US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida, may have caused “significant” loss of life.
Joe Biden fears the worst. “Ian may be the worst hurricane in Florida’s history. The statistics (…) are not yet clear, but we are getting preliminary information indicating that human losses may be substantial,” the US president said during a visit to the campus of FEMA, the federal agency that supports natural disasters.
Florida was hit by Hurricane Ian’s flooding, high winds and “catastrophic” flooding. The latter was downgraded to category 1.
Florida is hit by powerful storm Ian. Its strong winds and downpours caused “catastrophic” flooding and massive power outages. According to NHC (National Hurricane Center American) details, Ian, then classified as Category 3, made landfall on the coast of Cayo Costa (southwest of the state) at 3:05 pm local time on Wednesday.
Many cities across the state are reeling under heavy floods. According to state governor Ron DeSantis, flooding at times exceeded 3 meters.
In Naples, southwest Florida, images from MSNBC showed completely flooded streets and cars floating in the current. In Fort Myers, flooding was so severe that some neighborhoods looked like lakes.
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Near the Keys Archipelago, rough conditions capsized a boat carrying migrants, and the coast guard was searching for 20 people, three rescued and four able to swim ashore.
The storm left more than 2 million homes without power Wednesday evening. This is particularly the case of Punta Gorda, which is almost completely shrouded in darkness. Only a few buildings with generators were lit.
Downgraded to category 1
According to Ron DeSantis, Ian was “one of the five strongest hurricanes ever to hit Florida.”
The weather event should move further inland by Thursday afternoon. Previously classified as a Category 3, out of 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, Ion was downgraded to a Category 1, the NHC announced around 3 a.m.
However, the director of FEMA (the federal agency responsible for natural disaster management), Deanne Criswell, warned that Ian would remain an “extremely dangerous” storm “for days to come.”
Before Florida, the hurricane hit Cuba, killing two people.
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