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Hurricane Ian death toll jumps to 77 as epicenter county is blasted for issuing evacuation order a day later than neighboring counties

Hurricane Ian death toll is 30 - including elderly couple killed after power cut stopped their oxygen machines - as Florida county which saw most deaths is blasted for delaying evacuation warning Of the 52 casualties reported so far from Hurricane Ian in the US, 35 of them were in Lee County, Florida (above)

The confirmed death toll of Hurricane Ian has risen to 77, with the majority concentrated in a Florida county that is facing criticism for delaying its evacuation warning.

In Lee County, home to Fort Myers and epicenter of the hurricane's devastation on Florida's Gulf Coast, there were 35 deaths after county officials waited a day longer than other nearby areas to issue evacuation orders.

All 77 deaths so-far recorded have been in Florida, NBC News reported.  

Lee County did not issue a mandatory evacuation until Tuesday morning, just over 24 hours before the storm made landfall, with officials there telling the New York Times that they postponed the order due to earlier forecasts that showed the storm heading further north. 

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno confirmed the latest casualty report on Saturday, saying that search and rescue operations are still taking place throughout the county and the rest of the Sunshine state following Ian's devastation. 

'Today, we've had over 600 to 700 rescues of people that are in need,' Marceno said. ‘During this difficult time, we’re at about 35 deaths, unfortunately. It’s with a heavy heart that I say that number.’ 

The sheriff added: 'Last night I just sat there by myself thinking about the devastation, looking through pictures, and I’ll tell you it brought tears to my eyes. We are going to work harder and we are going to be stronger than ever.'

As the death toll from Hurricane Ian jumped to 52, at least 35 of the deaths took place in Lee County, home to Fort Myers and epicenter of the hurricane's devastation on Florida's Gulf Coast

As the death toll from Hurricane Ian jumped to 52, at least 35 of the deaths took place in Lee County, home to Fort Myers and epicenter of the hurricane's devastation on Florida's Gulf Coast

The county faces intense scrutiny over its failure to send out evacuation orders in time, as the call was delayed by 24 hours

The county faces intense scrutiny over its failure to send out evacuation orders in time, as the call was delayed by 24 hours

Pictured: Lee County resident Jonathan Strong dives into flood waters with his girlfriend to help check on residents in a flooded mobile home community on Thursday during the storm's rampage

Pictured: Lee County resident Jonathan Strong dives into flood waters with his girlfriend to help check on residents in a flooded mobile home community on Thursday during the storm's rampage 

Officials said that on Saturday alone, the county had seen between 600 to 700 rescue operations

Officials said that on Saturday alone, the county had seen between 600 to 700 rescue operations

The hurricane decimated the area, destroying homes and flooding entire communities in the county

The hurricane decimated the area, destroying homes and flooding entire communities in the county

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno (above) confirmed the death toll in his county from Hurricane Ian's rampage

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno (above) confirmed the death toll in his county from Hurricane Ian's rampage

The Sheriff's Office has been traveling throughout the county to check on residents and assist rescue efforts

The Sheriff's Office has been traveling throughout the county to check on residents and assist rescue efforts 

Pictured: Neighborhoods in Lee County completely submerged by storm surges as a fire breaks out in one of them

Pictured: Neighborhoods in Lee County completely submerged by storm surges as a fire breaks out in one of them 

On Saturday the remnants of Ian were pushing north toward Virginia and are expected to bring widespread rain, with isolated risks of flash flooding in parts of the Appalachians and the Mid-Atlantic coast

On Saturday the remnants of Ian were pushing north toward Virginia and are expected to bring widespread rain, with isolated risks of flash flooding in parts of the Appalachians and the Mid-Atlantic coast

Other deaths were reported in Charlotte, Volusia, Sarasota, Lake, Collier and Manatee counties. 

The fatalities reported in Florida were mostly from drowning, but others suffered different fates from the storm's tragic aftereffects. 

An elderly couple died after their oxygen machines shut off when they lost power, authorities said.

The dead also included a 68-year-old woman swept into the ocean by a wave and a 67-year-old man who fell into rising water inside his home while awaiting rescue.

Authorities also said a 22-year-old woman died after an ATV rollover from a road washout and a 71-year-old man suffered a fatal fall from a rooftop while putting up rain shutters. Another three people died in Cuba earlier in the week.

Still, there were scenes of hope in the midst of devastation in Florida, as more than 1,000 people joined search-and-rescue operations across the state. Video from Fort Myers Beach showed a man being pulled alive from the splintered fragments of a destroyed home.

Early on Saturday, rescuers continued to search for survivors among the ruins of Florida's flooded homes, while authorities in South Carolina assessed the damage from the hurricane's second strike there. 

Of the 52 casualties reported so far from Hurricane Ian in the US, 35 of them were in Lee County, Florida (above)

Of the 52 casualties reported so far from Hurricane Ian in the US, 35 of them were in Lee County, Florida (above) 

Lee County residents were left to access the damage on their homes after evacuation orders for them came a day after they were sent out to their neighbors as Hurricane Ian approached

Lee County residents were left to access the damage on their homes after evacuation orders for them came a day after they were sent out to their neighbors as Hurricane Ian approached 

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'90% of Fort Myers Beach is pretty much gone': Everything but high-rise condos and brand new concrete homes is wiped out - as death toll climbs

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: A car drives through high water from the effects from Hurricane Ian in South Carolina

The confirmed death toll of Hurricane Ian has risen to 30, with the majority in a Florida county that is facing criticism for delaying its evacuation warning.

The fatalities included 27 people dead in Florida, mostly from drowning but others from the storm's tragic aftereffects. An elderly couple died after their oxygen machines shut off when they lost power, authorities said.

The dead included a 68-year-old woman swept into the ocean by a wave and a 67-year-old man who who fell into rising water inside his home while awaiting rescue.

Authorities also said a 22-year-old woman died after an ATV rollover from a road washout and a 71-year-old man suffered a fatal fall from a rooftop while putting up rain shutters. Another three people died in Cuba earlier in the week.

In Lee County, home to Fort Myers and epicenter of the hurricane's devastation on Florida's Gulf Coast, there were 16 deaths after county officials waited a day longer than other nearby areas to issue evacuation orders.

Lee County did not issue a mandatory evacuation until Tuesday morning, just over 24 hours before the storm made landfall, with officials there telling the New York Times that they postponed the order due to earlier forecasts that showed the storm heading further north. 

Still, there were scenes of hope in the midst of devastation in Florida, as more than 1,000 people joined search-and-rescue operations across the state. Video from Fort Myers Beach showed a man being pulled alive from the splintered fragments of a destroyed home.

Early on Saturday, rescuers continued to search for survivors among the ruins of Florida's flooded homes, while authorities in South Carolina assessed the damage from the hurricane's second strike there. 

NORTH PORT, FLORIDA: People trapped in hurricane-hit areas in North Port are evacuated by rescue teams on Friday. The storm has caused widespread power outages and flash flooding in Central Florida as it crossed through the state

NORTH PORT, FLORIDA: People trapped in hurricane-hit areas in North Port are evacuated by rescue teams on Friday. The storm has caused widespread power outages and flash flooding in Central Florida as it crossed through the state

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA: Jordan Reidy carries his dog, Ivory, back to their second-floor apartment on Friday in Fort Myers, Florida. Reidy and his mother plan to stay at the home because they feel like they have no where else to go

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA: Jordan Reidy carries his dog, Ivory, back to their second-floor apartment on Friday in Fort Myers, Florida. Reidy and his mother plan to stay at the home because they feel like they have no where else to go

NORTH PORT, FLORIDA: People waiting for rescue teams in North Port feed an infant on Friday after Ian passed through

NORTH PORT, FLORIDA: People waiting for rescue teams in North Port feed an infant on Friday after Ian passed through

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: A car drives through high water from the effects from Hurricane Ian in South Carolina

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: A car drives through high water from the effects from Hurricane Ian in South Carolina

On Saturday the remnants of Ian were pushing north toward Virginia and are expected to bring widespread rain, with isolated risks of flash flooding in parts of the Appalachians and the Mid-Atlantic coast

On Saturday the remnants of Ian were pushing north toward Virginia and are expected to bring widespread rain, with isolated risks of flash flooding in parts of the Appalachians and the Mid-Atlantic coast

Meanwhile, the remnants of one of the strongest and costliest hurricanes to ever hit the US continued to push north toward Virginia, bringing heavy rains and leaving thousands without power in the Carolinas.

The storm struck Florida's Gulf Coast on Wednesday as a monster Category 4, turning beach towns into disaster areas. 

On Friday, it pummeled waterfront Georgetown, north of the historic city of Charleston in South Carolina, with wind speeds of 85 mph. 

The powerful storm terrorized millions of people for most of the week, battering western Cuba before raking across Florida from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, where it mustered enough strength for its final assault on South Carolina. 

Now weakened to a post-tropical cyclone, Ian was expected to move across central North Carolina on Saturday morning and reach south-central Virginia by the afternoon.

'Widespread showers and some thunderstorms are forecast to continue through the weekend from the central Appalachians into the Mid-Atlantic and southern New England,' the National Weather Service said in a flash bulletin.

Rain totals are generally forecast in the range of one to two inches, though there was a risk of flash flooding in parts of West Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic coastline.

Images from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina show the flooding there on Friday as Ian made its second strike on the US
Images from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina show the flooding there on Friday as Ian made its second strike on the US

MYRTLE BEACH: Images from South Carolina show the flooding there on Friday as Ian made its second strike on the US

MYRTLE BEACH: A shrimping vessel is damaged by Hurricane Ian in South Carolina on Friday

MYRTLE BEACH: A shrimping vessel is damaged by Hurricane Ian in South Carolina on Friday

NORTH CHARLESTON: Waters from a rain-swollen pond cover grass and a foot path around Quarterman Park in North Charleston, South Carolina, after Hurricane Ian brought sheets of rain to the area

NORTH CHARLESTON: Waters from a rain-swollen pond cover grass and a foot path around Quarterman Park in North Charleston, South Carolina, after Hurricane Ian brought sheets of rain to the area

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FORT MYERS BEACH: Jake Moses, 19, left, and Heather Jones, 18, of Fort Myers, explore a section of destroyed businesses following Hurricane Ian

'Unless you have a high-rise condo or a newer concrete home that is built to the same standards today, your house is pretty much gone,' he added. 

Walking amid the wreckage of destroyed marinas on Friday morning, the mayor of Fort Myers, the larger mainland city, marveled at the Category 4 storm's destructive power. 

'Just look at the boats. These are some large boats. And they've been thrown around like they were toys,' Mayor Kevin Anderson told CNN. 'They were thrown around like they were nothing.' 

The Sanibel Causeway is seen before and after Hurricane Ian, which destroyed the bridge span in at least five places. The causeway is the only link between the Fort Myers mainland and Sanibel and Captiva Islands 

A marina in Fort Myers is seen before and after the storm. Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson says that boats and sections of docks were 'thrown around like toys'

Fort Meyers Beach is seen before and after the storm hit. The barrier island town was devastated in the hurricane

Fort Myers Beach, a town of about 5,500 on one of the barrier islands off Fort Myers, was '90 percent' destroyed in the storm, one official said

FORT MYERS BEACH: Jake Moses, 19, left, and Heather Jones, 18, of Fort Myers, explore a section of destroyed businesses following Hurricane Ian
FORT MYERS BEACH: Jake Moses, 19, left, and Heather Jones, 18, of Fort Myers, explore a section of destroyed businesses following Hurricane Ian

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Comment by stephen myers on October 2, 2022 at 12:27am

Weird how it looks like a war zone as if they have been bombed from the air, reminds me of the pictures I see when they go to wars and bomb others, I believe in Karma where the dead souls will haunt you and cause destruction in hurricanes, fires, this is what I saw on a ww2 documentary where the Japanese believed when the sacrificed themselves they would become a destructive in the spirit world, to heavy for you to understand ancient cultures, they knew the truth as an ancient culture about the spirit world where we return when we all die.

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