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Home LATEST NEWS Hurricane Ian strengthens, targeting South Carolina after Florida

Hurricane Ian strengthens, targeting South Carolina after Florida

Hurricane Ian made landfall near Georgetown, South Carolina, on Friday afternoon, knocking out power to more than 200,000 homes and businesses.

Ian made landfall at 2:05 p.m. as a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone about three hours after making its second landfall, but authorities in South Carolina and Florida have warned that Ian and its aftermath pose a grave danger.

As of Friday night, 85,000 people were still without power in the state, according to Poweroutage.us. The storm was headed for North Carolina and Virginia, bringing “substantial” flooding threats, the center said.

The latest on Hurricane Ian

  • Dozens of deaths in eight Florida counties have been attributed to the storm.
  • As of Friday night, Ian was a post-tropical cyclone heading for North Carolina and Virginia with 50 mph winds.
  • Parts of Florida should expect record high flooding through next week
  • Officials at a Florida hospital fear outbreaks of disease and infection after days without running water
  • More than 2 million customers lost power in Puerto Rico and four states: Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia

The hurricane hit parts of Florida on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, devastating communities and killing at least 23 people, more than half in Lee County, state officials said.

According to an NBC News tally based on local reports, 34 deaths were attributed to the storm.

Weather officials with the National Hurricane Center said the central part of the state should expect record high flooding over the next week.

Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie suggested the death toll could be higher. However, he said it was yet to be confirmed whether many of them were related to the storm.

Speaking after a briefing with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, President Joe Biden also warned Thursday night that Ian could be responsible for “substantial loss of life” and end up being the deadliest storm in Florida history.

“I’ve talked to the commissioners and they’re concerned,” he said.

Boats are scattered in a wooded area and along the side of the road after being pushed forward by rising waters from Hurricane Ian near Fort Myers Beach on Thursday.Win McNamee/Getty Images

According to Poweroutage.us, more than 1.3 million customers in Florida were without power as of Friday night. Another million customers were in the dark in the Carolinas, Virginia and Puerto Rico, according to the site.

Startling videos and photos emerging from Florida have captured the level of devastation across the state, with some images showing heroic rescues of people stranded in submerged cars and wading into flood waters, while others portray the destruction that left Ian.

The hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm on Thursday but strengthened again to a hurricane, according to the hurricane center.

In addition to the warning of life-threatening storm surge and hurricane conditions, torrential rain is also likely in the Carolinas and southwestern Virginia.

The center of the storm is expected to move inland across the Carolinas on Friday night and Saturday, the hurricane center said.

A crowd watches as power lines are repaired after days without power in El Cerro, Cuba.
A crowd watches as power lines are repaired Thursday after several days without power in El Cerro, Cuba. Adalberto Roque / AFP – Getty Images

In Cuba, residents continue to deal with the aftermath of Ian, who cut power across the country in sweeping blackouts.

At least three hurricane-related deaths were reported in the island nation earlier this week. One woman died after a wall fell on her, while another died from a roof collapse. Meanwhile, cleanup efforts are underway in the worst affected parts of the country.

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