Hurricane Ian moves through Virginia as death toll rises in Florida and the Carolinas

Hurricane Ian, South Carolina
Chairs sit outside of the Garden City Chapel and Retreat after the church was flooded during Hurricane Ian on Oct. 1, 2022, in Garden City Beach, South Carolina. Ian hit Florida as a category 4 storm causing widespread damage as it crossed the state before moving into the Atlantic and then hitting South Carolina as a category 1 storm near Pawleys Island. |

After battering Florida and the Carolinas with a combined death toll of at least 70, Hurricane Ian moved northeast through Virginia as a weakened storm early Sunday, lashing rain and possibilities of flooding in West Virginia, Maryland and southern Pennsylvania.

Virginia residents were bracing for cool and wet weather Sunday.

“Not quite done with Ian just yet as we endure another day of damp, dreary, chilly, drizzly, rainy weather conditions,” read a tweet by the National Weather Service in Blacksburg.

In Florida, at least 66 people were killed by Ian, and more than half of the deaths occurred in southwestern Lee County, which includes Fort Myers and Sanibel Island, where at least 35 people died, CNN reported Sunday.

Nearly 900,000 customers in the state remained without power as of early Sunday.

Many in Florida lacked clean drinking water and some communities, including islands, remained completely cut off as of early Sunday, The New York Times reported, adding that Gov. Ron DeSantis was working with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to restore broadband internet access to people in southwest Florida.

The Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, headed by evangelist Franklin Graham, is also working with local authorities and church partners in Florida to provide relief to the affected families.

Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa in Florida as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph last Wednesday.

In North Carolina, at least four people died — three from traffic accidents and one from carbon-monoxide poisoning caused by a generator — after Ian passed through the state Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

The highest rain reported out of North Carolina was 8.10 inches near Williston, The Weather Channel reported.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged residents to stay safe as emergency crews cleared debris after the storm. More than 30,000 customers remained without power.

“The storm has passed, but many hazards remain with downed trees, downed power lines and power outages,” the governor said in a statement. “We mourn with the families of those who have died and urge everyone to be cautious while cleaning up to avoid more deaths or injuries.”

In South Carolina, where Ian made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane Friday afternoon, no deaths were reported and the state sustained far less damage than was anticipated, WSJ said. However, the storm caused record power outages affecting at least 239,000 residents and wind damage stretched far into the interior of the state.

The hardest-hit parts of the state were from Charleston north to Horry County. In areas near Charleston, 10.75 inches of rain was recorded, according to The Weather Channel.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are scheduled to visit Florida this week after traveling to Puerto Rico, which suffered damage after Hurricane Fiona last month.

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