At least 21 people in Florida are dead after Hurricane Ian and nearly 2 million remain without power as the state takes stock of the damage caused by the powerful storm.
Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, warned on Friday that most storm-related deaths have yet to be confirmed. The death toll will no doubt also fluctuate as search and rescue efforts continue.
More than 1,000 rescue workers have been dispatched to the Florida coast, with more than 700 rescue operations conducted to date.
Guthrie said Coast Guard rescuers are encountering numerous flooded properties, including houses where “the water was above the roof”.
At one such house, “we had a Coast Guard lifeguard swim in and he could tell they were human remains,” he said.
With property damage estimated at up to $47 billion, Hurricane Ian could be the costliest storm since Hurricane Andrew destroyed and damaged more than 150,000 homes in the state in 1992.
The storm, now a Category 1 hurricane, is expected to turn north and make landfall in South Carolina on Friday.
Both North and South Carolina brace for coastal rainfall of 8 to 12 inches, with some local extremes of up to 18 inches possible in some areas. Wind gusts are expected to peak at around 100mph by Friday.
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