Hurricane Ian

Hurricane season is in full swing, with Hurricane Ian quickly closing in on Florida. After making landfall in Cuba as a category 3 hurricane on Tuesday, September 26, the hurricane was nearly upgraded to a category 5 prior to making landfall in Sarasota on Wednesday morning.

“Prepare for long duration power outages and flooding rain,” Fox 35 meteorologist Brooks Garner says (via Twitter). “Not [a] good path for us.”

1.9 million people were out of power in Florida after the storm, although this was down from the initial 2.6 million reported just after the storm’s arrival in Sarasota on Wednesday.

“We were given 12 hours notice [to evacuate] in the Cape Coral [and] Fort Myers area,” Florida resident and realtor, Jackie Shepherd recounts. “They thought it was going to Tampa.”

On the morning of September 29, Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm, but by the same night, the storm was reinstated as a hurricane once again.

Search and rescue efforts in Florida are underway, as teams are beginning to search coastal homes and areas before they move inland.

As of Saturday, October 1, the death toll in both Florida and South Carolina from Hurricane Ian has reached 70. The state is expecting that count to continue to rise as rescuers and first responders venture into the debris and destruction left behind.

“Financially, a lot of people couldn’t afford to leave,” Jackie says.

Some Florida residents who lived on houseboats or coastal homes have lost everything.

The Guardian says that “at least four piers have been destroyed” in South Carolina. Although Ian was downgraded to a “post-tropical storm,” residents in South Carolina and other states around it are still bracing for the high winds, flooding rains, and other dangers related to the weather.

The White House has approved federal assistance for those in Florida and South Carolina. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website, this will include the federal government paying for the removal and cleanup of debris, as well as supplying resources to survivors.

States just inland of the coast are preparing for devastating weather conditions as the result of Ian, including preparations for major rain storms causing flooding and possible tornadoes.

Georgia’s governor issued a state of emergency, with their own emergency management agency preparing to go into action. Virginia’s Incident Management Agency is also prepping their resources, which, according to WDBJ 7 from Roanoke, VA, includes “three days worth of supplies” that they’re ready to provide all across the state.

Florida has the Florida Disaster Fund to help raise money for disasters or other emergencies in the state. For relief from Hurricane Ian, all normally deducted fees will be waived so all donations can go directly to help Florida residents recover from the storm. More information can be found at Donate to the Florida Disaster Fund – Volunteer Florida.

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