Miami, Oct 1 (EFE).- Florida authorities Saturday reported 53 deaths from Hurricane Ian while the governor of North Carolina announced four confirmed deaths from the powerful cyclone, which has not yet caused any fatalities in South Carolina.
Florida’s Medical Examiners Commission put the Ian death toll at 53, the largest number of them in Lee County (35) on the southwest coast, the worst affected area and where the hurricane made landfall on Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 240 kph (149 mph).
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said that out of the four deaths recorded so far, three of them were caused in vehicle accidents on Friday due to weather conditions caused by Ian, which made landfall in the neighboring South Carolina that day and shortly thereafter was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone.
No deaths have been reported in South Carolina, according to Gov. Henry McMaster, who said that electricity had been almost completely restored.
“There is damage. There’s some heartbreak. There’s work to be done. But all and all, it’s another good story for South Carolina,” McMaster said.
In Florida, on the other hand, the situation is very different.
On Saturday, three days after the hurricane struck, more than 10,000 people are still in shelters set up by the authorities, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency officials deployed in the area.
They said that they were continuing to carry out rescue operations for people still trapped in their homes, especially on the island of Sanibel, where there is still no potable water, electricity or basic infrastructure.
More than 1,000 rescues had been carried out until Saturday morning, according to data from the office of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
In Lee County, 73 percent of the population was without electricity as of noon although power is being restored at a quick pace, DeSantis said.
The Florida governor announced Saturday that the SpaceX aerospace company, owned by tycoon Elon Musk, has made its Starlink satellite internet service available to the state to help in the response.
The National Hurricane Center said that the post-tropical cyclone may produce up to 100 milliliters of rain over the center of the Appalachian mountain range on Saturday, including parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia, where it may cause flooding and strong wind gusts.
Forecasters say that Ian could dissipate later in the afternoon or evening as it moves over Virginia. EFE