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This week, Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida as a Category 4 hurricane in Florida. Ian forged a trail of destruction in Florida, leaving thousands of Floridians homeless and more than a million homes and businesses without power. At least 45 deaths have been reported in the Sunshine State.
Ian devastated much of the state’s southwestern coastal communities, including Fort Myers and Naples. Downpours and high winds also impacted Tampa, Orlando and other northeastern coastal communities.
In a news conference, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Friday warned locals against looting the homes of those affected by the natural disaster.
“The other thing we’re concerned about, particularly in those areas that were really hard hit, is we want to make sure we’re maintaining law and order,” DeSantis said. “You can have people bringing boats into some of these islands and trying to ransack people’s homes.”
DeSantis continued, “Don’t even think about looting. Don’t even think about taking advantage of people in this vulnerable situation. I can tell you, in the state of Florida, you never know what may be lurking behind somebody’s home. And I would not want to chance that, if I were you, given that we’re a Second Amendment state.”
The governor urged President Joe Biden for relief, which was immediately provided, but his 2013 vote against supporting federal aid following Hurricane Sandy has not been forgotten.
Climate scientists say climate change is the reason for the historic rainfall and the slow movement of storms like Ian. Warming waters give hurricanes more energy to release through battering winds and waves.
“This is kind of what we had expected for days in advance, and it’s still heartbreaking to see so many people stranded,” said Kevin Reed, associate professor in atmospheric science at Stony Brook University in New York, told USA Today.
The hurricane center said Ian made landfall near Georgetown, South Carolina, on Friday afternoon at Category 1 but sustained winds of 85 mph. Ian is currently a post-tropical cyclone, tracking into North Carolina and Virginia and is expected to “dissipate early Sunday,” the NHC reported.