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Ian slows as Florida hurricane death toll grows

In Florida, nearly 1.3 million homes and businesses were still without power early Saturday, three days after Ian hit the state.

The lack of electricity and water is the reason 16-year-old Meah Fields and her family had to leave their home in Cape Coral, where they survived the storm, for Sarasota. The teen said they all needed a place where they could recharge and cool off until power is restored in the seaside town.

As of now, she doesn’t know when they will come home.

Ian was Fields’ first hurricane. His family evacuated during Irma in 2017, but decided to stay this time because they didn’t think Ian would hit them. They also didn’t expect Ian’s ferocity, he said in a phone call Saturday.

“Honestly, it was really scary… My parents even said they had never experienced anything like this,” he said. “It was gale force winds for at least 10 hours.”

Fields, his 14-year-old brother and their parents huddled in the hallway until the storm passed. Aside from some missing shingles, the family’s home was saved.

In Fort Myers, which initially bore the brunt of Ian, residents waded through knee-deep water and used canoes and rafts to salvage whatever possessions they could find from their flooded homes.

“I want to sit in a corner and cry,” Stevie Scuderi told The Associated Press as she shuffled through her nearly destroyed Fort Myers apartment, mud from the kitchen sticking to her purple sandals. “I do not know what else to do.”

In South Carolina, Ian’s eye made landfall near Georgetown, a small community along Winyah Bay about 60 miles north of historic Charleston. The storm washed out parts of four piers along the coast, including two that connect to the popular resort town of Myrtle Beach. More than 62,000 clients did not have electricity.

Phil McCausland reported from South Carolina, Leila Sackur reported from London, England, Corky Siemaszko from New York City.

Associated Press other Minyvonne Burke contributed.



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