Hurricane Ian has moved on from lashing Florida and made landfall over South Carolina this afternoon.
The category 1 storm touched land near the town of Georgetown and knocked out power for 100,000 people in South Carolina soon after, according to NBC News. As of this writing, more than 200,000 customers have lost power in South Carolina, according to PowerOutage.us. Piers along South Carolina’s coast have already suffered damage today from the flooding and strong winds.
The coastal area of the state is expected to see dangerous storm surges ranging from 4 to 7 feet high and an especially high tide, according to the National Weather Service. Ian will also bring sustained winds around 85 miles per hour into this evening. It is expected to move further inland and pass over eastern South Carolina and some of Central North Carolina by tomorrow, a NWS alert said.
“This is a dangerous storm that will bring high winds and a lot of water, but the most dangerous thing about it will be human error,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted yesterday afternoon. “Be smart, make good decisions.”
A press release from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper encouraged state residents to have an emergency plan to evacuate if they feel unsafe staying in their homes. Residents were also asked to avoid unnecessary travel as the hurricane gets closer and closer to the state.
Signs that Ian would eventually reach South Carolina were evident earlier today. Some state residents posted videos of the ominous gray skies and heavy rain this morning.
Hurricane Ian first made landfall near Florida’s Punta Gorda earlier this week as a category 4 storm, bringing huge storm surges and high winds. It briefly weakened into a tropical storm but has since strengthened into a category 1 hurricane.
Ian’s path of destruction over Florida created widespread infrastructural damage. Trees, light poles, and even houses were knocked over by the strong winds and flooding. More than 2.5 million households across Florida were without electricity yesterday as a result. President Joe Biden declared parts of the state a “major disaster.”
“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 flood event,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said yesterday during a briefing. “Some of the flooding you’re going to see, in areas hundreds of miles from where this made landfall, are gonna set records.”
Local law enforcement throughout Florida reported that as many as 17 people may have died as a result of the hurricane, according to the Tampa Bay Times, . Online videos show people and pets being rescued from severely flooded areas, some from being trapped inside of their vehicles.
“This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history,” President Biden said at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters on Thursday. “We’re seeing millions of people without power and thousands hunkered down in schools and community centers.”