Florida death toll on Saturday afternoon at least 77 – more than double the number from morning
Roughly 1,000 people so far have been rescued from flooded areas along Florida’s southwestern coast.
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The death toll in Florida late Saturday afternoon as a result of Hurricane Ian reached 77 – over twice the number reported earlier in the day.
The storm made U.S. landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane – leveling homes and taking lives with storm surges and flooding rains driven by 150 mph winds.
After hitting the state’s western coast in the mid afternoon, the historic storm raked across Florida, regained strength upon reaching the Atlantic Ocean, then headed north for a second U.S. landfall Friday in coastal South Carolina.
The death toll in Florida alone early Saturday was 27, according to the Associated Press.
Ian, one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the U.S., impacted millions of people, hitting western Cuba earlier in the week, then gaining strength in the warm Gulf of Mexico waters before striking Florida.
Most of those who died drown, but others died from related causes – including an elderly couple who died after their oxygen machines shut off when they lost power, authorities said.
Roughly 1,000 people so far have been rescued from flooded areas along Florida's western coast, the National Guard told the wire service.
The South Carolina beach community of Pawleys Island was among the hardest hit by Ian in that state.
The Pawleys pier was one of at least four along South Carolina’s coast to be destroyed during Ian’s winds and rain, the wire service also reports.
Ian was downgraded Saturday to a post-tropical cyclone hitting and was expected to weaken more as it moved into south-central Virginia, then the mid-Atlantic, according to NBC News.