Updated Oct 7, 2022 - News

Death toll from Hurricane Ian rises

An aerial picture taken on October 1, 2022 shows a broken section of the Pine Island Road, debris and destroyed houses in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian

A devastated section of Pine Island Road in Lee County after Hurricane Ian. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images

More than a week after Hurricane Ian hit, the number of storm-related deaths has risen to at least 101, per the Associated Press, with other outlets reporting a higher toll.

The big picture: Florida reported 92 of those, mostly consisting of people over the age of 50 in Lee County. Other deaths were in Cuba, North Carolina and Virginia.

  • A heartbreaking story from the Tampa Bay Times memorializes Hillsborough County's two hurricane-related deaths.
  • Most of those who died in Florida drowned due to the storm surge that Ian triggered, according to the state's Medical Examiners Commission.

Where it stands: Hurricane Ian is now the second-deadliest storm to strike the mainland U.S. in the 21st century, AP notes.

  • It's second to Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people in 2005.
  • Ian is also Florida's deadliest hurricane since 1935.

State of power: More than 200,000 homes and businesses across the state are without power, according to the state Public Service Commission.

  • More than half of those are in Lee County. Sarasota still has 20,000 customers in the dark.

The big picture: The widespread damage caused by Ian has renewed discussion on building hurricane-resistant communities, as well as the difficult β€” and often emotional β€” choices people face when deciding whether to leave their homes or stay and rebuild in the face of devastating storms.

What they're saying: During a visit to Fort Myers Wednesday, President Biden said that "the one thing this has finally ended is the discussion about whether or not there's climate change, and whether we should do something about it," referencing devastating weather events in recent months.

  • While Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republican politicians in Florida have historically objected to major climate policy, the New York Times reports, "those leaders want federal help to rebuild their state β€” but don't want to discuss the underlying problem that is making hurricanes more powerful and destructive."

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