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Hurricane Ian strengthens, aim for South Carolina after Florida

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Hurricane Ian made landfall near Georgetown, South Carolina, Friday afternoon, knocking out power to more than 200,000 homes and businesses.

Ian made landfall as a Category 1 storm at 2:05 p.m. with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone about three hours after its second landfall, but officials in both South Carolina and Florida warned that Ian and its aftermath pose a grave danger.

The hurricane slammed into parts of Florida as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday, devastated communities and killed at least 21 people, with seven in Charlotte County.

Kevin Guthrie, director of Florida’s emergency management division, suggested the death toll could be higher. However, he said it is yet to be confirmed whether many of them are related to the storm.

After a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials Thursday night, President Joe Biden also warned that Ian could be responsible for “significant loss of life” and eventually become the deadliest storm in Florida history.

“I have spoken to the commissioners and they are concerned,” he said.

Boats are scattered in a wooded area and by the side of the road after being propelled by the rising waters of Hurricane Ian off Fort Myers Beach on Thursday.Win McNamee/Getty Images

More than 2.2 million customers across Florida were without power early Friday, with more than 400,000 customers in Lee County alone in limbo.

Striking videos and photos surfacing from Florida have captured the level of destruction across the state, with some showing heroic rescues of people stranded in submerged cars and wading in the water, while others depicting the devastation left in the wake. from Ian.

The hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm on Thursday, but strengthened again to a hurricane, according to the Hurricane Center.

In addition to the warning of a life-threatening storm surge and hurricane conditions, there are likely to be flooding in the Carolinas and southwestern Virginia as well.

The center of the storm is expected to move further inland across the Carolinas Friday night and Saturday, the hurricane center said.

A crowd watches as power lines are repaired after several days without electricity in El Cerro, Cuba.
A crowd watches as power lines are repaired Thursday after several days without electricity in El Cerro, Cuba. Adalberto Roque / AFP – Getty Images

In Cuba, residents are still grappling with the aftermath of Ian, who cut power across the country during major power outages.

Earlier this week, at least three hurricane-related deaths were reported on the island. A woman died after a wall fell on her, while another was killed by a roof that collapsed. Meanwhile, clean-up efforts are underway in hard-hit parts of the country.

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