Hurricane Ian update – live: Biden declares South Carolina state of emergency as storm regains strength

Hurricane Ian: Waves flood roads in Key West as storm strengthens to category 4

After spending most of Thursday as a tropical storm, Ian has now been upgraded to a hurricane again as it takes aim at the South Carolina coastline.

President Joe Biden has issued an emergency declaration for the state.

Ian is forecast to make landfall somewhere near Charleston, South Carolina, at about 2pm today. It will produce life-threatening flooding, storm surge and strong winds across parts of Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“Ian could slightly strengthen before landfall, and is forecast to rapidly weaken over the southeastern United States late Friday into Saturday,” an advisory said.

Meanwhile, dozens of rescue operations have been taking place across Florida after unprecedented flooding from one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the United States.

Thousands of people are stranded across the state as coastguard helicopters were seen plucking people from roofs after several feet of water surged into neighbourhoods. Some 2.5 million people remain without power.

The damage and economic losses caused by Hurricane Ian could amount to as much as $120bn, according to the latest estimate.

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Hurricane Ian heads for Carolinas after pounding Florida

A revived Hurricane Ian is bearing down on South Carolina’s coast and the historic city of Charleston, with forecasters predicting a storm surge and floods.

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At a Florida trailer park, survivors speak of Ian’s wrath

When Ian’s winds swept into this Gulf coast trailer park, they howled with such force that residents felt they would be lifted off the ground, even blown away.

Now many homes in this community in North Fort Myers are crumpled and splintered. Hurricane Ian pulled, twisted and bent their metal roofs and broke apart their wooden structures.

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Biden warns Hurricane Ian could be ‘deadliest in Florida history’

ICYMI: Hurricane Ian may be the worst storm that Florida has ever seen, President Joe Biden said at a Thursday briefing.

“This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida history,” said Mr Biden, who addressed Federal Emergency Management Agency staff during a briefing at Fema headquarters.

The president said federal officials have been receiving “early reports” of what he said may be “substantial loss of life” in the storm’s wake, but he also said search and rescue operations had commenced before dawn in hopes of helping people who are “stranded and who are in desperate shape” including water rescues by Coast Guard personnel.

The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg has more from Washington DC.

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Hurricane Ian video of a ‘street shark’ swimming up floodwater is real

As Hurricane Ian ploughed through Florida, he brought a long-running hoax about marine life swimming in suburban floodwaters to life. A viral video of a shark swimming in the Fort Myers backyard has now been confirmed as original footage.

Read the full story by Namita Singh here:

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Timelapse video shows rapid flooding on Florida island as Hurricane Ian creates dangerous storm surge

A time-lapse video of an intersection on the island starts off with winds and heavy rain, but the road quickly gives way to surging waters that completely cover the median and rise halfway up a street sign.

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Sanibel mayor pens emotional letter after Ian: ‘Our lives and our island have been forever changed’

The mayor of a Florida island that was ripped apart by Hurricane Ian has penned an emotional letter to residents, saying “Our lives and our island have been forever changed.”

Sanibel Island is cut off after the only bridge that connects it and Captiva to the mainland bore the brunt of the historic hurricane and had sections ripped out.

“I am struggling to find the words to convey my feelings, as I am sure most of us are as we look to the past four days. All our lives and our island have been forever changed. What we do tomorrow and the days and months ahead will redefine and strengthen our community,” wrote Mayor Holly Smith.

Read the full story by Ethan Freedman here:

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ICYMI: Firefighters evacuate Orlando nursing home as Storm Ian havoc Florida

Firefighters evacuate Orlando nursing home as Storm Ian havoc Florida

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ICYMI: Ian re-strengthens into hurricane as it nears South Carolina

Ian has regained strength over the Atlantic Ocean and become a hurricane again, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The storm had been downgraded to a tropical storm as it weakened over Florida. Hurricane Ian is now forecast to hit South Carolina today as a Category 1 hurricane.

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Woman braves Hurricane Ian flood to check on stranger’s mom

Christine Bomlitz became more and more distraught as Hurricane Ian gained in ferocity, sweeping across southwest Florida on Wednesday. Hours passed, but there was still no word from her 84-year-old mother.

Thursday morning cam. The storm had long drifted away overnight. But still no word.

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Hurricane Ian sweeps away homes, memories on barrier islands

On the road into Fort Myers Beach, cars are left abandoned in the roadway, where they stalled when Hurricane Ian’s storm surge flooded their engines and their drivers couldn’t continue. Broken trees, boat trailers and other debris litter the road.

It’s even worse in the seaside tourist town, much of which was flattened by the fierce winds and powerful storm surge generated by the Category 4 hurricane.

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