Hurricane Ian: DeSantis says ‘We have by no means seen a flood like this’ as Biden explains catastrophe – stay | Hurricane Ian
Biden declares official Florida disaster
Joe Biden has approved a Florida disaster declaration.
The president’s move sends federal funds to support state, tribal and community recovery efforts, including debris clearance, emergency preparedness response and hazard reduction.
Crucially, it also provides federal funding to individuals in certain counties, many in central Florida — Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota — that would allow them “to receive temporary housing grants apply for home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property damage, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.”
The help adds to the Biden administration’s already extensive support for Florida:
The administration has:
– 110,000 gallons of fuel and 18,000 pounds of propane pre-supplied
– Moved in a variety of generators
– 3.7 million meals and 3.5 million liters of water ready
– 300 ambulances working alongside local officials
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 28, 2022
Updated at 8:31 AM EDT
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Electricity service company Florida Power and Light has restored service to over 500,000 customers affected by Hurricane Ian.
Still, “it is anticipated that some customers will experience extended outages because parts of the Southwest Florida electrical system will require remodeling rather than repair,” the company said in a statement, Reuters reports.
It increased its restoration workforce to over 20,000 from 13,000 before the storm, according to FPL, including helping utilities and others in 30 states.
Florida Power & Light is currently the utility with the most outages in all of Florida.
A man died overnight during the storm in Volusia county, local authorities said.
In a statement released Thursday morning, the Volusia Sheriff’s Department said a 72-year-old man from Deltona died overnight after going outside to empty his pool during the storm.
“Deputies got in touch at a home on Poinciana Lane near Lake Bethel around 1am after the victim’s wife reported that he had disappeared after he went outside. In searching for him, deputies found his flashlight and then spotted the victim in a duct behind the house unresponsive.
Several paramedics pulled the victim out of the water and performed CPR until paramedics arrived, but the victim could not be resuscitated. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital,” the statement said.
According to initial investigations, the man attempted to hose the pool down a hill and into a 30-foot-wide canal “where a steep descent into the water was extremely soft and slippery due to the heavy rain.” ”
The district’s curfew, which was in effect last night, has been extended until 7am Friday morning, said George Recktenwald, Volusia district manager.
Updated at 11:58 AM EDT
A video of a shopping cent has surfacedA sign collapsed in Jacksonville, Florida just as a reporter was about to go on the air.
Hurricane Ian: Mall sign collapses as reporter closes to broadcast – video
The First Coast News reporter shoots back in shock as the structure collapses.
“Please tell me you recorded… oh my god!” she said.
Meanwhile, another reporter has gone viral after apparently using a condom to keep her mic dry while reporting in the storm.
Confirming her unconventional protective gear, NBC2 reporter Kyla Galer said: “It helps protect the gear, we’re not allowed to get those mics wet. It’s blowing a lot, it’s raining a lot, so we have to do what we have to do.”
Updated at 11:55 AM EDT
A video of a man rescuing a cat during Hurricane Ian in Southwest Florida went viral overnight, drawing praise from many viewers.
“My friend saves a cat from flooding near Bonita Beach,” he wrote Megan Cruz dig in a caption that accompanied a video of her 29-year-old boyfriend Mike Ross, stepping over knee deep water to save a scared looking cat sitting on an air conditioner.
Ross’ mother, Marybeth Ross, filmed the rescue and she is heard saying, “Look at Michael rescuing the kitten. Awww!”
The video has since been viewed 3.1 million times on Twitter and has garnered plenty of praise and cheers.
“I’m sorry Megan, but he’s everyone’s friend now. I don’t make the rules,” wrote one user.
“Seeing him approach the cat with respect was beautiful! This poor darling was clearly scared and trusting him to take care of it,” said another.
Updated 2/12 EDT
A hospital in Englewood, Fla. is moving patients to its other facilities due to the storm.
In a Facebook post Thursday, HCA Florida Englewood Hospital announced that it has suspended all services and is currently “transferring patients to other HCA Florida Healthcare hospitals” as a “necessary step in preparation for Hurricane Ian.”
The hospital has also set up a patient reunion hotline for patients’ families.
Hurricane Ian is heading northeast
Hurricane Ian is moving northeast at a speed of 8 miles per hour, according to an advisory released this morning by the National Hurricane Center.
“A tack to the north-northeast is expected later today, followed by a tack to the north and north-northwest with an increase in forward speed Friday and Friday night,” it said.
The center of the hurricane is expected to move away from Florida’s east-central coast and hit the coast of South Carolina on Friday.
On Friday night and Saturday, the center will move further inland across the Carolinas, the advisory said, adding that maximum sustained winds will remain near 62 mph with higher gusts.
Guardian graphic on the path of Hurricane Ian
Updated at 10:51 AM EDT
Section of Great Florida Bridge destroyed by hurricane
A section of the Sanibel Causeway – a major thoroughfare connecting the Sanibel and Captiva Islands to the mainland – was destroyed by Hurricane Ian.
“Where the bridge rises from the mainland to the island, one of the first sections of the span has disappeared. There is crumbled pavement near the water. The remainder of the bridge extends forward out of reach,” reported the Tampa Bay Times.
The sidewalk surrounding the bridge is said to have “folded and torn into ribbons like an accordion.”
“Two cars attempted to pass out onto the island at around 1:30am, including a group of young men hoping to reach their friend. They had to turn back,” the outlet added.
Updated at 9:53 AM EDT
Joe Biden will send his Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator to Florida tomorrow to assess response efforts, the White House said.
A White House statement released Thursday morning said:
“The President spoke this morning Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida to discuss steps the Biden-Harris administration is taking to support Florida in response to Hurricane Ian, including issuing a disaster declaration this morning.
“The President notified the Governor that he will be sending his FEMA Administrator to Florida tomorrow to review response efforts and see where additional assistance is needed. The President and Governor are committed to continued close coordination,” he added.
Updated at 10:49 AM EDT
Later in the day there will be more clarity on the number of deaths across the state, the governor said.
“My feeling is that you know the water was very, very high,” DeSantis said, adding, “Hopefully we can see how many of these people get brought to safety.”
Florida has received over 15,000 submissions to its shelter-in-place system, Florida Division of Emergency Management director Kevin Guthrie said at the news conference.
He went on to urge those who were not evacuated to “provide vital information to first responders.”
The number of deaths statewide has not been confirmed, DeSantis said.
What has been confirmed is the numerous 911 calls from residents trapped in their homes by floodwaters. “These people will be screened in the coming days,” the governor said.
Still, he said “we’ve had two unconfirmed deaths” that may be linked to the storm.
DeSantis: “We have never experienced such a flood event”
“We have never experienced such a flood event. We have never seen a storm surge of this magnitude,” the governor said.
Amid numerous communications disruptions across the state, DeSantis announced that 100 portable cell towers will be deployed across Southwest Florida.
Updated at 10:50 am EDT
“Once the storm passed, first responders from the local, state and federal levels began pouring into Southwest Florida in the early hours,” DeSantis said.
The governor described the storm event and the damage inflicted as “historic”.