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Hurricane Ian starts lashing South Carolina after leaving at least 23 reported dead and millions without power across Florida – Boston News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) — As much of Florida takes stock Friday of apocalyptic damage left by deadly Hurricane Ian, the Category 1 storm is lashing South Carolina, where an expected afternoon landfall may deliver more lethal flooding and enough force to alter the coastal landscape.

Ian, which restrengthened in the Atlantic, was barreling toward South Carolina with sustained core winds of 85 mph as of 11 a.m. ET Friday. Its center, just dozens of miles from shore, was due to move onto land between Charleston and Myrtle Beach, forecasters said, with high winds already hitting much of the Carolinas’ coast and life-threatening storm surge and damaging winds expected soon.

“This is a dangerous storm that will bring high winds and a lot of water,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted. “Be smart, make good decisions, check on your loved ones, and stay safe.”

A hurricane warning has been issued from the Savannah River at the Georgia-South Carolina state line to Cape Fear, North Carolina. Considerable flooding is possible from seawater and rain, especially in parts of coastal South Carolina, where storm surge up to 7 feet and 4 to 12 inches of rain could hit, forecasters say.

More than 50,000 power outages already were reported in South Carolina, as well as more than 17,000 in North Carolina, by 11:50 a.m. ET, according to

In South Carolina, Charleston International Airport’s airfield closed Friday because of high winds, the airport said. And Myrtle Beach residents are urged to stay inside during the storm, Mayor Brenda Bethune told CNN.

As Ian moved away from Florida, governors in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia declared emergencies.

The storm likely will have left behind lasting changes to Atlantic landscapes. Coastlines along Georgia and South Carolina may sustain significant alterations because the powerful waves and storm surges brought by Ian could inundate coastal sand dunes, according to the US Geological Survey.

In addition to flooding communities behind the dunes, the storm may push sand back and deposit it inland, which could “reduce the height of protective sand dunes, alter beach profiles and leave areas behind the dunes more vulnerable to future storms,” the agency said.

In Florida: At least 23 reported dead

Meanwhile, Florida confronts the dizzying destruction Ian wrought through much of the peninsula Wednesday and Thursday after it smashed into the southwest coast as a Category 4 storm and plowed through central and northeastern areas.

At least 23 deaths have been reported in the state. Homes on the coast were washed out to sea, buildings were smashed throughout the state, and floodwater ruined homes and businesses and trapped residents, even inland in places like the Orlando area.

Hundreds of rescues have taken place by land, air and sea, with residents stuck in homes or stranded on rooftops, and searchers have made many wellness checks, especially in the Fort Myers and Naples areas, where feet of storm surge inundated streets and homes.

And now, the storm’s aftermath poses new, deadly dangers of its own. Some standing water is electrified, officials warned, while maneuvering through debris-strewn buildings and streets — many without working traffic signals — risks injury. Lack of air conditioning can lead to heat illness, and improper generator use can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

In North Port between Fort Myers and Sarasota, Rosanna Walker stood Thursday in the flood-damaged home where she rode out the storm. Part of her drywall ceiling was hanging down.

“And all of a sudden, the water was coming in through the doors — the top, the bottom, the windows over here,” she told CNN’s John Berman. “It’s all in my closets; I’ve got to empty out my closets.”

“Everything got ruined.”

Here’s what to know about the destruction in Florida:

• Deaths in Florida: At least 23 storm-related deaths have been reported in Florida. The state emergency mangement director has reported 21, including 20 unconfirmed (12 in Charlotte County and eight in Collier County) and one confirmed (in Polk County). Two deaths happened in Volusia County, the sheriff’s office there said. Unconfirmed death cases are being processed by local medical examiners, who decide whether they are disaster-related, state emergency management Director Kevin Guthrie said.

• Power outages: Florida had more than 1.9 million power outages as of late Friday morning, according to Most counties with the highest percentage of residents without power lie in the southwest, including Lee, Charlotte, DeSoto and Hardee.

• Historic flooding in Florida: Record flooding was recorded across central and northern Florida, including at least three rivers that hit all-time flood records. Officials in Orlando warned residents of dangerous flooding, which exceeded a foot in some areas.

• Hundreds of rescues and thousands of evacuations: More than 700 rescues have happened across Florida so far, the governor said Thursday, and thousands of evacuees have been reported. In Lee County, a hospital system had to evacuate more than 1,000 patients after its water supply was cut off, while other widespread evacuations have been reported in prisons and nursing homes. In Fort Myers, the fire chief was “pretty comfortable” by Friday morning that everyone needing help there had been rescued, Mayor Kevin Anderson said.

Much of Fort Myers Beach obliterated: A helicopter flight over Fort Myers Beach shows utter devastation: empty or debris-littered lots where homes and businesses used to be and boats tossed into mangroves. “You’re talking about no structure left. … You’re talking about homes that were thrown into the bay. This is a long-term fix, and it’s life-changing,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said.

• Coast Guard continues rescue Florida flights Friday: Coast Guard crews rescued 95 people in Florida on Thursday, including by lifting people from flooded areas by helicopter, and will continue rescue flights Friday, Rear Adm. Brendan McPherson said. “We’re going to find anybody else that needs assistance,” he said.

• Coastal islands isolated from mainland: Sanibel and Captiva islands in southwest Florida are cut off from the mainland after several parts of a critical causeway were torn away. At least two people were killed in the storm in Sanibel, and the bridge may need to be completely rebuilt, local officials said. Chip Farrar, a resident of the tiny island of Matlacha, told CNN that 50 feet of road essential to reaching the mainland bridge has been washed out, and a second nearby bridge has also collapsed.

• Insured losses in Florida may be enormous: Ian may have caused as much as $47 billion in insured losses in Florida, according to an estimate from property analytics firm CoreLogic, which could make it the second-most expensive storm in the state’s history when adjusted for inflation after 1992’s Hurricane Andrew.

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