The U.S. death toll from Hurricane Ian is expected to rise as Florida authorities on Friday afternoon confirmed several drowning deaths and other fatalities. Nearly two dozen deaths had been reported across the state, three of which have been confirmed in Central Florida, officials said.
A 72-year-old man in Deltona, Florida drowned in a canal. The Volusia County Sheriff's Office (VSCO) said it believes the man was attempting to drain his pool with a hose into a canal when he slipped and fell down the hill and into the water.
A 67-year-old man in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, died Thursday while awaiting to be rescued with his wife. VCSO said the man fell inside his home and was unable to get up before floodwaters rose above him. Officials said the man's wife and their two dogs were later rescued and taken to a shelter.
A woman, whose age was not immediately known, was visiting Florida with her family from Kentucky and was killed when she was hit by a storm surge wave and got pulled away. She was initially rescued by a family member but was pulled out a second time. She was rescued again by a family member and was on the shore when EMS arrived, but they were unable to save her.
CONTINUING COVERAGE: HURRICANE IAN
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Hurricane Ian made landfall on the southwestern coast of Florida, near Cayo Costa, as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday. At that time, maximum sustained winds were reported at 150 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center (for comparison, a Category 5 hurricane has sustained winds of at least 157 mph).
In Central Florida, several areas were hit with extensive flooding, and police agencies and sheriff's departments across the region rescued – and still are rescuing – people from flooded streets, neighborhoods, apartment complexes, and assisted-living facilities.