North Carolina Death Toll Rises in Wake of Hurricane Ian

by Alex Falls
Anadolu Agency / Contributor / Getty

Hurricane Ian has finally passed through its historic landfall, but the damage is still being assessed after its wake of destruction. Florida received the brunt of the storm’s force but states all along the coast felt the effects. In North Carolina, the death toll has officially risen to four people.

The death toll from the storm, one of the strongest hurricanes by wind speed to ever hit the U.S., continues to grow. 81 deaths occurred in Florida, with four in North Carolina and three in Cuba. The causes of the deaths in Florida were primarily drownings, as well as two vehicle accidents and a roofing accident, officials said.

North Carolina reported four storm-related deaths, Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement Saturday. Three involved vehicle accidents on Friday, with the victims ranging in age from 22 to 25. Additionally, a 65-year-old man died Saturday from carbon monoxide poisoning. He was reportedly running a generator in his closed garage while the power was out.

The storm weakened Saturday as it rolled into the mid-Atlantic. But not before it washed out bridges and piers, hurdled massive boats into buildings onshore, and sheared roofs off homes. Hundreds were left without power.

The Category 4 storm slammed into Florida’s southwest coast Wednesday afternoon. Causing catastrophic damage, fierce winds and dangerous, record-breaking storm surges. More than 1,600 people have been rescued from Hurricane Ian’s path in parts of southwest and central Florida since last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said Sunday.

The Damage From Hurricane Ian Comes Into Perspective

Many small counties in Florida received more rainfall and storm surges than they’ve ever seen. Crews continue to comb through the wreckage to face the enormous task of cleaning up and restoring their cities. Jay Boodheshwar, city manager of Naples, told CNN that residents are facing an “emotional roller coaster” as the clean-up efforts intensify.

“People need to take care of their emotional and mental health because we’re really going to need to work together on this,” Boodheshwar said.

The town of Naples received a record-high storm surge. The hurricane sent rising ocean water flooding into the city’s streets and tearing through its infrastructure.

“The amount of water that we received and the height of the surge affected a lot of the infrastructure,” Boodheshwar said. “So there are transformers that are fried. It is not simply rehanging lines. There are things that may need to be replaced.”

Rising waters in Florida’s southwest rivers have fully crested. However, the levels won’t drop significantly for days, said National Weather Service meteorologist Tyler Fleming.

In North Carolina, the storm claimed four lives. Additionally, it downed trees and power lines leaving over 280,000 people statewide without power. The outages were down sharply hours later, after crews worked to restore power.