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Hurricane Ian: Florida Governor says Hurricane Ian is a 500-year event as stunned Florida residents wake to utter devastation after ‘tsunami-style’ floods ‘k*lled hundreds – as 50 National Guard choppers begin search and rescue for thousands
Ron DeSantis has narrated the tsunami-like flooding across Florida as a ‘once in a 500-year’ event as Hurricane Ian keeps on trying to barrel its way northwards through Orlando.
Hundreds of people are feared dead, as 50 national Guard helicopters are starting the search and rescue for thousands who are stranded or missing in the aftermath of the catastrophic flooding and 155mph winds.
But rescuers this morning admitted they are only ‘scratching the surface’ and the actual number of victims could soar even higher.
Thousands are also trapped on their homes and some were forced on to their roofs to escape rising floodwater that swallowed two-story homes.
DeSantis described the mass flooding from Hurricane Ian as a ‘once in a 500-year’ event, and confirmed 2.7million are presently without power.
Meanwhile Joe Biden declared it a ‘major disaster’ and freed up funds to help those without power and hundreds of thousands whose homes have been leveled.
The President also confirmed he was in ‘close coordination’ with the Florida governor after a phone call early on Thursday morning.
Sanibel Island has been cut off from the mainland after the Causeway Bridge collapsed into the Gulf of Mexico due to the force of the tempest.
Ian blasted ashore with catastrophic force on Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 storm, but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm by the National Hurricane Center in an update early on Thursday.
But it could near hurricane strength again when it approaches the coast of South Carolina on Friday – which is set to be its second US landfall.
Experts are expecting the damages to cost up to $260billion, though the clean-up efforts are currently unable to get underway as swathes of Florida remain underwater.
Horrifying footage shows flames and black smoke coiling into the sky in Fort Myers as homes were suddenly being engulfed by the blaze.
Though it is not clear exactly what caused the fires to break out, it could have been sparked by damaged power cables, lightning or generators being destroyed by the storm.