Hurricane Ian has cut a path of destruction across the US state of Florida, with floods trapping people in homes and power knocked out for about 2.5 million residents.
Authorities had only begun to assess the damage from the hurricane, one of the strongest to hit the United States in years, early on Thursday, with no electricity and virtually no mobile service making it near impossible for many people to call for help from the hardest hit coastal areas in the southwest of the state abutting the Gulf of Mexico, where the hurricane made landfall
Authorities confirmed at least one death in Florida – of a 72-year-old man in Deltona who fell into a canal while using a hose to drain his pool in the heavy rain, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.
A boat carrying Cuban migrants sank on Wednesday in stormy weather east of Key West. Rescuers were able to save three people. Twenty others remained missing.
An unspecified number of people were stranded in high-risk areas of Florida after choosing to ride out the storm at home rather than heed evacuation orders, but they were beyond the immediate reach of rescue crews, Governor Ron DeSantis said.
“The impacts of this storm are historic and the damage that was done was historic,” DeSantis said during a news briefing. “We have never seen a flood event like this. We have never seen storm surge of this magnitude.”