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At least 12 people have been reported dead, with hundreds remaining unaccounted for, as Florida officials began assessing the damage caused by Hurricane Ian yesterday. Authorities expect the number of fatalities to rise, with thousands of residents in areas that remain difficult to access.
The system arrived as a powerful Category 4 storm Wednesday afternoon, bringing high winds, torrential rain, and record storm surge as it passed over the central peninsula. More than 2 million people were without power as of this morning. See photos of the aftermath here.
Fort Myers and towns along the peninsula’s Gulf Coast suffered the brunt of the damage, with heavy flooding swamping the city and high winds having collapsed a causeway connecting Sanibel Island to the mainland. Early estimates suggest the cost of the storm will be in the tens of billions.
Ian weakened as it moved across the state—but strengthened again once reaching the Atlantic Ocean. It is expected to make landfall in South Carolina today as a Category 1 hurricane.