Live Updates: Hurricane Ian – WTOP News


Here’s the latest on now Tropical Storm Ian.

The Latest on Hurricane Ian:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida’s main nursing home organization said Thursday that initial reports are that facilities have weathered Hurricane Ian “as good as can be.”

Kristen Knapp, spokesperson for the Florida Health Care Association, said 43 nursing homes moved about 3,400 residents as of Thursday morning, mostly in hard-hit southwest Florida.

As many as 20 homes had reported electricity outages, but Knapp said generators are powering those buildings. Water was shut off at some facilities, too.

Natural disasters can be especially harmful to older and disabled people, and past hurricanes have produced devastating episodes.



— Many trapped in Florida as Ian heads toward South Carolina

— Florida hospitals evacuate hundreds of patients

— Search on for migrants after boat sinks off Florida Keys

— Cuba begins to turn on lights

— Find more AP coverage here:



NAPLES, Fla. — Mud, snapped trees and toppled utility poles littered the landscape of southwest Florida on Thursday after it took a direct hit from Hurricane Ian.

Several feet of seawater swept through the luxury Le Jarden condominium tower on the Naples bayfront, destroying several cars and inundating the lobby, then receding overnight and leaving behind a thick, foul-smelling slurry of sand and seawater.

No one in the building was hurt, said resident Gregory Young, a retired real estate broker, but his Land Rover was destroyed.

“That’s OK, it’s just a car,” he said.

The Fort Myers RV Resort remained underwater, many of the mobile homes and RVs on the property badly damaged and in some cases gone, with nothing left but the concrete slabs on which they once sat.

Debris from the park collected along U.S. 41, including the seat of a golf cart and the twisted bits of a window screen. Utility poles were knocked down, the wires splaying into the road and along the front of the property.


COLUMBIA, S.C. — A hurricane warning was issued Thursday for the entire coast of South Carolina as storm Ian’s center drifted off the coast of Florida and back to sea.

The National Weather Service’s latest forecast showed that Ian’s winds were at 70 mph, just shy of hurricane force. The warm Atlantic waters are expected to help it gather strength as it curves back toward the U.S. coast.

In Charleston, South Carolina, officials opened parking garages so residents could get their cars above the imminent flooding.

Forecasters predicted the seventh highest water level Friday afternoon in more than 120 years of records, at 8.7 feet (2.7 meters) above the average low tide at the downtown harbor.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster joined his counterparts in Georgia and North Carolina in declaring a state of emergency so officials could access resources and receive federal emergency money.

Schools planned to go to online learning to keep buses off the road.


PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Florida’s southwestern coast began assessing the damage from Hurricane Ian on Thursday as coastal floodwaters faded and the status of people on cut-off barrier islands remained unclear.

In Charlotte County, Emergency Management Director Patrick Fuller expressed cautious optimism that worst-case scenarios might not have been realized. No deaths or injuries had been confirmed, and no missing-persons reports had yet been made, he said.

On barrier islands that bore the brunt of the winds and storm surge, flyovers showed that “the integrity of the homes is far better than we anticipated,” Fuller said.

Still, rescue crews were trying to get access to those islands and other parts of the county “to determine the full status of all of our residents,” Fuller said.

Utility services were largely wiped out in the county, forcing the sheriff’s office to use cellphones to take emergency calls and limiting the capabilities of dispatchers.

In nearby Collier County, the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook that much of the surge had receded but warned people to stay off the roads.

Officials around Tampa Bay, which earlier had been feared to take a direct hit, rescinded evacuation orders and closed storm shelters. Damage was confined mainly to toppled trees and power lines.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Rain and overflow from rivers is causing severe flooding near parts of Florida’s Atlantic coast as storm Ian makes its way back out to sea, officials said Thursday.

The Daytona Beach region is experiencing “historic flooding” that includes water in people’s homes, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said at a news conference. He implored people to stay off the roads, and the county has imposed a curfew until 7 a.m. Friday.

“This is unprecedented for Volusia County,” said local emergency management official Jim Judge.

Farther inland, residents of a nursing home were taken to ambulances and buses Thursday morning in an Orlando neighborhood that doesn’t typically flood.

Paramedics rolled Avante Orlando residents out on stretchers and wheelchairs. At a neighboring apartment complex, cars were submerged in the parking lot.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office posted photos of deputies helping two people and a dog get to dry land north of Orlando.


ORLANDO, Fla. — Ian marched across central Florida on Thursday as a tropical storm after battering the state’s southwest coast, dropping heavy rains that caused flooding and led to inland rescues and evacuations.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet that “water is at least waist deep” in Orlavista, near Orlando. The agency’s emergency response crews assisted with rescues.

Orange County Fire Rescue tweeted video of floodwaters, rescues and evacuations.

On the southwest coast, crews worked to clear roads in the Fort Myers area, and police reminded residents trying to return to their homes that a curfew is in place.

“We understand that residents want to check on their belongings and families, but we urge you to STAY OFF local roadways,” police tweeted.

Ian is expected to regain near-hurricane strength after emerging over Atlantic waters near the Kennedy Space Center later in the day, with South Carolina in its sights for a second U.S. landfall.


WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke by telephone Thursday morning to discuss next steps in the federal response to Hurricane Ian.

Biden formally issued a disaster declaration Thursday morning and told DeSantis that he was dispatching Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell to Florida on Friday to check in on response efforts and to gauge where additional support will be needed.

Meanwhile, officials at Tampa International Airport tweeted that damage assessments are underway there and that they hope to have an update later Thursday on plans to reopen.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The U.S. Coast Guard began performing hurricane rescue missions on barrier islands off southwest Florida early Thursday, as soon as the winds died down, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference.

“The Coast Guard had people who were in their attics and got saved off their rooftops,” DeSantis said. The most vulnerable areas were along the barrier islands of Lee, Charlotte and Collier counties, along with inlets and inland areas along rivers.

Power failures from Hurricane Ian are significant, he said. Two counties, Lee and Charlotte, “are basically off the grid at this point,” the governor said, and will likely have to rebuild the power structure.

“We’ve never seen storm surge of this magnitude,” DeSantis said. “The amount of water that’s been rising, and will likely continue to rise today even as the storm is passing, is basically a 500-year flooding event.”

An earlier report of hundreds of deaths in Lee County has not been confirmed and was likely an estimate based on 911 calls, the governor said.

DeSantis said he will ask the federal government to expand its emergency declaration to cover counties in central Florida that are also reporting damage.

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