At Least 66 People Killed in Florida After Hurricane Ian Causes Catastrophic Damage and Flooding

Members of mediccorps.org help evacuate Tom Acerbo in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Pine Island, Florida, Saturday. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

Days after Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida, shell-shocked residents are still assessing the damage left behind by record-high storm surge, damaging winds and catastrophic flooding that left some areas of the Sunshine State unrecognizable.

At least 66 people were killed by Ian in Florida as it swallowed homes in its furious rushing waters, obliterated roadways and ripped down powerlines. Four people were also killed in storm-related incidents in North Carolina, officials say.

Nearly 900,000 customers in Florida still did not have power as of early Sunday morning, and more than 40,000 did not have power in North Carolina, according to PowerOutage.us.

The hurricane – expected to be ranked the most expensive storm in Florida’s history – made landfall Wednesday as a powerful Category 4 and had weakened to a post-tropical cyclone by Saturday, dropping rain over parts of West Virginia and western Maryland.

While sunshine has returned to Florida, many there are contending with Ian’s sobering aftermath: a power grid that may take weeks to fix, destroyed homes, damaged landmarks, and lost loves ones.

The devastation stretched from Florida’s coastal towns to inland cities like Orlando, but was felt most intensely in southwestern coastal communities, like Fort Myers and Naples.

Crews had rescued and evacuated more than 1,070 people from flooded areas in southwest and central Florida and transported 78 people from a flooded elderly care facility as of Saturday morning, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said in a news release.

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SOURCE: CNN, Nouran Salahieh

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