Hurricane Ian came ashore in South Carolina Friday afternoon, with the system making its third land fall after devastating huge chunks of Florida and Cuba.
The National Hurricane Center said the eye of Ian, which now is a Cat 1 storm, officially passed through Georgetown, S.C. That’s a town northeast of Charleston, Ian’s winds clocked in at 85 miles per hour. When Ian came ashore at Fort Myers, Fla., Wednesday, the storm boasted winds of 150 mph, seven miles under the most serious cat 5 level.
By Friday afternoon, the Weather Channel was showing the storm surge, aided by a high tide, flowing over the roads in Garden City, S.C. The homes there are on stilts. Meanwhile, tropical force winds of at least 55 mph began hitting Myrtle Beach.
Although the winds aren’t near as strong, the storm still is pulling a ton of water. Forecasters are expecting a storm surge of up to seven feet. Hurricane Ian first hit the U.S. mainland 48 hours ago. It smashed through a barrier island then pummeled Fort Myers and Naples on the southwest Florida peninsular. Hurricane Ian then headed north and east, battering major Florida hubs like Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville. The system, which dropped to tropical storm strength, then headed for the Atlantic, allowing it to strengthen. Hours later, it became a hurricane again, jumping from 75 to 80, then to 85 mph right before it made another landfall.
Ian’s winds and rains did a number on the Florida power lines. As of Friday afternoon, more than 1.8 million homes still were without power. Thousands of utility workers from across the country came to the state to help with the repair work. But it still could take weeks to bring everyone back on line. The most significant damage was in Naples and Fort Myers, which took the brunt of the storm surge.
The death toll for Hurricane Ian rose to 21 people by mid-afternoon Friday. Rescuers had to wait for the storm to dissipate before they could get to residents who were stuck inside or on their roofs after their homes flooded.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is giving frequent briefings. He said Friday:
“When you look at some of these things, like you see a house totally washed out and it’s nothing but a concrete slab on Ft. Meyers beach. You just pray to God no one was in that.”
This is a developing story…