Florida officials reported 1 confirmed death and 20 unconfirmed deaths due to the storm, which caused severe damage to Fort Myers and other areas in the southwest of the state. More than 1.8 million residents remained without power. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the death toll on the barrier islands that were particularly hard hit was still being assessed.
“If a house just washes away into the ocean, into the water, with 155 mile-per-hour winds, if that person evacuated, that’s great,” DeSantis said. “If they didn’t, I don’t know how you survive that.”
“This is not just a crisis for Florida, this is an American crisis,” President Biden said in remarks Friday afternoon, adding, “I just want the people of Florida to know, we see what you’re going through, and we’re with you.” Biden is expected to visit Florida, as well as Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from Hurricane Fiona, on Monday.
While both South Carolina and Georgia have declared a states of emergency, no evacuation orders were issued. Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina acknowledged that the storm had lessened in power but urged residents to remain vigilant.
"This is not as bad as it could’ve been,” McMaster said at a briefing Friday. “A lot of prayers have been answered, but I would ask people don’t quit yet, because it’s still coming. We are not out of the woods yet.”
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