Hurricane Ian lashed parts of South Carolina leaving thousands of people stranded as they cried for help. A resurgent Ian swept ashore at 2:05 p.m. (1805 GMT) near Georgetown, a waterfront town about 60 miles (97 km) north of the historic city of Charleston, packing maximum sustained wind speeds of 85 mph (140 kph) as a Category 1 hurricane, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Roads were flooded with water and encumbered by trees while a number of piers were damaged as the storm left more than 400,000 homes and businesses in the Carolinas without power, according to the tracking website PowerOutage.us.
Ian, now classified as a post-tropical cyclone, will bring heavy rain and potential flash flooding to parts of North and South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia until at least Saturday morning as it weakens, the NHC said.
The storm struck Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday as one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the US. mainland and then cut a destructive path across the state, transforming beach towns into disaster areas with catastrophic flooding and winds.
For 29-year-old Gage Long, it was a shock as he saw 47ft motor yacht came crashing through the narrow road at his apartment complex in Fort Myers, reported The Telegraph.
Below him, on the ground floor, his elderly neighbour Brenda Brennan was trapped.
Mr Long told The Telegraph: “911 couldn’t come out. I had to get down and help her,”
It was not a straightforward operation.
He continued: “The water was murky, you couldn’t see what was in it,” he said, pointing down to the snapped wood and twisted metal on the ground – visible now the water had receded.
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Some 20,000 Floridians have been displaced and are staying in shelters. Many more are in hotels, with friends and family or left the state completely ahead of the incoming storm.
Kevin Anderson, the mayor of Fort Myers, which was the first place on the mainland to be hit by the 150mph winds, said: “It looks like a war zone.”
There have been reports of at least 21 deaths in Florida, Kevin Guthrie, director of the state’s Division of Emergency Management, said at a morning briefing.
He stressed that some of those reports remained unconfirmed.