Hurricane Ian is no longer pounding Florida, but the aftermath of its power will be felt for some time.
By Sunday night, more than 1,600 people had been rescued statewide and dozens of people were reported dead. Emergency workers are going door-to-door looking for survivors and bodies.
Most of the deaths have been recorded in Lee County, which was not in the storm’s path in the first forecasts for the storm’s trajectory. Eventually, Ian blew northeastward across Florida to the Atlantic Ocean side of the state and then veered northward and gathered new strength over the warm ocean water and made U.S. landfall a second time in South Carolina. Ian’s remnants were felt in Virginia also, causing the town of Chincoteague to declare a state of emergency Sunday.
Florida Governor Rod DeSantis said Sunday that 42,000 linemen have been deployed in response to the more than 840,000 power outages. He said the linemen have already restored power to more than 1.8 million accounts across the state.
Also Sunday, Casey DeSantis, the governor’s wife, announced the Florida Disaster Fund had raised more than $21 million in 48 hours. The fund, the governor’s office said, is “the State of Florida’s official private fund established to provide financial assistance to our communities as they respond to and recover from times of emergency or disaster.”
“This storm was really dangerous,’ Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency told Fox News Sunday. She said one lesson from the storm is that Americans “need to understand what their risk is” where they choose to live, and that “flood insurance is your best bet” in protecting a family’s assets.
U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Florida Wednesday, after their Monday trip to Puerto Rico, damaged last month by Hurricane Fiona.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.