At the least 100 lifeless from Hurricane Ian as Florida’s prime emergency official defends Lee County on delayed evacuations

Hurricane Ian’s dying toll reached 100 on Monday as state authorities pushed again on rising criticism of Lee County officers who have been allegedly sluggish to evacuate low-lying communities.

The most recent dying depend included 54 who perished in Lee County, the place officers did not order evacuations till Tuesday. Ian made landfall Wednesday, devastating Fort Myers and Sanibel Island.

“I consider Lee County and their administration …. made one of the best choice they felt was proper for his or her group at the moment,” stated Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Administration. “And I’ll by no means second-guess an area emergency supervisor on their choice.”

Whereas different close by jurisdictions took such motion one or two days sooner than Lee County, he refused to critique the selections.

“Emergency administration administrators wouldn’t have a crystal ball,” Guthrie informed reporters. “They made one of the best choice on the data they’d on the time.”

A consultant of the Lee County Supervisor’s Workplace couldn’t be instantly reached for remark Monday.

Lugo Elieser and his spouse, Mara, who saved a ship docked close by, have a look at the destroyed bridge resulting in Pine Island in Matlacha, Fla., on Sunday. The one bridge to the island is closely broken, so it could solely be reached by boat or air. Gerald Herbert / AP

Large swaths of southwest and central Florida have been nonetheless struggling to select up the items and activate lights days after Ian blew by way of their communities final week.

Florida residents, left with out energy within the wake of Ian, might be at midnight for the remainder of the week — in the event that they dodged main storm injury.

There have been 621,000 properties and companies with out energy Monday, officers stated. In these homes and industrial buildings the place “infrastructure continues to be standing,” energy needs to be again by Sunday, officers stated.

Authorities additionally requested Floridians to remain dwelling and out of the best way of rescue and cleanup crews Monday.

“In case you don’t have to be on the roadways, don’t be on the roadways,” stated Col. Gene Spaulding, the director of the Florida Freeway Patrol.

He additionally warned motorists {that a} multitude of roads and bridges are nonetheless not protected for passage.

“We nonetheless have a number of roadways which can be underneath water. Needless to say simply because the water recedes, do not essentially imply the roadway is protected to journey on,” Spaulding stated.

“There’s excessive probability of washouts underneath the asphalt, underneath the roadways. So please do not attempt to drive round barricades.”

Image: Florida's Southern Gulf Coast Continues Clean Up Efforts In Wake Of Hurricane Ian
Folks take away storm-damaged objects from a house Sunday in Bonita Springs, Fla.Sean Rayford / Getty Photographs

Remnants of the one-time Class 4 storm continued to douse the mid-Atlantic on Monday with rain. About 16 million have been underneath flood alerts in coastal North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.

Excessive winds and rain will proceed in these communities Monday and Tuesday with as much as 3 inches in coastal areas and as much as an inch in additional inland areas.

Excessive winds have been anticipated to blow by way of Norfolk, Virginia (45 mph), Atlantic Metropolis, New Jersey (34 mph), Washington, D.C., (36 mph), New York (29 mph) and Boston (29 mph) on Monday.

Alex Lo contributed.

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