By Amber Nodes
Hurricane Ian hit the shores of Florida on Sept. 21 with winds as high as 150 mph, causing major power outages, severe floods, injuries, deaths and evacuations, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
CBS News reported that there were at least 28 deaths as of Sept. 24 due to the storm.
On Sept 23, Hurricane Ian then made landfall in southern Virginia and both Carolinas. CBS reported that Hurricane Ian caused power outages across Virginia and the Carolinas
“This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida's history,” President Biden said in a speech at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters. “The numbers are still unclear, but we’re hearing early reports of what may be substantial loss of life.”
Hurricane Ian is a record-breaking storm, according to CNN, tied for the strongest to hit Florida on the west coast of the peninsula, and having the same speed as Hurricane Charley in 2004.
The Orlando Sentinel reported downed power lines, record floods and rainfall, fallen trees, closed roads and severe damages from floods, like buildings and damaged houses.
Seminole County Assistant Fire Chief, Jeff Blake revealed that around 250 calls to emergency services were made overnight from Sept. 21 through Sept. 22 about “downed power lines, fire alarms and car accidents,” according to the Orlando Sentinel. After the storm passed, first responders came down the southwest coast and barrier islands to start rescue efforts.
ABC wrote that Hurricane Ian hit landfall 4 times. It first hit Cuba as a Category 3, then a Florida island where it impacted as a Category 4, then mainland central Florida but was downgraded to a tropical storm before picking up speed in the Atlantic Ocean and becoming a Category 1 hurricane. It then traveled through the state off the east coast before arriving in Virginia and the Carolinas.
Flooding in some places has reached over six feet, according to Politico, and Biden has declared Hurricane Ian a major disaster, which means that federal resources can now help the local rescue efforts. Biden is also sending FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell to evaluate where Florida needs aid. FEMA administrators said officials will be headed to Florida as soon as it is safe to fly and will collect post-storm data to report on the “greatest areas of impact.”
According to Politico, the declaration of major disaster federal aid could include relief for people who do not have property insurance in the form of low-cost loans, grants for home reconstruction, temporary housing and other programs to help with rescues. Five thousand National Guard members were activated to help with rescue measures and 40,000 workers are restoring power in Florida.
“At times like this America comes together, we’re gonna pull together as one team, as one America” said Biden at FEMA headquarters. “We’re gonna do our best to build Florida back as quickly as possible."