FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — People are paddling kayaks down streets that were passable just a day or two ago. Hundreds of thousands without electricity. National Guard helicopters are conducting rescue missions for residents still stranded on Florida’s barrier islands.

Days after Hurricane Ian blazed a path of destruction from Florida to the Carolinas, the danger remains, and in some places has worsened. It was clear that the road to recovery from this monster storm would be long and painful.

And Jan hasn’t finished yet. The storm pelted Virginia with rain on Sunday, and officials warned of the possibility of severe flooding along the coast beginning Monday night.

Ian’s remnants have moved offshore and formed a nor’easter that is expected to dump more water into the already flooded Chesapeake Bay and threaten to cause the most significant tidal flooding in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region in 10 to 15 years, Cody said. Poche, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The island city of Chincoteague declared a state of emergency Sunday and urged residents to evacuate some areas. The East Coast and the northern part of the Outer Banks of North Carolina may also be affected.

According to ABC News, at least 81 people died in Florida and four in North Carolina.

As the death toll rises, Dina Criswell, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the federal government is ready to provide massive assistance, primarily focusing on victims in Florida, which took the brunt of one of the strongest storms to make landfall. in the United States. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden plan to visit the state on Wednesday.

Flooded roads and washed-out bridges to barrier islands have left many people isolated with limited mobile communications and a lack of basic amenities such as water, electricity and internet. Officials have warned that the situation in many areas is not expected to improve for several days because the rain that has fallen has nowhere to go because reservoirs are overflowing.

By early Monday, fewer than 620,000 Florida homes and businesses were without power, down from a peak of 2.6 million.

Criswell told Fox News Sunday that the federal government, including the Coast Guard and the Department of Defense, has deployed “the largest number of search and rescue assets that I think we’ve ever used before.”

Still, recovery will take time, said Criswell, who visited the state Friday and Saturday to assess the damage and speak with survivors. She warned that danger remains due to downed power lines in standing water.

More than 1,600 people have been rescued statewide, according to the Florida Emergency Management Agency.

Rescue efforts continued, especially on Florida’s barrier islands, which were cut off from the mainland when storm surges destroyed levees and bridges.

The state will build a temporary overpass for the largest of them, Pine Island, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Sunday, adding that the Department of Transportation approved funding for its construction this week, and construction could begin as early as Monday.

“It’s not going to be a full bridge, you’re going to have to drive over it at five miles an hour or something like that, but it will at least allow people to drive in and out of the island with their cars,” the governor said. said at a press conference.

Coast Guard, municipal and private crews have used helicopters, boats and even jet skis to evacuate people over the past few days.

In rural Seminole County, north of Orlando, residents donned waders, boots and bug spray to wade to their flooded homes Sunday.

Ben Bertha found four inches (10 centimeters) of water in his Lake Harney home after kayaking.

“I think it’s going to be worse because all that water has to go into the lake,” Bertat said, pointing to the water that flooded a nearby road. “With the ground saturation, this whole marsh is full and it just can’t take any more water. It doesn’t look like it’s getting any lower.”

Elsewhere, power remained out on at least half of Pauley Island in South Carolina, a beach community about 75 miles (115 kilometers) up the coast from Charleston. In North Carolina, the storm knocked down trees and power lines.


Associated Press reporters Rebecca Santana in Ft. Myers; Brandon Farrington and Anthony Izaguirre in Tallahassee; David Fisher in Miami; Sarah Rankin in Richmond, Virginia; and Richard Lardner in Washington contributed to this report.