In South Carolina, authorities continue to assess the damage.
Rescuers searched in Florida on Saturday for survivors among the ruins of homes flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, as authorities in South Carolina began assessing the damage caused by its scourge.
The remnants of one of the strongest and costliest hurricanes in US history continued to head north.
The powerful storm terrified millions for most of a week, pummeling western Cuba before wreaking havoc across Florida from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic, where it gained enough strength for a final assault on South Carolina.
Now weakened to a post-tropical cyclone, Ian was moving across central North Carolina, toward Virginia and New York.
At least 30 people have died, including 27 in Florida, mostly by drowning but others by the storm’s tragic aftermath. An elderly couple died when their oxygen machines stopped working during a power outage, authorities said.
Meanwhile, heartbroken residents waded through knee-high waters, salvaging whatever possessions they could find from their flooded homes and placing them on rafts and canoes.
“I want to sit in the corner and cry. I don’t know what else I can do,” Stevie Escudero lamented after going through her destroyed apartment in Fort Myers, with mud covering the kitchen floor and sticking to her sandals.
Ian’s vortex made landfall on Friday in South Carolina near Georgetown, a small community along Wunyah Bay 60 miles north of Charleston. The storm destroyed piers, including two connected to the popular Myrtle Beach resort.
The storm’s winds were much weaker Friday than when Ian hit the Florida coast in the Gulf of Mexico days earlier. Authorities and volunteers continued to assess the damage as stunned residents tried to understand what had happened.
Even though Ian left Florida days ago, new problems kept cropping up. A 14-mile stretch of Interstate 75 was closed Friday night in both directions in the Port Charlotte area due to the massive rise of the Myakka River.
Ross Giarratana, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tampa, said Myakka was reaching a record level of 3.88 meters on Saturday morning.
Further to the southeast, the Peace River was also overflowing Saturday morning, flooding Polk, Hardee and DeSoto counties. Most of those points had not yet reached their maximum level.
Hurricane Ian has most likely caused “more than $100 billion in damage,” including $64 billion in privately insured losses, according to disaster forecasting firm Karen Clark & Co., which regularly issues catastrophe estimates.
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