Sylvie Claire / October 1, 2022
The storm Ian brought down its violent winds and heavy rains on South Carolina on Friday, after having devastated large parts of Florida, where it killed several dozen people.
The authorities of Florida confirmed, Friday evening, a new death toll of 23 victims after the passage of Hurricane Ian, most by drowning and in their great majority of elderly people. Some American media evoke a human toll even heavier, the television channel CNN evoking 45 deaths. After devastating Florida, Ian headed to South Carolina, where it made landfall in the early afternoon near Georgetown as a Category 1 hurricane, accompanied by winds of up to 140 km / h, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Although it then weakened to a post-tropical storm (winds up to 110 km/h), its downpour caused flash flooding in the state and in North Carolina, where some areas could receive up to 20 cm of rainfall. President Joe Biden urged residents to heed calls for caution from local authorities. In South Carolina, they had urged people not to drive on flooded roads.
This is a dangerous storm that will bring high winds and lots of water, but the most dangerous thing will be human error. Be smart, make good decisions, check on your loved ones and stay safe,” tweeted Governor Henry McMaster. Ian is expected to “continue to weaken overnight and dissipate over western North Carolina or Virginia late tomorrow,” according to the Hurricane Center on Saturday.
Some 575,000 homes and businesses were already without power Friday night in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, according to the specialized site PowerOutage. In Florida, in addition to the heavy human toll, the material damage is “historic”, the level reached by the rising water was unprecedented, according to Governor Ron DeSantis. Streets and houses were invaded by water and boats moored in marinas were thrown on land by the storm. On Friday, in Kissimmee, not far from Orlando, authorities were driving through flooded areas in boats to rescue residents trapped in their homes.
In the state, “we’re just beginning to see the extent of the destruction,” which “may rank among the worst” in U.S. history, Biden said in a speech. “It’s going to take months, years to rebuild,” he lamented. As of Friday evening, more than 1.4 million customers there remained without power two days after Ian’s passing, according to PowerOutage.
In the coastal city of Fort Myers, described by Ron DeSantis as the “epicenter,” a handful of restaurants and bars had reopened and dozens of people were sitting on patios. According to initial estimates, the passage of Hurricane Ian could cost insurers tens of billions of dollars and will weigh on U.S. growth, particularly due to flight cancellations and damage to agricultural production.