Storm hits South Carolina; Florida damage

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Ian started trekking through the Carolinas Friday, hammering the coast of South Carolina with flooding as it made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane, then taking aim at North Carolina as a post-tropical cyclone.

The second landfall on the U.S. mainland came as Floridians surveyed the damage days after the storm battered the state. Ian is expected to wreak havoc on numerous states along the East Coast as it moves inland over the weekend.

In South Carolina, trees have been toppled, roads flooded and over 69,000 households had already lost power, officials said at a Friday news conference. That number had risen to over 180,000 customers without power immediately after landfall, according to The state’s five shelters were at 15% capacity ahead of landfall.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said no deaths have been reported in the state yet, “but there’s still life-threatening conditions.” He urged residents to stay off flooded roadways.

“This is not as bad as it could have been. A lot of prayers have been answered,” he said. “…But we’re not out of the woods.”

Ian is the first landfalling hurricane in South Carolina since Matthew in 2016, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach.

Officials in Florida, meanwhile, were assessing the damage and continuing search and rescue efforts after Ian slammed into the Fort Myers area on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm.

Local officials said they were sorting through potentially dozens of deaths to determine if they were storm related. On Friday, the Associated Press reported the death toll was at least 27.  

Ian left a broad swath of destruction in Florida, flooding areas on both of its coasts, tearing homes from their slabs, demolishing beachfront businesses and leaving more than 2 million people without power.

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