At least 770,000 people remained without electricity in the US State of Florida this past weekend following the passage of Hurricane Ian, which has left over 80 casualties nationwide, it was reported.
It will be another week before power is almost completely restored, according to sources from FPL, the main power supply company in the area. But in buildings with structural damage, power will not be restored in weeks or months, pending inspections.
Rescue and reconstruction efforts continued Sunday with a special focus on the islands facing the Atlantic coast in the southwest of this state.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell said Sunday that there is still a long way to go and many people impacted, including in central Florida, where until Saturday there were flooded homes.
We're still active in the search and rescue phase, trying to make sure we're counting everyone who was in the path of the storm, he told ABC News.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he expected the roads and bridges leading to Pine Island, which its nearly 9,000 residents can now only access by sea or air, to be fully operational by Oct. 8.
Ian made landfall as a category 4 hurricane, out of a maximum of 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, last Wednesday in Cayo Costa, an island off Pine Island, in Lee County, where the greatest damage occurred.
The number of casualties in Florida alone is believed to be around 50. Many Fort Myers and Cape Coral area residents have seen their homes reduced to rubble or blown off their foundations by high winds (Ian made landfall with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph), and are wondering if they were warned early enough about the need to evacuate. Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson said that evacuation orders were issued when the time was right, i.e. when the town fell within the cone of Ian's possible path. There is a degree of personal responsibility here. I think the county acted appropriately. The issue is that a certain percentage of people didn't heed the warnings regardless, he said.
Ian's death toll nationwide reached at least 85 Sunday. Most of the victims were in Lee County, which was not in the storm’s path in the first forecasts. Eventually, Ian blew northeastward across Florida to the Atlantic Ocean side of the state and then veered northward, gathered new strength over the warm ocean water, and made U.S. landfall a second time in South Carolina.
US President Joseph Biden will visit Puerto Rico Monday to assess the damage there from September’s Hurricane Fiona and then visit Florida on Wednesday, the White House announced.
Florida's Lee County small island of Matlacha, home to about 800 people, was cut off from the mainland following damage to two bridges.
Ian has been reported to have been the costliest Florida storm since Hurricane Andrew made landfall in 1992.
Sixteen migrants were missing from a boat that sank during the hurricane, according to the US Coast Guard. Two people were found dead and nine others rescued, including four Cubans who swam ashore in the Florida Keys.
Ian could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida history, Biden said.
According to scientific reports, climate change increased the rainfall from Ian by more than 10 %. Climate change didn't cause the storm but it did cause it to be wetter, said Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Michael Wehner, one of the scientists behind the new finding. The researchers compared simulations of today's world — which has warmed nearly 1.2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times — with counterfactual simulations of a world without human-induced climate change.