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LIVE UPDATES: Florida officials fear death toll will rise

The latest on Hurricane Ian:

Florida officials fear the death toll from Hurricane Ian could rise substantially, given the wide swath of the state inundated by the storm.

After making landfall with some of the highest wind speeds for a hurricane over the United States, the storm inundated areas on both coasts of Florida, ripping homes off their slabs, demolishing waterfront businesses and leaving more than 2 million people Without eleectricity. At least nine people have been confirmed dead in the US.

Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said first responders have so far focused on “rush” searches, aimed at emergency rescues and initial assessments, to be followed by two additional waves of searches.

He said Friday that initial responders could detect deaths without confirming them.



— Hurricane Ian heads for the Carolinas after hitting Florida

— In the aftermath of Ian, concerned families help rescue efforts

— Woman braves flooding from Hurricane Ian to check on stranger’s mother

— After Ian, the effects in Southwest Florida are everywhere

— In a Florida trailer park, survivors speak of Ian’s rage

— Find more AP coverage here:



CHARLESTON SC — Charleston County emergency services were suspended Friday as officials prepared for Hurricane Ian to hit the South Carolina coast.

In a tweet, officials said they were pausing response efforts “due to current wind conditions” and would resume service “as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Charleston police also restricted access to the city’s Battery area, a spot at the tip of the peninsula that’s home to many historic multimillion-dollar homes.


TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced Friday that the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation will donate $1 million each.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities throughout the state of Florida, but especially in the southwestern region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement issued by the team. “In times like these, the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee during the storm.


CHARLESTON SC – Many areas in central Charleston’s peninsula were under water Friday noon and authorities reported widespread power outages throughout the historic city as Hurricane Ian approached.

Officials said power had been knocked out across the city as high winds and sheets of rain battered trees and power lines in anticipation of Ian making landfall on the South Carolina coast.

The expected landfall of the storm coincided with high tide, a circumstance that is forecast to lead to widespread road blockages.

City officials were out early Friday, cleaning storm drains and pumping water out of the historic Battery area along the city’s southern edge, into Charleston Harbor.


FORT MYERS, Fla. — Thousands of long-term care facility residents in Florida displaced by Hurricane Ian.

Kristen Knapp of the Florida Health Care Association says about 47 nursing homes and 115 assisted living facilities have been evacuated as of Friday, with about 8,000 residents among them.

While structural damage and flooding were reported at facilities along the storm’s path, Knapp said there have yet to be any reports of serious injuries or deaths among residents of those homes.

Steve Bahmer of Leading Age Florida, which represents nonprofit long-term care facilities, offered a similar assessment, with reports of minor damage, broken windows, downed trees and flooding. He said one facility was hit by a tornado, but residents have been able to stay there.

At least seven people have been confirmed dead in Florida, a number that is likely to rise as authorities confirm more deaths and continue searching for people.


CHARLESTON, SC — The main airport in Charleston, South Carolina, closed ahead of the expected arrival of Hurricane Ian.

Charleston International Airport officials said Friday they had closed the airport, where airlines had already canceled dozens of flights and winds reached 40 mph.

The airport will remain closed until 6 am on Saturday.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster planned a briefing at 12:30 pm on Friday. Under a federal disaster declaration approved by President Joe Biden, emergency federal aid was made available to supplement South Carolina state, tribal and local response efforts related to the storm, which was expected to make landfall in the state. later on Friday.


CHARLESTON, South Carolina — High winds blew through Charleston, South Carolina early Friday, with powerful gusts bending tree limbs and sending jets of rain steadily falling sideways as Hurricane Ian approached.

The streets were largely empty, a normally packed morning commute muted by the advancing storm. Flash flood warnings were posted, with rain of up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) forecast for the Charleston area, and a high tide expected just before noon, a circumstance that often floods the central peninsula on its own. only with moderate rains.


ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida. – The Florida Highway Patrol says a 37-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman were killed Thursday afternoon when their car overturned in a water-filled ditch in northern Florida amid Hurricane Ian’s impact on the state.

An incident report says the driver apparently lost control of the vehicle, which went onto the grassy shoulder before plunging into a water-filled ditch along Cracker Swamp Road in Putnam County, which lies to the southwest. of St Augustine. The area was inundated with rain when Hurricane Ian passed through the state on Thursday.

At least six people were confirmed dead in Florida.


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