The balance sheet is still provisional, but it is getting heavier.
The Florida authorities confirmed Friday evening a new death toll of 23 following the passage of Hurricane Ian, most of them by drowning and in their great majority of the elderly.
Some American media evoke an even heavier human toll, the CNN television channel evoking 45 deaths.
After ravaging the southeastern US state, Ian headed for South Carolina, where it made landfall early Friday afternoon near Georgetown as a Category 1 hurricane. accompanied by winds blowing up to 140 km / h, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) based in Miami.
Ian vs Charley.
A lot of similarities in these two Category 4 hurricanes.
Both made landfalls at Cayo Costa, FL, then second landfalls near Georgetown, SC.
— Brent Watts WDBJ (@wattsupbrent) October 1, 2022
Although it then weakened into a post-tropical storm (winds up to 110 km/h), its downpours caused sudden flooding in this state as well as in North Carolina, where certain areas could receive up to 20 cm of precipitation.
“Historic” damage in Florida
President Joe Biden has urged residents to heed calls for caution from local officials.
In South Carolina, they had notably urged the population not to drive on the roads invaded by water.
“It's a dangerous storm that will bring high winds and lots of water, but the most dangerous thing will be human error.
Be smart, make good decisions, check in on loved ones and stay safe,” Governor Henry McMaster tweeted.
United States: in Florida, cities devastated by the passage of Hurricane Ian
Ian is expected to "continue to weaken overnight and dissipate over western North Carolina or Virginia late Saturday," according to the Hurricane Center.
Some 575,000 homes and businesses were already without power Friday evening in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, according to the specialized site PowerOutage.
In Florida, in addition to the heavy human toll, the material damage is "historic", the level reached by the rising waters having been unprecedented, according to Governor Ron DeSantis.
Streets and homes were flooded and boats moored in marinas were tossed onto land by the storm.
On Friday, in Kissimmee, not far from Orlando, the authorities crossed the flooded areas in boats to rescue residents trapped in their homes.
Impact of climate change
In this state, "we are just beginning to see the extent of the destruction", "likely to rank among the worst" in the history of the United States, said Joe Biden during a speech.
“It will take months, years to rebuild,” he lamented.
As of Friday evening, more than 1.4 million customers remained without power there two days after Ian passed through, according to PowerOutage.
In the coastal town of Fort Myers, called the “epicenter” by Ron DeSantis, a handful of restaurants and bars had reopened and dozens of people were seated on terraces, offering residents a semblance of normalcy between broken trees and destroyed facades.
Read alsoStorms, cyclones... What is the impact of climate change on these extreme phenomena?
According to initial estimates, the passage of Hurricane Ian could cost insurers tens of billions of dollars and will weigh on American growth, in particular due to flight cancellations and damage to agricultural production.
At the same time, the search continued to find 17 passengers of a migrant boat which capsized on Wednesday near the archipelago of the Keys.
According to a first rapid study by American scientists made public on Friday, the rains linked to Hurricane Ian have increased by at least 10% due to climate change.
"Climate change didn't cause the hurricane, but it did make it wetter," said Michael Wehner of the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, one of the scientists involved in the this study.