As Devastating Hurricane Ian Hit Florida- Hundreds Feared Dead

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On Thursday morning, deadly Hurricane Ian was downgraded to Tropical Storm Ian and moved off Florida’s East Coast by 11 a.m. Despite this, the storm continued to drop record amounts of rain and cause “catastrophic flooding” in the area. Rising floodwaters caused home rescues and stranded vehicle rescues throughout Central Florida. and Volusia County law enforcement reported the first fatality in the region. However, the statewide death toll has not yet been calculated after the hurricane’s storm surge devastated the Gulf Coast.

In a 5 a.m. alert, the National Hurricane Center said, For the remainder of Thursday and Friday, much of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina are still in “risk of life-threatening storm surge.” Residents are warned that a tornado or two will be possible Friday across the coastal Carolinas.

Storm surge warmings are still in effect by the National Hurricane Service.

At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Ian was located near latitude 28.7 North, longitude 80.4 West. Ian is moving toward the north-northeast near 9 mph (15 km/h). A turn toward the north is expected late today, followed by a turn toward the north-northwest with an increase in forward speed Friday night.  On the forecast track, Ian will approach the coast of South Carolina on Friday.  The center will move farther inland across the Carolinas Friday night and Saturday.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 70 mph (110 km/h) with higher gusts.  Ian is expected to become a hurricane again this evening and make landfall as a hurricane on Friday, with rapid weakening forecast after landfall.

The White House reports, “Damage assessments are continuing in other places, and additional areas may be identified for help after the evaluations are fully completed.” President Biden declared the area a major disaster.

Gov. Ron DeSantis  said, “You’re looking at a storm that’s changed the character of a significant part of our state, and this is going to require, not just the emergency response now, and the days or weeks ahead, I mean this is going to require years of effort, to be able to rebuild, to come back.”

[Image of probabilities of 34-kt winds]

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