Man, 72, dies during Hurricane Ian while draining pool

A 72-year-old man in Deltona, Florida died overnight between Wednesday and Thursday as Hurricane Ian brought extremely dangerous weather conditions to the state.

The man was draining his pool with a hose, sending the water down a hill and into a nearby canal as the rain came in, according to a statement from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim was discovered unresponsive in the canal and was later pronounced dead. Heavy rain had made the hillside leading down to the canal extremely slippery, the sheriff’s office says.

The man is just one of the fatalities beginning to be reported from the hurricane, which has devastated a large swath of southern and central Florida as one of the strongest storms on record to hit the state.

After Hurricane Ian made landfall near Fort Myers, Florida, it started to move across the state, bringing dangerous winds and rain to the Atlantic side and inland parts of the state.

Deltona is just north of Orlando, close to Daytona Beach on the Atlantic. Some parts of that area had received up to 14 inches (36 centimetres) of rain by Thursday, according to the National Weather Service, with more expected later in the day.

Volusia County sheriff’s deputies arrived at the victim’s home early in the morning on Thursday after his wife reported him missing, the statement says.

In Lee County, the sheriff has confirmed at least five deaths from Hurricane Ian, though that number may rise as officials venture out into the storm’s wake to assess damage.

Vast areas of Florida are without power, making initial estimates of damage a little harder. In Volusia County, more than 60 per cent of customers are without power — and in counties like Lee, Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee and Highlands, around 90 per cent of customers are in the dark, according to

Overall, more than 2.6 million people are without power.

Hurricane Ian struck southwest Florida as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday afternoon, with severe rain, winds and storm surge lasting for hours.

Storms like this are only likely to become more common as the climate crisis grows. Warmer air and ocean waters can supercharge a hurricane — quickly bringing it to catastrophic strength, much like what happened with Ian in its run-up to Florida.

A United Nations climate science panel has found that the percentage of storms reaching dangerous Category 3 strength or higher has been increasing over the past 40 years.