Hurricane Ian is barreling toward South Carolina today and is expected to hit as a Category 1 storm after leaving at least four people dead and 200,000 without power in Florida.
The National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. update that tropical-storm-force winds were ongoing throughout much of the Carolinas this morning and warned that life-threatening storm surge and hurricane conditions would arrive by afternoon.
The storm, which is about 105 miles SSE of Charleston, S.C., and about 185 miles SSW of Cape Fear, N.C., is traveling north near 9 mph while packing winds of 85 mph.
The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline, according to the NHC.
A hurricane warning is in effect from the Savannah River to Cape Fear, N.C., and a hurricane watch is in effect for east of Cape Fear to Surf City, N.C. Storm surge warnings are in effect for much of South Carolina’s coast, and many rivers in that state and Florida.
BoatUS is warning boaters on inland waterways to prepare for Ian as it continues its trajectory north. “Hurricane preparation is no longer an issue just for coastal boaters,” said BoatUS public affairs vice president Scott Croft in a statement.
Gov. Ron DeSantis told the Associated Press that at least 700 rescues — most of them by air — have been conducted so far by the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Guard and “urban search-and-rescue teams.”
In the Orlando area, Orange County firefighters used boats to reach people in a flooded neighborhood.
Fort Myers, Fla., resident Juli Kern told Trade Only Today that many of her friends and neighbors live along canals and their homes remained flooded up to their rooftops on Thursday night.
Images of the catastrophic damage continued to emerge Thursday.
Watch U.S. Coast Guard footage here.
President Joe Biden said Ian could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history, and AccuWeather founder and CEO Joel Myers predicted the economic damages caused by the storm could approach $120 billion.
The U.S. Coast Guard tweeted this morning that a body was recovered near Ocean Edge Marina, and that crews recovered nine of the 17 Cuban migrants that were missing at sea after their vessel sank. The Southeast branch urged people not to take to the seas during the storm.
Legacy Harbour Hotel & Suites in Fort Myers has a banner on its website saying the marina is temporarily closed due to damage from Ian.
Legacy was mentioned on CNN, which showed several boats carried over from the marina to dry land by Ian. One boat, a large vintage Bayliner called On The Hook, line was still tethered to a cleat in a large chunk of dock.
Since 2017, an “unprecedented number of storms rated Category 4 or stronger have lashed the U.S. shoreline,” a byproduct of climate change, according to The Washington Post.