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South Carolina grapples with storm damage as Florida searches for survivors

Ian has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone since making landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 storm on Friday. But officials there and in Florida warn it still poses grave danger.

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Saturday promised to reveal Hurricane Ian's true impact in South Carolina after the storm's second landfall, while rescuers continued to comb hard-hit Florida, where record river flooding was expected.

At least 73 people have died in the storm in Florida and four in North Carolina, according to state officials and an NBC News count.

Ian made landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 storm on Friday afternoon and has since been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone.

The National Hurricane Center said in an advisory Saturday that the storm would continue to weaken near the border of North Carolina and Virginia throughout the day, adding that it would weaken even more through Sunday. Still, officials have warned that Ian and its aftermath pose a grave danger, with warnings of flash flooding across parts of both states.

And Ian is expected to produce between 3 to 6 inches of rainfall on Saturday across parts of North Carolina and West Virginia.

More than 1.3 million customers in Florida were without power early Saturday, three days after Ian slammed into the state. In South Carolina, more than 63,000 homes and businesses were without power after the hurricane hit. Throughout the day, power came back slowly in these states as rescue efforts continued in Ian's wake.

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67d ago / 5:59 AM UTC

Bidens to visit Puerto Rico, Florida

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel next week to areas hit hard by Hurricane Ian, the White House announced late Saturday.

The Bidens will visit Puerto Rico on Monday, and Florida on Wednesday.

No further details were announced, but the president mentioned his concern for the regions hit by Hurricanes Irma and Ian on Saturday night at a Congressional Black Caucus awards dinner.

"Our hearts ... are heavy, the devastating hurricanes, storms in Puerto Rico, Florida, and South Carolina. And we owe Puerto Rico a hell of a lot more than they’ve already gotten," Biden said.


67d ago / 4:23 AM UTC

Government will cover purchase of power generators for some

Residents of federal disaster areas who purchased or rented power generators to keep medical devices operating might be able to get reimbursement from the federal government.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said generators purchased by residents who lost power after Hurricane Ian struck areas covered by President Joe Biden's major disaster declaration can be covered by tax dollars.

Qualifications for reimbursement include a medical need: The resident must provide written proof that a generator is needed to power a vital medical device or refrigerator.

The generator must be for a home that is a claimant's primary residence, and one where power was disrupted as a result of the storm. Claimant's have to be in the United States legally.

The claimant must live in an area covered by Biden's major disaster declaration Friday. Those areas for now only cover Florida counties hard hit by Ian: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota.

The White House said additional areas could be designated as damage assessment is completed.

On Saturday, night 1,007,053 utility customers in Florida were in the dark, according to PowerOutage.us. Hurricane Ian struck the state Thursday.

67d ago / 12:48 AM UTC

Outages continue to challenge Florida, Carolinas, Virginia

The remnants of Ian have moved more than three states away, but Florida continued to struggle with power outages as more than a million utility customers remained without power Saturday evening.

The power monitoring site PowerOutage.us reported that 1,079,239 customers were in the dark after sunset in Florida. That's an improvement from the nearly 2 million residents without power at sunrise, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Speaking at a news conference Saturday, DeSantis said utilities were on the case.

"They are working 24/7 to be able to restore power all throughout the state of Florida," he said. "That's 42,000 linemen and associated personnel."

In South Carolina, 6,411 were without power Saturday night, according to PowerOutage.us. In North Carolina, that figure was 56,584.

Virginia, where the former hurricane was lurking as its core moved over West Virginia, had 15,949 without electricity Saturday.

Post-tropical cyclone Ian hasn't impacted the outage figures for West Virginia yet. Forecasters said the state could be in for flash flooding and small stream flooding overnight.

67d ago / 10:19 PM UTC

Before and after photos capture scope of Hurricane Ian’s destruction in Florida

Oct. 1, 202201:38
67d ago / 8:55 PM UTC

Florida sheriff warns of possible flooding from levee breach in Sarasota County

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in Florida is warning residents of a potential levee breach that could cause flooding for about 70 homes.

A notification was sent out around 3 a.m. Saturday saying that homes near the Hidden River levee could be affected.

‘The compromise of this levee appears that it WILL ONLY IMPACT HOMES ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE HIDDEN RIVER COMMUNITY,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post.”This levee compromise SHOULD NOT impact any other areas in Sarasota County including Venice or North Port.”

Deputies are working with the fire department on going door-to-door to alert residents. The sheriff’s office encouraged the community to consider evacuating.

Read the full story here.

67d ago / 8:30 PM UTC

Search and rescue teams comb through Hurricane Ian's wreckage

67d ago / 8:05 PM UTC

Gov. Roy Cooper mourns deaths in North Carolina

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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Saturday mourned the deaths of four people who died in his state from storm-related incidents.

“The storm has passed, but many hazards remain with downed trees, downed power lines and power outages,” Cooper said in a statement. “We mourn with the families of those who have died and urge everyone to be cautious while cleaning up to avoid more deaths or injuries.” 

The victims include a 25-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman who died in car accidents, a 22-year-old man who drowned when his truck submerged in a flooded swamp and a 65-year-old man who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator running in a closed garage, according to the statement.

67d ago / 7:31 PM UTC

Charleston, South Carolina, dodges a big bullet named Ian

CHARLESTON, S.C. — This historic city of graceful mansions and Spanish moss-draped trees dodged the devastation Saturday that Hurricane Ian had visited on Florida. But Charleston was left with yet another reminder of how vulnerable it remains to powerful storms.

The damage to Charleston, a city below sea level with a long history of flooding, appeared minimal the day after Ian barreled into South Carolina as a Category 1 storm. 

“People need to realize that Charleston really was largely spared by just 20 or 25 miles,” said state Sen. George “Chip” Campsen, a Republican who represents the area and currently lives on Isle of Palms, a small barrier island just outside Charleston.

Branches and leaves littered the ground, a few trees were down and walls of sandbags were still standing watch by some store entryways. But the skies were blue, and tourists, who had been trapped in their hotels, emerged to find a city mostly unscathed, although here and there some of the iconic Spanish moss had been sloughed-off the trees onto the street.

Read the full story here.

67d ago / 7:10 PM UTC

At least 1,100 rescues in Florida so far, Desantis says

At least 1,100 rescues have been made in Florida since Ian made landfall in the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news conference on Saturday.

"There's been a great outpouring of support and I've seen a lot of resilience in this community of people that want to pick themselves up and they want to get their communities back on their feet," DeSantis told reporters. "We'll be here and we'll be helping every step of the way."

68d ago / 6:27 PM UTC

Power is slowly being restored in southern states

Power is coming back slowly to homes and businesses in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and southern Virginia, according to data from poweroutage.us.

In Florida, 1,195,366 customers are currently without power, down from nearly 1.3 million Saturday morning. In South Carolina and North Carolina, 24,365 and 198,672 customers are without power, respectively, down from 62,023 and 325,015.

In southern Virginia, 56,081 customers are still without power, down almost by half from 101,587 this morning.

68d ago / 6:19 PM UTC

Before and after photos show streets drying up in Charleston on Saturday

Courtesy Charleston County Council Member Jenny Honeycutt
Courtesy Charleston County Council Member Jenny Honeycutt
68d ago / 6:01 PM UTC

South Carolina governor: 'We're open for business'

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster struck an optimistic note during a news briefing Saturday, saying his state was "open for business" in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

"There is damage. There is some heartbreak," McMaster told reporters. "But all in all [this is] another good story for South Carolina, and we're open for business."

Ian made landfall in Georgetown, South Carolina, on Friday, hitting the coastal area between Charleston and Myrtle Beach. The Category 1 storm pounded the coast, shredding piers and flooding streets. No deaths have been reported in the state.

68d ago / 5:33 PM UTC

Cubans protest in Havana for second night over lack of power

HAVANA — Groups of Cubans protested Friday night in the streets of Havana for a second night, decrying delays in fully restoring electricity three days after Hurricane Ian knocked out power across the island.

A foreign monitoring group reported that Cuba’s internet service shut down for the second time in two days, saying it appeared to be unrelated to problems from the storm but rather an attempt to keep information about the demonstrations from spreading.

Associated Press journalists saw people demonstrating in at least five spots in the city or on its outskirts, including the Barreras and La Gallega districts where residents blocked streets with burning tires and garbage.

Masiel Pereira, a housewife, said that “the only thing I ask is that they restore the current for my children.” A neighbor, Yunior Velásquez, lamented that “all the food is about to be lost” because there was no power for refrigerators.

68d ago / 4:51 PM UTC

Daily life resumes in Charleston

the LuluLemon on King Street
Alex Macintyre takes a break from gathering sandbags outside the LuluLemon on King Street to hold the door open for a fresh group of customers in Charleston’s historic downtown on Saturday.Phil McCausland/NBC News
The Apple Store in King Street in Charleston’s historic district
The Apple Store on King Street in Charleston’s historic district reopened late on Saturday morning. Sandbags were the only indication of Ian’s nearby landfall.Phil McCausland/NBC News
Hurricane Ian South Carolina cycling
A day after Ian hit the South Carolina coast, tourists and residents took advantage of the sunny day to go bicycling on Saturday.Phil McCausland/NBC News
68d ago / 4:23 PM UTC

NHC: Ian will continue to weaken in North Carolina and Virginia

Post-tropical cyclone Ian will continue to weaken near the border of North Carolina and Virginia through late Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

A gradual weakening trend is also forecast through Sunday.

At 12:20 p.m. Ian's center was located on the border between the two states. It is currently moving north-northeast near 10 mph, according to the NHC.

The storm is expected to bring an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain or more this weekend across parts of the Central Appalachians and mid-Atlantic, where limited flash, urban and small stream flooding is possible.

68d ago / 4:00 PM UTC

642 patients evacuated from Florida health care facilities

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration has evacuated 642 patients from six health care facilities in the state since Hurricane Ian made landfall, officials announced in a tweet Friday.

The patients were evacuated from facilities in Charlotte, Lee, Sarasota, Orange and Volusia counties.

"AHCA has deployed teams to visit all health care facilities in counties impacted by Hurricane Ian," the statement read. "As of today, teams have completed assessments at all facilities in Lee, Charlotte, and Collier County and expect to have all assessments complete in DeSoto, Hendry, Highlands, and Hardy counties by Friday evening."

A total of 230 health care facilities have had their power restored since the onset of the storm, according to the agency.

68d ago / 3:39 PM UTC

Potential flooding from Sarasota levee would reach area with dozens of homes

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office clarified concerns about a possible levee breach Saturday morning, saying that any flooding would reach around 50 houses in the area.

"It appears the compromise will only impact the homes in that neighborhood. There are roughly 50 homes total," sheriff's office spokeswoman Kaitlyn R. Perez said in a statement.

"From what we understand, this flooding will have no impact on any other parts of Sarasota County, including down south in Venice and Englewood where most of the damage and flooding already is," Perez added.

68d ago / 3:01 PM UTC

Photos show destruction of the Sanibel Causeway in Florida

The Sanibel Causeway
The Sanibel Causeway, which connects Sanibel Island to the Florida mainland, on July 4, 2021, and its partial collapse after the passage of Hurricane Ian on September 30, 2022.Planet Labs PBC/AFP via Getty Images
The causeway leading to Sanibel Island from Fort Myers, Fla., is shown damaged after Hurricane Ian passed through the area, Friday.
The causeway leading to Sanibel Island from Fort Myers, Fla., is shown damaged after Hurricane Ian passed through the area on Friday.Gerald Herbert / AP
A collapsed section of the Sanibel Causeway
A collapsed section of the Sanibel Causeway in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fla. on Sept. 30, 2022.RICARDO ARDUENGO / AFP via Getty Images
68d ago / 2:31 PM UTC

Charleston has been 'fortunate,' says Mayor Tecklenburg

Residents of Charleston woke up to sunnier weather and wind speeds of only 10.4 mph this morning, after Ian lashed heavy rain and wind over the city on Friday.

“While the city was fortunate to avoid a direct hit from Hurricane Ian, the impacts are still significant, with a number of roads closed, residents without power and flooding damage,” Mayor John Tecklenburg said in a statement.

He added, “We are grateful to our first responders and our residents who stayed at home during the storm, and encourage residents to continue to exercise caution as they make repairs and clean up.”

68d ago / 2:20 PM UTC

Biden approves emergency declaration in North Carolina

President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for North Carolina on Saturday, ordering federal assistance to the state due to conditions from Hurricane Ian.

Biden's declaration authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts in all 100 counties of the state and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

"Emergency protective measures (Category B), including direct Federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding," according to a White House statement.

68d ago / 12:18 PM UTC

Three ports closed in St. Petersburg

Three ports remain closed in the coastal city of St Petersburg, Florida, following the destruction left by Hurricane Ian.

The ports that have been shut down include Fort Myers Beach, Boca Grande and Charlotte. The 16 other ports in the city were open on Saturday morning.

68d ago / 12:10 PM UTC

Nearly 2 million homes and businesses without power

Nearly 2 million customers have been left without power in Ian's wake, according to data from poweroutage.us.

In Florida, 1.3 million customers were without electricity early Saturday morning, with 100,331 affected in Virgina, 325,015 in North Carolina, 62,023 in South Carolina and 204, 513 in Puerto Rico.

68d ago / 12:08 PM UTC

Sarasota County warns of possible levee break

Florida's Sarasota County warned of a possible levee break in the area of Hidden River/Myakka Valley, with the potential for 15 feet of floodwater.

Residents were urged to shelter in place if it was safe to do so because exit routes and roadways could be impassable, according to a statement.

68d ago / 11:57 AM UTC

Major to record flooding expected in Florida with flash floods predicted elsewhere

Warnings of record river flooding across parts of Florida were in place Saturday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center’s latest report at 5 a.m. The center also warned of limited flash, urban and small stream flooding across the central Appalachians and parts of the southern mid-Atlantic regions over the weekend, including in Virginia and North and South Carolina.

Ian will have maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, according to the NHC. It also said the storm was expected to dissipate over south-central Virginia by tonight, and had been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone

Ian is expected to produce between 2 to 4 inches of rainfall on Saturday, with a maximum of 6 inches in parts of the central Appalachians and North Carolina.

68d ago / 11:54 AM UTC
68d ago / 10:14 AM UTC

Florida hospital without running water faces a sanitation crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian has created a burgeoning biohazard situation in at least one Florida hospital close to where the storm first made landfall.

Staff members at the Health Park Medical Center in Fort Myers told NBC News that the facility’s running water went out Wednesday and hadn’t yet been restored. If water service wasn't back soon, the workers said, they feared disease outbreaks and infections in the wake of the storm.

Patients and nurses alike have been forced to defecate in plastic bags, then store the waste in overflowing biohazard bins, staff members and patients said.

Workers said they couldn't properly sanitize medical instruments for reuse, and some patients went more than a dozen hours without drinking any water.

Read the full story here.

68d ago / 9:44 AM UTC

Ian washes away piers in South Carolina

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Hurricane Ian has destroyed parts of at least four piers along South Carolina’s northern coast. Ian has gone from being classified as a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone as it moves across South Carolina.

The brunt of the surge and waves from the Category 1 storm hit around Myrtle Beach on Friday.

Police said the Pawley’s Island Pier was washed away first. Then local TV footage showed sections missing from the Cherry Grove Pier near North Myrtle Beach and the Apache and Second Avenue piers in Myrtle Beach.

An 85 mph wind gust was measured at Fort Sumter, the tiny island where the Civil War began, about 4 miles from downtown Charleston, the National Weather Service reported.

68d ago / 8:43 AM UTC

Flash flood warnings for North Carolina and Virginia

There were warnings of flash flooding across parts of North Carolina and southern Virginia Saturday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center's latest report at 2 a.m. ET.

Ian, which has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, will have maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, according to the NHC. It also said that the storm is forecast to weaken later on Saturday and dissipate by early Sunday.

And Ian is expected to produce between 3 to 6 inches of rainfall across parts of North Carolina and West Virginia on Saturday.



68d ago / 8:34 AM UTC

In Florida, even inland towns are menaced by floods

Residents in North Port, Sarasota County, thought they might be safe from the ravages of Hurricane Ian, living far from the beach and outside areas under evacuation orders.

But even in inland towns, water levels have gone up significantly, causing widespread flooding and turning roads into canals and leaving residents trapped inside their homes. Heavy rains from the storm have ended up flowing into suburban and inland towns not included in hurricane warnings.

This is because rising rivers have created a deluge, the overflowing of water on land, long after the winds have died down, leading to rescue efforts not dissimilar to those in coastal areas.

“Water just keeps going up. Who knows when it is going to stop,” Samuel Almanzar, 42, told The Associated Press. He was rescued by crews Friday along with his father, wife and two children, 11 and 6 years old.

68d ago / 8:34 AM UTC

Former FEMA director breaks down immediate needs of hurricane survivors

68d ago / 8:33 AM UTC

Coast Guard says it saved more than 300 after Ian

The U.S. Coast Guard said Friday it had saved 325 people and 83 pets so far in its response to Hurricane Ian.

Those numbers were as of 8 p.m. Friday. The Coast Guard is among the agencies responding to the devastation caused by Ian, which was a Category 4 hurricane when it struck Florida’s southwest coast Wednesday.

The Coast Guard posted video showing a man being rescued by helicopter from a boat stranded in mangroves from flooded areas near Sanibel.

Sanibel Island, in Lee County, was among the areas devastated by the storm and is south of where the hurricane made landfall. Sanibel city officials have said there was a storm surge there of 8 to 15 feet.