Hurricane Ian, already downgraded to a tropical storm this Thursday, left a path of destruction in southwest Florida and without power to 2.5 million people with at least one confirmed death, although authorities feared that the number of victims could be much higher.
Ian is downgraded to a tropical storm after leaving damage in the US.
A 72-year-old man was found dead early Thursday in the water of a canal behind his home in Deltona, near Daytona Beach, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
According to Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno, the deaths from the storm would be numerous, but he later clarified that he could not immediately confirm the real death toll.
Marceno added that his office was receiving thousands of 911 calls from people in need of rescue in the county that includes Fort Myers, but roads were still impassable and bridges were compromised.
The official explained that Hurricane Ian “crushed us”, and “we still cannot access many of the people who need it”.
Hurricane Ian slammed into southwestern Florida on Wednesday with 150 mph winds, pushing a wall of storm surge that turned streets into rivers.
Ian’s strength at landfall was a Category 4, making it the fifth strongest hurricane, when measured by wind speed, to hit the US.
US President Joe Biden officially declared a major disaster in Florida over the devastation while the National Hurricane Center said Ian strengthened into a tropical storm over land on Thursday morning and was expected to regain strength from a hurricane after emerging over Atlantic waters later that day, with South Carolina eyeing a second landfall in the country.