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called “Ian” “another example of dramatic climate action that is increasing with increasing frequency and catastrophe around the world.”

Cuba has already been hit by a storm

Mars “Ion” Three of the five typhoons made landfall in Cuba. In the state of eleven million people, there were occasional power outages across the country. The government said that two people were killed when the houses collapsed.

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In this case, a boat carrying immigrants from Cuba sank off the coast of Florida on Wednesday. As announced on Twitter, the US Coast Guard was initially searching for 23 people. Three were saved. Four migrants had previously swum from a boat in stormy weather to reach an offshore US island near Key West.

With information from ARD Washington correspondent Ralf Borchardt.