Hurricane Ian rescue efforts continue, dangers persist

Hurricane Ian rescue efforts continue, dangers persist

FORT MYERS, Florida (NewsNation) — Hurricane Ian The devastation continued Monday as people navigated after the storm. Florida residents kayaked on roads that were passable only a day or two earlier, and hundreds of thousands of residents are still without electricity.

National Guard helicopters continue rescue mission to residents still stranded on the Florida barrier island, as the number of deaths increased over the weekend.

Days after Hurricane Ian carved a path of destruction from Florida to the Carolinas, the the danger persists and even worsens in some places. It was clear the road to recovery from this monster storm would be long and painful.

The storm drenched Virginia with rain on Sunday, and officials warned of the potential for severe flooding along its coast, starting Monday night.

Ian’s remains moved offshore and formed the Nor’easter which is expected to pile more water into the already inundated Chesapeake Bay and threaten to cause the most significant tidal flood event in Virginia’s Hampton Roads area in 10 to 15 years, said Cody Poche. , a National Weather Service meteorologist.

The island city of Chincoteague declared a state of emergency on Sunday and strongly recommended that residents in certain areas evacuate. The East Coast and northern parts of the Outer Bank of North Carolina are also likely to be affected.

At least 68 people have confirmed dead: 61 in Florida, four in North Carolina and three in Cuba.

With the death toll rising, Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the federal government was ready to help massively, focusing first on victims in Florida, which was hit by one of the strongest hurricanes to land. in the United States. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden plan to visit the state on Wednesday.

Flooded highways and collapsed bridges to barrier islands leaves many people isolated amid limited cell phone service and a lack of basic amenities such as water, electricity and internet. Officials warned that the situation in many areas is not expected to improve for several days as the rains are not going anywhere because drains are overflowing.

Electric companies have been working relentlessly to bring electricity back to millions of people on Sunday night.

Fewer than 620,000 homes and businesses in Florida were still without electricity as of Monday morning, down from a peak of 2.6 million.

Criswell told “Fox News Sunday” that the federal government, including the Coast Guard and Department of Defense, had moved into the position of “the greatest search and rescue asset I think we’ve ever placed before.”

However, recovery will take time, said Criswell, who visited the state Friday and Saturday to assess the damage and speak with survivors. He warned that danger lingered with power lines falling in puddles.

More than 1,600 people have been rescued statewide, according to Florida’s emergency management agency.

Rescue missions are ongoing, particularly to Florida’s barrier islands, which were cut off from the mainland when storm surges destroyed causeways and bridges.

The state will build a temporary traffic lane for the largest, said Pine Island, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Sunday, adding that an allocation was approved for the Department of Transportation to build it this week and construction could begin as soon as Monday.

“It’s not going to be a full bridge, you have to cross it maybe at 5 miles per hour or something, but it will at least let people in and out of the island in their vehicles,” the governor told a news conference.

The Coast Guard, municipal and private crews have been using helicopters, boats and even jet skis to evacuate people over the past few days.

In rural Seminole County, north of Orlando, residents wore waders, boots and bug spray to paddle into their flooded homes Sunday.

Ben Bertat found 4 inches of water in his home on the shores of Lake Harney after kayaking there.

“I think it’s going to get worse because all this water has to get to the lake,” said Bertat, pointing to the water flooding the nearby road. “With the saturation of the soil, all these swamps are full and can’t take any more water. It doesn’t seem to be getting any lower.”

Elsewhere, power remained out to at least half of South Carolina’s Pawleys Island, a beach community about 75 miles down the coast from Charleston. In North Carolina, a hurricane uprooted trees and power lines.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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