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Hurricane Ian moves towards the Carolinas after hitting Florida

CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Friday, a rejuvenated Hurricane Ian set its sights on the South Carolina coast and the historic city of Charleston, with forecasts forecasting a storm surge and flooding. The megastorm had previously wreaked catastrophic damage in Florida and trapped thousands in their houses.

As the whole coast of South Carolina was under a storm warning on Thursday, a continuous stream of automobiles left Charleston, possibly in response to official advice to seek higher ground. In a flood-prone neighborhood, storefronts were fortified with sandbags against rising water levels.

Along the Battery area at the southern tip of the 350-year-old city’s peninsula, both locals and tourists took pictures against the backdrop of Charleston Harbor’s whitecaps and swaying palm trees.

With sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph), the National Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. Friday update placed Ian approximately 145 miles (235 kilometers) southeast of Charleston and predicted a “life-threatening storm surge” and hurricane conditions along the Carolina coastline later Friday.

The hurricane warning extended from the Savannah River to Cape Fear, and the center predicted flooding over the Carolinas and southwest Virginia. In coastal parts of the Carolinas, the forecast predicted a storm surge of up to 7 feet (2.1 meters) and rainfall of up to 8 inches (20 centimeters).

Thursday, rescue personnel in Florida steered boats and waded through riverine streets to save thousands of Floridians stranded in their flooded homes and businesses destroyed by Hurricane Ian.

On Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Guard, and urban search-and-rescue teams completed at least 700 rescues, primarily by air, according to the governor of Florida.

Thursday drone footage shows a damaged Cape Coral, Florida. (Reference: CNN)

Category 4 hurricane Ian made landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday as one of the fiercest storms to ever strike the United States. It flooded residences on both sides of the state, cut off the only road access to a barrier island, wrecked a historic waterfront pier, and knocked out power to 2.6 million homes and businesses in Florida, or about a quarter of utility customers. Approximately 2,1 million of these clients were still without power days later.

Michael Wehner, a climate scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, stated that climate change delivered at least 10 percent extra rainfall to Hurricane Ian, based on a research conducted shortly after the storm.

Tuesday’s hurricane slammed Florida and Cuba, resulting in at least four deaths in Florida and three deaths in Cuba, respectively.

In the Fort Myers region, the hurricane tore homes from their foundations and scattered them among the debris. The beachfront businesses were completely demolished, leaving behind twisted rubble. Broken docks floated at weird angles beside wrecked vessels. On vacant lots where houses formerly stood, fires smoldered.

William Goodison, who had lived for 11 years at a Fort Myers Beach mobile home park, stated, “I don’t know how anyone could have survived in there” amidst the rubble. Goodison stated that he was only alive because he rode out the storm at his son’s home in the interior.

The cyclone ripped through the park of approximately sixty houses, leaving many of them demolished or irreparably damaged, including Goodison’s single-wide mobile home. Goodison and his son navigated waist-deep water while dragging two garbage cans containing the few items they were able to recover, including a portable air conditioner, some tools, and a baseball bat.

As it approaches South Carolina, Hurricane Ian brings extensive flooding and destruction.

Broken trees, boat trailers, and other debris cluttered the entrance to Fort Myers. When the storm surge swamped their engines, motorists abandoned their vehicles on the roadway.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno stated that his staff was scrambling to respond to thousands of 911 calls in the Fort Myers area despite the impassability of numerous roads and bridges.

To reach stranded individuals, rescue personnel hacked through fallen trees. Due to electrical and cellular failures, many in the hardest-hit regions were unable to call for aid.

A portion of the Sanibel Causeway collapsed into the water, preventing access to the barrier island where 6,300 residents reside.

Ian regained hurricane power Thursday evening over the Atlantic, hours after falling to a tropical storm while passing the Florida peninsula. Friday, a Category 1 storm was expected to strike South Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Wednesday, firemen in Naples, Florida rescued a woman who was stranded in her car due to high water. (NAPLES FIRE-RESCUE DEPARTMENT/CNN is the source)

The National Guard was deploying to South Carolina to assist with the aftermath, including water rescues. And in Washington, President Joe Biden authorized an emergency designation for the state, a necessary move to expedite federal aid for the state’s recovery after the passing of Ian.

The storm was expected to strike North Carolina later, according to forecasters. Roy Cooper, governor of North Carolina, encouraged residents to prepare for heavy rain, severe gusts, and possible power disruptions.

Cooper stated Thursday during a visit to the state’s emergency operations center that up to 7 inches (17.8 cm) of rain might fall in some locations, along with the possibility of mountain landslides and tornadoes statewide.

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