Hurricane News Updates: Over 100 Storm-Related Deaths Reported

Live Updates
Hurricane Ian Destruction Fort Myers
In this aerial view, the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Ian is shown on October 02, 2022 in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Over 100 Storm-Related Deaths Reported

The death toll from Hurricane Ian has grown to over 100, according to the Weather Channel.

The Weather Channel has confirmed at least 101 deaths from the storm, according to managing editor Sean Breslin.

There are 94 reported in Florida, four in North Carolina and three in Cuba.

In Florida, Lee and Charlotte Counties have suffered the most losses.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno confirmed 54 deaths and Charlotte County spokesman Brian Gleason confirmed to CNN that the county's death toll rose from 12 to 24.

According to CNN, eight people have died in Collier County, five in Volusia County, three in Sarasota County, two in Manatee County and one in each Polk, Lake. Hendry and Hillsborough Counties.

First Lady Packages Food in Puerto Rico

First Lady Jill Biden helped package food and other emergency items on Monday afternoon while visiting a local school during a visit to Ponce, Puerto Rico.

The First Lady, who traveled to Puerto Rico with President Joe Biden to assess Hurricane Fiona recovery efforts, helped package the items as part of a community service project. The White House Press Office said earlier Monday the President and First Lady would be assisting with the project at Centro Sor Isolina Ferré Aguayo School. While there, the Bidens were also expected to "hear directly from community leaders, teachers, and families impacted by Hurricane Fiona," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

Biden arrived at the school at about 4 p.m. local time, where she spoke with the First Lady of Puerto Rico and met with other local community members. A live video stream of the visit showed Jill Biden packing items into large white bags while chatting with other volunteers and occasionally posing for photos. The White House travel pool said yellow onions, cuties, garlic, boxed juice, rice, nuts, ground corn, chickpeas and bottled water were among the items that the volunteers were bundling together. An estimated 50 people were helping put the packages together inside the school's indoor basketball court, travel reporters said.

One reporter with Politico shared photos of the First Lady as she helped with food packaging.

The First Lady's assistance with the community service project followed comments President Biden delivered earlier Monday afternoon. The president spoke of the ongoing disaster assistance the federal government is providing Puerto Rico after it was hit by Hurricane Fiona in September.

Some reporters covering the White House who traveled with the Bidens to Puerto Rico described seeing anti-U.S. signs as they drove through Ponce to the school. One sign read "Biden Go Home" while another alleging disaster relief funds intended for Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017 were "stolen," according to Politico reporter Christopher Cadelago.

Over 50 Deaths Reported in Lee County

The death toll in Lee County continues to rise as search and rescue efforts are ongoing.

During a press briefing Monday, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said there have been 54 fatalities reported.

"That is 54 more than I ever want to talk about," he said.

He said teams are working not only to rescue trapped residents under debris and rubble, but to preserve the scene under rubble.

"We have to make certain that we — collectively as a team — do it right the first time because we get one chance when someone is deceased, we have to make sure that we collect that evidence we have to do it properly," Marceno said, adding that they "cannot contaminate the scene."

He said there have been 800 rescues across the county. However, the number of missing people is still "unknown," Marceno said.

He said the sheriff's office received over 3,800 calls, mostly for wellfare checks, when communications were out.

"People are still looking for their loved ones," he said. "I pray its a communications issue, but sometimes it's not."

Nearly 570k Customers Without Power in Florida

Nearly 570,000 customers remain without power in Florida as rescues continue in areas devastated by Hurricane Ian.

The latest numbers provided by PowerOutage.us show more than 569,500 customers without power as of Monday afternoon. Lee County is the most heavily impacted, as power remains out for more than 276,000 customers.

Biden Promises to Bolster Puerto Rico's Storm Defense

President Joe Biden reiterated his support for Puerto Rico as the island recovers and rebuilds after the destruction of Hurricane Fiona.

During his remarks Monday, Biden said he and First Lady Jill Biden came to Ponce, Puerto Rico in person "to show that we're with you."

He said "all of America" is with the people of Puerto Rico as they recover weeks after the storm hit the island, causing massive flooding and power outages.

Biden said he is "confident" all of Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi goal's can be achieved and said he is "committed to this island."

Biden said the people of Puerto Rico "keep getting back up with resilience and determination" amid a string of recent natural disasters, including Hurricane Maria and a massive earthquake.

He said Puerto Rico deserves "every bit of help your country can give you."

"Puerto Rico is a strong place and Puerto Ricans are strong people," he said. "But even so, you have had to bear so much and more than need be, and you haven't gotten the help in a timely way."

The President said Puerto Rico will rebuild stronger and better prepared for future storms.

"I'm going to make sure you get every single dollar promised," Biden said.

With $60 million in additional funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden administration will ensure the island can fortify levees and flood walls, create a new flood warning system, invest in bridges, roads, ports and make the power grid more resilient and secure.

"I want people of Puerto Rico to know I'm committed to standing with you every step of the way," he said.

Biden in Puerto Rico
US President Joe Biden, flanked by First Lady Jill Biden and Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi, delivers remarks in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on October 3, 2022. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

FEMA Says Over 2,700 People, 150 Pets Rescued

More than 2,700 people and 150 pets have been rescued by state and federal emergency crews after Hurricane Ian made landfall in the U.S. last week, according to FEMA. The hurricane first devastated parts of southwestern Florida before touching down again in South Carolina.

Search and rescue efforts are ongoing in parts of Florida. FEMA's updated rescue tally did not specify where all of the rescues were reported.

At the peak of the hurricane, more than 2 million people in Florida alone were without power. FEMA said in a Monday tweet that more than 75 percent of all the power outages that resulted from Hurricane Ian were resolved by early Monday afternoon.

As the federal, state and local response to the hurricane continued, FEMA directed survivors to the agency's website for information on how they can receive federal assistance if their homes were lost or damaged in the storm. Teams are also on the ground in impacted areas to help register impacted community members so that they can receive federal assistance, FEMA said.

Video Shows Devastation on Pine Island

Aerial footage reveals the devastation Hurricane Ian left behind on Pine Island in Lee County, Florida.

Video shows buildings and homes destroyed and much of the island torn apart.

The damage on Pine Island Road and Matlacha Bridge has prevented people in areas like Bokeelia, St. James City and Matlacha from leaving by car, WUSF reports.

Puerto Rico Governor Wants 'Equal Treatment'

Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi on Monday called for "equal treatment" in federal disaster assistance after Hurricane Fiona hit the island last month.

Pierluisi spoke of his "straightforward" requests for the federal government shortly before President Joe Biden was due to deliver public remarks. Biden and First Lady Jill Biden traveled to Puerto Rico to meet community members impacted by the hurricane and receive recovery updates from local leaders.

Pierluisi said the residents of Puerto Rico "want to be treated in the same way as our fellow Americans in the states in times of need."

"All American citizens, regardless of where they live in the United States, should receive the same support from the federal government," Pierluisi said. At this time, Biden could be seen starting to clap in response to the governor's comments as he stood nearby.

"We're confident that the president will heed our call for equal treatment," Pierluisi said.

Dome House Sinks Into Gulf of Mexico

The remains of the famous Cape Romano Dome House have disappeared into the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Ian's massive storm surge.

The house was built in 1982 on Morgan Island, one of the the Ten Thousand Islands just south of Marco Island. Retired independent oil producer Bob Lee built the home as a eco-friendly vacation spot for his family.

It consists of six concrete domes built on stilts.

The abandoned structure has been slowly pulled out and under the Gulf for decades as storm surge and erosion altered the shoreline.

Over the years, major hurricanes, like Andrew in 1992, Wilma in 2005 and Irma in 2017, caused significant damage to the home. The coastal erosion destabilized the foundation and sunk the structure further into the Gulf. Efforts to renovate were never completed due to cost and efforts to protect the surrounding wildlife.

It was last positioned about 300 feet from the shore and was only accessible by boat. The remains served as a reef for marine life living below.

After Hurricane Ian, just the tops of one of the concrete domes can be seen at low tide.

Biden, First Lady Arrive in Puerto Rico

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden landed in Puerto Rico shortly after 2 p.m. local time on Monday afternoon. The president is expected to meet with local community leaders and deliver public remarks about how his administration is supporting Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the devastation caused last month by Hurricane Fiona.

Before Air Force One landed, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said on Twitter that he was at Mercedita International Airport in Ponce awaiting the Bidens' arrival. Waiting with Pierluisi was Rep. Jennifer González-Colon of Puerto Rico, Rep. Nydia Velázquez of New York, Puerto Rico Secretary of State Omar Marrero, Camuy City Mayor Gaby Hernández and Ponce Mayor Luis Irizarry Pabón.

San Juan-based WAPA-TV shared a video on social media showing Air Force One as it landed in Ponce.

Pierluisi, González-Colon, Velázquez, Irizarry Pabón and Cary Pierluisi, the first lady of Puerto Rico, greeted Biden and the First Lady after they disembarked, according to the White House travel pool.

Puerto Rico Governor Pierluisi and President Biden
President Joe Biden (C) and first lady Jill Biden (R) are greeted by Governor of Puerto Rico Pedro Pierluisi upon arrival at Mercedita International Airport in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on October 3, 2022. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Biden to Speak in Puerto Rico Soon

President Joe Biden is set to deliver remarks in Puerto Rico this afternoon.

This comes after Biden announced a $60 million investment into the island infrastructure and storm preparedness. The White House said Biden has "made it a priority to support Puerto Rico's long-term recovery."

"I remain committed to the people of Puerto Rico and to helping rebuild their communities stronger and more resilient after Hurricane Fiona," Biden said.

The remarks are set to begin at 2:45 p.m. and will stream live on the White house website, or watch live below:

Aerial View Shows Damage in Volusia County

Aerial video shows substantial flooding across Volusia County, days after Hurricane Ian slammed through Florida.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood's office posted a video Sunday showing homes and cars submerged and widespread destruction. Some people are also seen wading through the waist-high water.

"Aerial view of some of Ian's damage in Volusia County," Chitwood's office tweeted. "Keep in mind that homes along waterways like the St. Johns River may be inches from flooding. A boat wake could push water into someone's home. VSO marine units & My FWC [Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission] are out working to prevent that from happening."

Biden to Announce $60 Million for Puerto Rico

President Joe Biden will announce more than $60 million in additional federal funding for Puerto Rico after the island was hit by Hurricane Fiona last month, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday.

The President's announcement will come later Monday during public remarks he will deliver while visiting Ponce, Puerto Rico. His remarks are scheduled to begin at 2:45 p.m. local time.

"I said we'd be with the people of Puerto Rico for as long as it took," Biden tweeted Monday afternoon. "I meant it. In the wake of Hurricane Fiona, I'm announcing a $60 million investment to shore up levees and flood walls, and create a new flood warning system to help residents better prepare for future storms."

During a Monday afternoon press briefing onboard Air Force One, Jean-Pierre said the funding will come through the bipartisan infrastructure law that Congress passed last fall. The new funding is intended to help Puerto Rico "shore up levees, fortify flood walls and create a new flood warning system," she said.

The new funding will supplement about $2 billion already set aside to help Puerto Rico with storm-related infrastructure rebuilding efforts, according to Jean-Pierre.

In addition to his funding announcement, Biden will also announce new efforts to help make the energy grid in Puerto Rico "more secure and resilient," she added.

The president and first lady, who is also making the trip to "storm-ravaged" Ponce, will through their visit meet with local community members and "reaffirm their commitment to the people of Puerto Rico as they recover and rebuild from Hurricane Fiona," Jean-Pierre said.

Utility Workers Suffer Electric Shock Restoring Power

Two linemen working to restore power in New Smyrna Beach, Florida were injured from potential electric shock, city officials report.

The New Smyrna Beach responded to an "electrocution" Sunday evening in the area of North Airport Road and Casello Drive, WOFL-TV reported. Authorities found one man and one woman hurt and both were transported to the hospital.

One worker with the New Smyrna Beach utilities was taken to Orlando Health, according to WESH-TV. The other worker injured was with PIKE Electric and suffered minor injuries.

The city of New Smyrna Beach, in Volusia County, received over 28 inches of rain during Hurricane Ian.

There are still 28,427 customers across the county without power, according to PowerOutage.us.

Photos Show Destruction in Fort Myers

Photos shared on social media showed the severe damage in Fort Myers that was caused by Hurricane Ian last week.

Search and rescue efforts are ongoing, with The New York Times reporting that rescue crews were going to every home in the area to make sure nobody was trapped inside or otherwise in need of help. WFTX-TV reported several law enforcement agencies were contributing to search and rescue efforts.

A photojournalist with KDKA-TV shared aerial photos of Fort Myers on Monday morning that showed shrimp boats crunched and crumpled together in heaps in the wake of the hurricane.

Other aerial before and after photos attributed to The New York Times showed how debris coated roadways and wiped out structures in parts of Fort Myers.

The Fort Myers Police Department also shared video footage on social media that similarly demonstrated the extent of the damage.

Fort Myers after Hurricane Ian
The bridge leading from Fort Myers to Pine Island, Florida, is seen heavily damaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Saturday, October 1, 2022. Gerald Herbert/AP Photo

DeSantis Defends Lee County Evacuation Plan

Lee County officials are getting some criticism for delayed evacuation orders in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

A mandatory evacuation order was not issued until Sept. 27, one day before the storm made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. Lee County includes hard-hit cities like Fort Myers and Sanibel Island.

The hurricane was predicted to hit the Tampa Bay area, but as it came closer to the Florida coast, the storm shifted south.

Neighboring counties, including Hillsborough and Charlotte Counties, issued mandatory evacuations a day earlier than Lee.

Governor Ron DeSantis defending the county, saying they were "following the data."

"And you remember, people were looking initially at the Panhandle on Sunday, then Monday came and people were thinking maybe north of Tampa Bay. When we went to bed Monday night people were saying this is a direct hit on Tampa Bay, worst case scenario for the state," he said a press briefing Saturday.

"As that track started to shift south and the computer models, the next morning they called for the evacuation, they opened their shelters and they responded very quickly to the data," he added.

DeSantis told a CNN reporter over the weekend that Lee County wasn't "in the cone" of the storm 72 hours before landfall.

He said county officials did warn resident, giving everyone "adequate" opportunity to get to shelter into the county and made the call to evacuate when it was "justifiable to do so."

DeSantis added that many residents chose not to leave because they thought they "wouldn't get the worse of it."

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said he "wouldn't have changed anything" about the county's evacuation and storm response plan.

The county reported 42 fatalities and widespread damage.

The county's emergency management plan, Zone A should be evacuated if there is even a 10 percent chance of a six-foot storm surge. Days ahead of the hurricane's landfall, there was four to seven feet storm surge warning for parts of the county.

Biden to Assess Damage Today in Puerto Rico

President Joe Biden is traveling to Puerto Rico on Monday to meet with people impacted by Hurricane Fiona after the storm hit the island last month.

Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are flying to Ponce, where they are expected to land at about 2 p.m. The president will begin his visit by receiving a briefing and is then scheduled to deliver remarks at 2:45 p.m. about his administration's "commitment to the people of Puerto Rico and to helping rebuild more secure and resilient infrastructure," according to the White House.

At 3:30 p.m., the Bidens are expected to visit the Centro Sor Isolina Ferré Aguayo School, where they will meet with members of the community who were impacted by the hurricane. The Bidens will also "participate in a community service project" and "thank the Federal and local officials working around the clock to help the people of Puerto Rico recover and rebuild," the White House said.

The visit is expected to conclude at about 4:50 p.m., at which time the president and first lady will fly back to Washington, D.C.

Nearly 600k Customers Without Power in Florida

Nearly 600,000 customers in Florida are still without power, five days after Hurricane Ian made landfall.

According to PowerOutage.us, there are still 599,412 people experiencing power outages across the state.

Here is the breakdown by county:

  • Lee County: 275,551 customers
  • Charlotte County: 73,363 customers
  • DeSoto County: 8,721 customers
  • Sarasota County: 88,770 customers
  • Hardee County: 3,799 customers
  • Manatee County: 38,554 customers
  • Hendry County: 3,352 customers
  • Highlands County: 6,220 customers
  • Collier County: 35,822 customers
  • Volusia County: 32,399 customers
  • Seminole County: 11,119 customers
  • Glades County: 353 customers

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is reporting about 369,000 outages, Lee Electric Coop is reporting over 181,000 outages, Duke Energy is reporting about 27,000 outages and Tampa Energy is reporting 7,761 outages.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reported approximately 575,000 customer outages in Florida Monday morning. The DOE said outages in Florida are down nearly 80 percent from the peak on September 29.

Damage assessment and restoration efforts are still ongoing across the state.

Electric industry representatives report that more than 44,000 workers from 33 states and the District of Columbia were supporting power restoration in Florida.

About 400 Residents Rescued From Sanibel

Rescue and recovery efforts are underway on Sanibel Island in Hurricane Ian's aftermath.

The Sanibel Causeway, the only roadway connecting Sanibel to Florida's mainland, was wiped out by the storm. Boats and helicopters have been deployed to deliver supplies and transport residents off the island.

About 400 people were rescued from the island over the weekend, Sanibel City Manage Dana Souza said in a press briefing Sunday. He had no additional fatalities to report.

Souza also said the Sanibel Police Department estimates there are about 20 people left on the island.

"It could be more," he said. "We've taken off more people than I thought we were going to."

Souza said those residents might not be able to stay much longer because resources on the island are "really sparse."

"They've been getting food and water from the fire department and they have to change their operations so they're not gonna be able to do that anymore," he said.

Souza said the city is working on its plan to get residents back to their homes and businesses on the island.

Military helicopters have brought medical aid and supplies to Sanibel and Captiva Island.

More than 5,000 National Guard servicemen have been working on hurricane recovery efforts across the state.

U.S. Coast Guard Commander Rear Admiral Brendan McPherson told NBC's TODAY Show that 325 people and over 100 pets have been rescued.

Second and third search efforts are underway in Sanibel. McPherson said at this point, most people are stranded but do not need immediate medical assistance.

He told CNN that the island will be "out of commission for some time."

Death Toll Rises in Florida

The death toll in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian continues to rise.

As search and rescue efforts continue days after landfall, over 60 deaths have been reported by state officials.

The Florida District of Medical Examiners reported at least 58 storm-related deaths Saturday afternoon. Lee County, which include Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Sanibel Island, was hit the hardest.

  • Collier County: 3
  • Hendry County: 1
  • Hillsborough County: 1
  • Lake County: 1
  • Lee County: 42
  • Manatee County: 2
  • Sarasota County: 3
  • Volusia County: 5

There are several conflicting reports on official fatalities numbers across each county. As search and rescue efforts continue, officials say the numbers will likely increase.

There were also four fatalities reported in North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper reported in a press briefing Saturday. The cause of deaths include car accidents and drowning while driving in storm conditions and carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator.

According to Cooper:

  • A 25-year-old man died Friday when he lost control of his vehicle on Raleigh Road in Johnston County and hydroplaned into another vehicle in stormy conditions.
  • A 24-year-old woman died when her vehicle went off a wet road in Clayton and struck a tree Friday afternoon.
  • A 22-year-old man drowned in Martin County when his truck left the roadway and submerged in a flooded swamp Friday night.
  • A 65-year-old man in Johnston County died Saturday from carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator running in his closed garage while the power was out. His wife was hospitalized.

Three deaths have been reported in Cuba, according to the United Nations.

Nearly 140,000 Still Without Power in Puerto Rico

Recovery efforts continue in Puerto Rico, nearly two weeks since Hurricane Fiona hit the island.

Nearly 140,000 customers remain without power as of Monday morning, mostly in Puerto Rico's southern and western regions. It is an improvement, however, as power has been restored to most of the island. The storm hit as a Category 1, knocking out power to more than three million people.

There are also some 66,000 customers still without water, the Associated Press reports.

President Joe Biden will visit Puerto Rico and survey the damage on Monday afternoon. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is also conducting damage assessments, teams were out in Cayey on Sunday.

"We're working alongside our partners to determine the full impact of the storm on people and structures," FEMA said.