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Hurricane Ian: ‘catastrophic’ damage in Florida as trapped residents are rescued

  • Hurricane Ian: ‘catastrophic’ damage in Florida as trapped residents are rescued
    Biden says storm could ‘be deadliest in state’s history’ as authorities express fears of a growing death toll Hurricane Ian: ‘catastrophic’ damage in Florida as trapped residents are rescued
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Society
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Emergency crews raced on Thursday to reach stranded Florida residents as Hurricane Ian trained its sights on the Carolinas after cutting a coast-to-coast path of destruction across Florida, leaving behind deadly floodwaters, downed power lines and widespread damage.

Biden says storm could ‘be deadliest in state’s history’ as authorities express fears of a growing death toll.

The “catastrophic” scale of damage wreaked by Hurricane Ian’s 150mph deadly rampage across Florida became clearer on Thursday as emergency crews rescued trapped residents from flooded homes, and authorities expressed fears of a growing death toll.

Search and rescue crews conducted hundreds of missions in areas of south-west Florida that were submerged by a storm surge of up to 18ft after one of the most powerful storms to strike the US swept ashore on Wednesday.

Joe Biden said Ian “could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history”, adding at an afternoon briefing at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) that he was “hearing early reports of what may be substantial loss of life”.

Officials locally were more cautious. Chris Constance, commissioner of Charlotte county, said he knew of six confirmed fatalities, but was unaware of the circumstances. In Lee county, sheriff Carmine Marceno said he was aware of “roughly five”.

Authorities confirmed at least one Florida death — a 72-year-old man in Deltona who fell into a canal while using a hose to drain his pool in the heavy rain, the Volusia county sheriff’s office said. Two other storm deaths were reported in Cuba.