Hurricane Ian moving up East Coast
Ian is at hurricane status once more as the tropical storm ploughs towards the Carolinas on the southeast US coastline on Friday.
South Carolina, which is subject to major flood warnings, strong winds and a “life-threatening storm surge”, is where the hurricane is expected to make landfall on Friday afternoon.
In Florida, rescue operations have been taking place after unprecedented flooding from one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the United States. It remains unclear how many people are exactly missing.
Thousands of people are stranded across the state and some 2 million people remain without power, in damage and economic losses that could amount to as much as $120bn, according to one estimate.
Footage shows destroyed Sanibel Causeway on Gulf Coast
Drone footage captured the shocking aftermath of Hurricane Ian on the Sanibel Causeway, the only road onto Sanibel and Captiva islands off the west coast of Florida.
The bridge has been destroyed in a few different places, leaving the small community on the island completely cut off by road from the mainland in the Fort Myers area.
Hurricane Ian made landfall just north of the two islands, putting this spot in some of the worst conditions on Wednesday.
Hurricane Ian: Drone video shows devastating damage to Sanibel Causeway
Ethan Freedman30 September 2022 16:22
Charleston hunkers down for the storm
Residents of Charleston, South Carolina closed up their businesses, offices and homes, cleared debris from the streets and stayed home as the city braces for Hurricane Ian’s landfall on Friday.
Inclement weather has already started, with some streets in the city closed due to flooding by Friday morning.
Ethan Freedman30 September 2022 16:15
Hurricane warning for Carolina coastline
A stretch of coastline from the Savannah River in South Carolina to Cape Fear in North Carolina is currently under a hurricane warning as Ian approaches.
Flooding is likely across the Carolinas and southwestern Virginia, the National Hurricane Center says, while warning of a 7ft storm surge and rainfall of up to 8 inches (20 cm) is also expected.
In an update at 5am on Friday, the National Hurricane Center placed Ian about 145 miles (235 km) southeast of Charleston with wind speeds of 85mph.
When the storm made landfall in southwest on Florida on Wednesday, Ian was a category five storm with winds of 155mph.
Gino Spocchia30 September 2022 16:00
Florida Power and Light says restoration timeline expected today
A spokesperson from Florida Power and Light, the state’s largest electrical utility company, told CNN on Friday that a timeline for power restoration in most of their affected areas will come by later in the day.
But some areas with the worst damage may not get an assessment soon, as crews need more time to really learn the extent of the problems, he added.
“We’re still doing damage assessments in the hardest-hit areas where it’s just been difficult to access those locations because of floodwaters and because of debris,” the spokesperson told the network.
The company provides electricity to roughly half of Florida’s population, including much of the hardest hit areas of southwest Florida. Nearly 2 million people in the state are still without power, according to poweroutage.us, with more than 80 per cent of customers facing blackouts in some southwest counties.
Ethan Freedman30 September 2022 15:52
At a Florida trailer park, survivors speak of Hurricane Ian’s wrath
At one community in North Fort Myers, Florida, Hurricane Ian survivors speak about the catastrophic damage their trailer park community faced during the storm.
“I literally watched my house disappear with everything in it, right before my eyes,” said James Burdette, 62. “I watched things start to fly, part of the roof went off, the rest of the roof went off, the walls caved in.”
The Fort Myers area got a near-direct hit from Hurricane Ian, which made landfall as a strong Category 4 storm.
Ian’s fierce winds howled through a Gulf coast trailer park with such force that residents felt they would be lifted off the ground, even blown away
Ethan Freedman30 September 2022 15:45
Climate change increased Hurricane Ian’s extreme rain, analysis shows
The climate crisis increased Hurricane Ian’s rainfall by at least 10 per cent, according to new analysis by US scientists.
Michael Wehner, a senior climate scientist, said the estimates were “conservative”, adding that his best calculation was that the rainfall was around 14 per cent heavier due to human-induced global heating.
The Independent’s Saphora Smith has more details here:
The climate crisis doesn’t cause hurricanes, but it causes them to be more intense
Ethan Freedman30 September 2022 15:30
What path is Hurricane Ian taking?
Hurricane Ian, now a Category 1 storm, is on track to hit the South Carolina coast on Friday afternoon.
The storm will bring heavy rain, hurricane-force winds and storm surge up to seven feet (2.1 metres) to parts of the state.
Severe weather will also be felt in nearby areas of Georgia and North Carolina as the storm makes landfall.
The system will then head into western North Carolina and Virginia over the weekend and is forecast to be downgraded to a tropical depression by midday on Saturday.
The now-Category 1 storm is heading towards South Carolina
Ethan Freedman30 September 2022 15:15
Power outages begin in South Carolina
More than 20,000 customers were without power on Friday morning in South Carolina, according to poweroutage.us.
The outages are so far concentrated in coastal Georgetown County, where nearly 10 per cent of people are in the dark.
Georgetown County is reporting that their disaster call centre is facing power outages and intermittent blackouts.
Hurricane Ian is starting to bring dangerous weather to the state, and is expected to make landfall later Friday afternoon. Conditions across the coast are forecast to deteriorate over the next few hours.
Ethan Freedman30 September 2022 15:10
Wind speeds and rain picking up in downtown Charleston
Charleston has begun to feel the approach of Hurricane Ian as heavy rains and winds approached on Friday morning.
Here’s an image shared to Twitter of the conditions:
Wind speeds are also picking up, with 69mph recorded off the South Carolina coast near Charleston, which has been ordered to shut down and residents ordered to evacuate to higher ground.
Gino Spocchia30 September 2022 15:00
Ian’s trail stretches hundreds of miles
Satellite photos of the US east coast show Hurricane Ian on its approach to South Carolina, with a long tail of clouds stretching hundreds of miles long.
Ethan Freedman30 September 2022 14:45