Recovery efforts continued across Florida and the Carolinas on Friday as massive storm Ian left millions without power across the Southeast.
The big picture: Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida earlier this week, became a post-tropical cyclone when winds dropped to 70 mph Friday afternoon, according to National Hurricane Center.
The latest: NHC said Friday night that the storm posed a “life-threatening storm surge hazard” along the Carolina coast with flash flooding and threatening high winds.
- Heavy rain and potential flooding could affect North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia overnight into Saturday morning, the National Weather Service said.
- “Major-to-record river flooding” was expected to continue in central Florida areas next week, according to the NHC.
Status: Close to 3,000 federal responders helped with recovery efforts Friday, with about 1,600 in Florida alone, according to Federal Emergency Management Administration assistant administrator Anne Bink.
- She said residents in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas should continue to monitor forecasts and warnings from local officials about safety even as the storm subsides.
- “Just because the sky is clear doesn’t mean it’s safe,” she said at a press briefing on Friday.
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a press briefing Friday night that state and local law enforcement officials would monitor areas for potential looting.
- Officials in Orlando urged residents to limit water use in their homes.
Details: Ian made landfall again Friday in South Carolina as a Category 1 storm, while Florida continued to reel from its impact.
- The former Category 1 hurricane transformed into a non-tropical system as it moved inland, where it remained a serious threat to communities in South Carolina and the Southeast.
- The hurricane hit the coast near Georgetown, SC with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, National Hurricane Center saidresulting in a “life-threatening” storm surge of 4 to 7 feet.
What they say: Brian Henry, mayor of Pawley’s Island in South Carolina, told CNN that the hurricane brought a storm surge “probably beyond what most people expected.”
- “Most of us didn’t believe we would see the 7-plus foot storm surge,” Henry told CNN. “It’s starting to recede, but we have a huge amount of water on the roadways and across the island.”
Threat Level: The storm has brought significant coastal flooding, inland flooding and damaging, hurricane-force winds.
- More than 374,000 customers were without power across the Carolinas as of Friday afternoon.
- Ian’s wind field is more comparable to a winter storm than a typical hurricane, expanding the potential for power outages far inland.
Link: Such storms can cause more coastal damage today than they were capable of just a few decades ago, due to sea level rise from human-induced climate change.
- A rise in sea level provides a higher floor from which to launch, allowing the water to push further inland.
- South Carolina was expected to bear the brunt of a resurgent Ian.
- Ian’s center had been expected to move across eastern South Carolina and central North Carolina Friday night and Saturday.
- President Biden declared a state of emergency for South Carolina and ordered the federal government to assist local response efforts.
- The governors of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia declared states of emergency earlier this week.
- The storm’s northward shift over time means the core of the strongest winds will likely travel inland and affect communities like Florence and Fayetteville, with the possibility of power outages this afternoon and evening.
- Ian is not expected to make landfall in Georgia, but parts of the state will still experience tropical storm force winds and dangerous life-threatening storm surge, the NHC said in an update.
- A tropical storm warning starts at Altamaha Sound in Georgia to the Savannah River, which marks the state’s border with South Carolina.
- Southern Virginia could be hit with heavy rain with the risk of tornadoes early Saturday.
- The storm is expected to dissipate over western North Carolina or Virginia late Saturday, the NHC said.
Go deeper: The death toll in Florida rises after Hurricane Ian
Editor’s note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates throughout the day.