Recovery efforts continued across Florida and the Carolinas Friday as the massive storm Ian left millions without power throughout the Southeast.
The big picture: Hurricane Ian, which pummeled Florida earlier in the week, became a post-tropical cyclone as winds dipped to 70 mph Friday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The latest: The NHC said Friday evening that the storm was presenting a “danger of life-threatening storm surge” along the Carolina coasts, with flash flooding and threatening high winds.
- Heavy rain and potential flash flooding could hit 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 into next week, per the NHC.
State of play: Close to 3,000 federal responders were assisting 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 slows.
- “Just because the skies are clear does not mean it’s safe,” she said at a press briefing Friday.
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a press briefing Friday evening that state and local law enforcement officials would be monitoring areas for potential looting.
- Orlando city officials encouraged residents to restrict water usage 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 struck the coast near Georgetown, SC with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, the National Hurricane Center saidbringing a “life-threatening” storm surge of 4 to 7 feet.
What they’re saying: Brian Henry, mayor of Pawley’s Island in South Carolina, told CNN that the hurricane brought a storm surge “probably beyond what most people anticipated.”
- “Most of us did not believe we would see the storm surge at 7 plus feet,” Henry told CNN. “It’s beginning 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 flash 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 well inland.
Context: 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-caused climate change.
- Sea level rise gives surge a higher floor from which to launch, allowing water to push further inland.
- South Carolina was expected to bear the brunt of a resurgent Ian.
- Ian’s center had been projected to move across eastern South Carolina and central North Carolina Friday night and on Saturday.
- President Biden declared an 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 that the core of the strongest winds will likely travel inland and affect communities like Florence and Fayetteville, with power outages a possibility this afternoon and evening.
- Ian isn’t expected to make landfall in Georgia, but parts of the state will still face tropical storm-force winds and dangerous life-threatening storm surge, the NHC said in an update.
- A tropical storm warning is in effect starting at the Altamaha Sound in Georgia to the Savannah River, which marks the state’s border with South Carolina.
- Southern Virginia could be hit by heavy rains with a chance of tornadoes through early Saturday.
- The storm is expected to dissipate over western North Carolina or Virginia late Saturday, the NHC said.
Go deeper: Florida death toll rises from Hurricane Ian
Editor’s note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates throughout the day.