Hurricane Ian has devastated southwest Florida, killing at least one, trapping others in flooded homes, cutting off bridges, damaging hospitals, and knocking out power to 2.5 million people.
One of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States threatened catastrophic flooding around the state. Ian’s tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 415 miles (665 km), drenching much of Florida and the southeastern Atlantic coast. Authorities confirmed at least one storm death in Florida. A 72-year-old man was found dead early Thursday in water in a canal behind his home in Deltona near Daytona Beach, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. It said he appeared to be using a hose to drain his pool into the wide canal and fell down an incline that was “extremely soft and slippery due to the heavy rain.” Another Florida sheriff said he believed the death toll would be “in the hundreds.” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that his office was receiving thousands of 911 calls from people needing rescue in the county that includes Fort Myers, but roadways were still impassable and bridges are compromised. “It crushed us,” Marceno said. “We still cannot access many of the people that are in need.”