Fifth person confirmed dead after Hurricane Ian hit North Carolina

A fifth person has died in North Carolina because of the effects of Hurricane Ian, Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday.

“We lost five people to the storm, and we mourn the loss of these people and we send our deepest sympathies to their families. But if people had not heeded warnings, I think it could have been a lot worse,” Cooper said during a Council of State meeting in downtown Raleigh.

Cooper said he was grateful for the state’s first responders and swift-water rescue teams.

“We had in North Carolina at different points more than 700,000 people without power. Collectively, the high peak was 400,000 people who didn’t have power,” he said.

Cooper told reporters after a Council of State meeting Tuesday morning that he had just found out that morning that a fifth person “was involved in a storm-related death.” He did not yet know the circumstances.

Hurricane Ian made landfall in South Carolina Friday and quickly weakened into a tropical storm.

Over the weekend, the death toll was at four people, The News & Observer previously reported. All four of those people died on Friday and Friday night.

The four people who died, The N&O reported, were a 25-year-old man whose car lost control on a wet road in Johnston County and hydroplaned, crashing into another car; a 24-year-old woman who died in Clayton when her car ran off a rain-covered road and into a tree; a 65-year-old man in Johnston County who died of carbon monoxide poisoning after leaving a generator running in his garage; and a 22-year-old man who drowned in Martin County after his truck ran off a roadway and into a flooded swamp.

Crews work to clear a downed tree near the intersection of Gresham and Shenandoah Avenues as the Triangle feels the effects of Hurricane Ian on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Durham, N.C.
Crews work to clear a downed tree near the intersection of Gresham and Shenandoah Avenues as the Triangle feels the effects of Hurricane Ian on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Durham, N.C.

N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said Tuesday during the Council of State meeting that his agency has had 888 total loss insurance claims, “which is a far cry from where we were Hurricane Florence. Of those claims, 377 are coastal claims and 511 encompass the rest of the state.”

Causey said Brunswick County was “by far the hardest hit” county in North Carolina.

Reporters Kristen Johnson, Josh Shaffer and Aaron Sanchez-Guerra contributed to this story.