• Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

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Ian slows down as death toll from hurricane grows in Florida

In Florida, nearly 1.3 million homes and businesses were still without power early Saturday, three days after Ian hit the state.

The lack of power and water is why Meah Fields, 16, and her family had to leave their Cape Coral home, where they rode out the storm, for Sarasota. The teen said they all needed a place where they could recharge and freshen up until electricity is restored in the coastal city.

As of now, she doesn’t know when they will return home.

Ian was Fields’ first hurricane. Her family evacuated during Irma in 2017 but decided to stay this time because they didn’t think Ian would hit them. They also didn’t expect Ian’s ferocity, she said in a phone call Saturday.

“It was honestly really scary. … My parents were even saying that they never experienced something like this,” she said. “It was hurricane-strength winds for at least 10 hours.”

Fields, her 14-year-old brother, and her parents hunkered down in the hallway until the storm passed. Aside from some missing shingles, the family’s home was spared.

In Fort Myers, which early on bore the brunt of Ian, residents waded through knee-deep water and used canoes and rafts to salvage what possessions they could find from their flooded homes.

“I want to sit in the corner and cry,” Stevie Scuderi told The Associated Press as she shuffled through her mostly destroyed Fort Myers apartment, the mud in her kitchen sticking to her purple sandals. “I don’t know what else to do.”

In South Carolina, Ian’s eye came ashore near Georgetown, a small community along the Winyah Bay about 60 miles north of historic Charleston. The storm washed away parts of four piers along the coast, including two that link to the popular tourist town of Myrtle Beach. More than 62,000 customers did not have power.

Phil McCausland reported from South Carolina, Leila Sackur reported from London, England, Corky Siemaszko from New York City.

Associated Press and Minyvonne Burke contributed.