Joe Biden says Hurricane Ian could be 'deadliest' in Florida history: 'We are hearing early reports of what could be substantial loss of life'

Joe Biden says Hurricane Ian could be ‘deadliest’ in Florida history: ‘We are hearing early reports of what could be substantial loss of life’

UPDATE, THURSDAY, 9:59 AM PT: President Joe Biden has said Hurricane Ian “could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida history.”

“The numbers are still unclear, but we are hearing early reports of what could be significant loss of life,” he said during a visit to FEMA headquarters.

Millions of people are without power in the state, and authorities have reported numerous efforts to save residents from floodwaters. The storm also damaged bridges in Fort Myers, Florida, while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told reporters that “you are looking at a storm that has changed the character of a significant portion of our state,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.

On Thursday, reporters fanned out across the state to capture the extent of the damage. Many networks focused on Fort Myers, where some of those who stayed during the hurricane believed the storm would hit further north in Tampa. Instead, their communities were at the center of the storm and its rise.

CNN’s Randi Kaye interviewed residents of a mobile home park whose property was destroyed by floodwaters. “They don’t know where to start,” she said, with strewn debris in the backdrop. A resident, who moved to the area a year ago, told her that “everything is flooded. Everything is ruined. We took what we could. We didn’t think it would be so bad. »

“I’ve never seen a storm that’s done this much damage to this area before,” Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson later said in a phone interview with the network, as it aired news. footage of the devastation from a local broadcast station.

David Muir will drop anchor world news tonight from Florida on Thursday night to cover damage from Hurricane Ian and the lingering threat of the storm.

NBC Nightly News’ Lester Holt dropped anchor from the state on Wednesday and Norah O’Donnell began anchoring from the Sunshine State on Tuesday.

“We know that many families are hurting, many are hurting today, and our whole country is hurting with them,” Biden said in his remarks to FEMA.

PREVIOUSLY, WEDNESDAY, 12:43 PM PT: Hurricane Ian made landfall as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane on Florida’s southwest coast, the National Hurricane Center said in a mid-afternoon update Wednesday.

According The Washington Post‘s Capital Weather Gang, the hurricane, with winds of 150 mph, is tied as the fifth strongest to hit the United States on record.

Hurricane Ian: Complete Deadline Coverage

“It’s awesome to see in the most spooky way,” CNN’s Bill Weir said from Punta Gorda, Florida, with the sight of windswept palm trees and power poles.

The hurricane made landfall near Cayo Costa, Florida.

Mike Bettes of The Weather Channel posted video of the storm surge in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.

PREVIOUSLY, WEDNESDAY: CBS Evening News Anchor Norah O’Donnell will again lead the show from Florida on Wednesday, as the networks send staff to the Sunshine State to cover Hurricane Ian.

NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt will also be the state anchor tonight. ABC world news tonight presenter David Muir will be in New York, but those plans could change. All the networks sent correspondents and meteorologists to the field.

At the Tampa anchorage on Tuesday, O’Donnell told viewers, “Florida is a state on the edge tonight as it prepares for what could be the biggest storm in years.”

The approaching hurricane, which is expected to make landfall later Wednesday, has disrupted schedules. The networks had thought much of Wednesday’s coverage would be devoted to the upcoming Jan. 6 Committee hearing, but that was postponed Tuesday due to the focus on the storm.

On CNN Wednesday, anchor John Berman, in rather quiet Tampa, warned of hours and hours of impending rain, even as forecasters now predict the hurricane will make landfall about 100 miles to the south.

The hurricane is expected to hit the state mid to late afternoon, and Berman told viewers that at the current intensity of 155 mph, just below a Category 5 storm, it would be “one of the most powerful storms ever created”. land in the United States.

José Díaz-Balart anchored his MSNBC show from Bradenton, FL, and among those he interviewed was correspondent Kerry Sanders, who covered Hurricane Andrew in 1992, reporting from Punta Gorda in central where the storm is expected to hit.

Sanders warned of the storm surge. “You can’t bet on those kind of predictions, because it’s really hard to determine,” he said.

Fox News Channel featured updates from its Fox Weather streaming service, with correspondent Steve Harrigan in Charlotte County, Florida also warning of an increase. Amid high winds, he said the hurricane “strengthened dramatically, and I think it took a lot of people by surprise.” He also warned that it was too late for people to evacuate, given the difficulty of crossing the bridges. The channel plans to expand Fox News @ Night with Trace Gallagher to begin at 11 p.m. ET, hustling Gutfeld!, and will simulcast Fox Weather from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. Updates are also expected during the network’s prime time programming.

President Joe Biden, at an event on Wednesday, pledged support for the state. “We’ll be there every step of the way: that’s my absolute commitment to the State of Florida.”

More soon.

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