Central Florida floodwaters rising after Ian unleashed "unprecedented rainfall"
Days after Hurricane Ian swept through, central Florida communities are facing sewage concerns and rising floodwaters that the National Weather Service warns will persist "well into this week" — as rescue efforts continue across the state.
Details: The city of Orlando urged residents on Sunday night to "limit water usage" after Ian's "unprecedented rainfall" damaged the sewer system, while the nearby central city of St. Cloud issued a voluntary evacuation order due to rising floodwaters.
The big picture: At least 68 people have died due to the storm, including 61 in Florida, per AP.
- About 621,000 utility customers were without power in the state on Monday morning, according to the state Public Service Commission.
- President Biden was due to visit Florida on Wednesday after stopping off in Puerto Rico on Monday, where more than 127,000 customers were still without power after last month's catastrophic Hurricane Fiona.
Meanwhile, in Naples, which saw significant storm surge and flooding after Ian made landfall in southwest Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said in a statement that officials had served food and water to "tens of thousands of Floridians," while 42,000 lineworkers responding to the power outages had "restored power to more than 1.8 million accounts across the state."
What to expect: "In central Florida, ongoing major to record river flooding across a couple of river basins is expected to continue well into this week and will be slow to recede in the wake of Ian," the National Weather Service said on Monday morning.
- "Locally heavy to excessive rain is possible along the immediate Mid-Atlantic coast."
- Central Florida's ground was already saturated due to the rainy season, U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist Kevin Grimsley told Niala Boodhoo of "Axios Today" as he warned of the flooding threat last week.
- While the panhandle and Tampa Bay area's surface waterways are sloped, Grimsley noted central Florida is flatter.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details on power outages.