May 20, 2024
Florida residents endure flooding, lost power, and more catastrophic damage as Hurricane Ian makes its way up the east coast of the United States. Follow Breitbart News for live updates on this breaking story.

Florida residents endure flooding, lost power, and more catastrophic damage as Hurricane Ian makes its way up the east coast of the United States. Follow Breitbart News for live updates on this breaking story. All times eastern.

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2:52 PM — Aerial shots show more damaged homes in Fort Myers, Florida.

2:42 PM — The governor is advising Floridians who evacuated for the storm not to rush home, as crews are working to restore power.

2:08 PM — Speaking from Charlotte County, Florida’s first lady Casey DeSantis detailed relief efforts in the state, touting  www.FloridaDisasterFund.org.

“You can donate there, it’s a 501(c)(3). Why that’s important again, is because we can take those resources and micro target them and get them directly to the ground as quickly and efficiently as possible” she said. 

“So I said tomorrow, this morning, and I reiterate this, we’re going to cut through any red tape and bureaucracy because we know people need those funds and they need help,” she added.

2:01 PM — DeSantis is delivering a 2 o’clock update on the storm.

1:42 PM — Video shows storm surge flooding the entire first floor of WINK studios in Fort Myers.

1:27 PM — Mike’s Weather Page, a trusted source for over one million Facebook followers and countless Floridians, posted an image of current watches and warnings, noting that Ian is likely to strengthen back into a hurricane before its second landfall.

1:20 PM — More alarming images are emerging from southwest Florida in the aftermath of Ian.

1:17 PM — Photos show individuals kayaking on the streets of downtown St. Augustine as Tropical Storm Ian hugs the coast.

12:44 PM — A Florida Weather Center post shows the aftermath of a tornado in Florida’s Broward County, toppling small aircraft.

12:24 PM — Part of the Sanibel Causeway, which connects Sanibel Island and Captiva to the Sunshine State’s mainland, has collapsed as a result of the storm:

12:18 PM — Photos show the severity of flooding in St. Augustine, as much of historic downtown appears to be underwater during high tide. 

12:08 PM — More footage shows the devastating aftermath of Ian in Fort Myers, with debris laying all over the ground alongside damaged buildings.

12:03 PM — Flash flood warnings are also in effect for Southeastern St. Johns County. 

Areas include: Saint Augustine, Saint Augustine Beach, Saint Augustine Shores, Saint Augustine South, Butler Beach, Crescent Beach, Vilano Beach, Dupont Center and Anastasia, per the National Weather Service.

12:01 PM — Winds are picking up on Florida’s east coast. Daytona Beach airport reported a gust of 81 mph.

11:42 AM — Search and rescue operations have been underway since 1 a.m., per the governor.

11:38 AM — Video shows the aftermath of Ian in Fort Myers Beach and what appears to be the remains of the pier.

11:21 AM –– A hurricane warning has now been issued for South Carolina’s coast, per the NHCs latest advisory. 

“Hurricane conditions are possible by tonight along the coasts of northeastern Florida and Georgia, where a Hurricane Watch is in effect,” the update reads.

11:02 AM — Images and videos are circulating across social media, showcasing some of the aftermath of Ian in southwest Florida. One video shows gas pumps in Port Charlotte completely crushed.

10:44 AM — President Biden is sending his FEMA administrator to Florida on Friday to “check in on response efforts and see where additional support is needed,” per White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

10:20 AM — The governor described the storm as “basically a 500 year flood event.”

“Right now if you look in Central Florida, you’re looking at potential major flooding …  in Seminole County’s St. Johns River all the way up potentially into Northeast Florida in Jacksonville,” he said. 

“The amount of water that’s been rising and will likely continue to rise today even as the storm is passing is basically a 500 year flood event,” he added. 

10:04 AM — DeSantis said they have received a major disaster declaration for nine counties, but they expect more. 

“I just spoke with the President this morning. He offered support. I told them that thanks for this but because the storm has moved inland and caused a lot of potential damage in the center part of our state, that we’re going to be asking for those counties to be expanded and included there,” DeSantis said.

9:57 AM –– Columnist Craig Pittman is yet another who has attempted to politicize the storm, contending in a Florida Phoenix op-ed that the governor is “afraid” to mention the term “climate change.” In fact, the title of his entire diatribe is “A vote to reelect Florida Gov. DeSantis is a vote for more Hurricane Ians.”

“As our hurricanes grow stronger, our storm surges get higher because of sea level rise and our rainfall grows heavier because a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, but don’t expect him to do diddly about it,” he wrote, concluding that the governor is “in favor of all those things.”

As Breitbart News has detailed, DeSantis’s team has dismissed such claims, consistently reminding leftists that Florida has experienced hurricanes “throughout recorded history.”

9:50 AM –– Sarasota County and Lee County, which DeSantis said are essentially “off the grid,” will likely require a rebuilding of infrastructure to reconnect power.

“Sarasota has a quarter of a million without power. Hillsborough 222,000. Pinellas 150,000. Manatee 129,000 The Charlotte and Lee reconnects are really going to likely have to be rebuilding of that infrastructure,” he said, noting that crews are on their way now.

“But that’s going to be more than just connecting a power line back to back to a pole,” he said. “The other counties likely are not going to require the extent of the structural rebuild, but of course that’s going to be assessed as the day goes on.”

9:41 AM — DeSantis confirmed reports of 2.02 million power outages across the state thus far. 

“Lee and Charlotte are basically off the grid at this point,” he said during this morning’s press conference. 

9:34 AM — Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered an 8:45 update and said first responders descended on southwest Florida as soon as the storm passed. He said the Coast Guard has been performing rescue missions and Florida National Guard assets are participating.

9:09 AM — Florida residents have reported over 2 million power outages — 2,021,206 — per the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s latest update.

9:05 AM — Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno — Lee County is where the then-hurricane made landfall — told ABC’s Good Morning America that the “fatalities are in the hundreds.” That number has not been confirmed.

“There are thousands of people that are waiting to be rescued, “ he said, adding that they cannot give a “true assessment until we’re actually on scene.”

9:01 AM – Ian has weakened to a Tropical Storm.