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    U.S. officials say they are vowing to unleash a massive amount of federal aid in response to Hurricane Ian as the death toll rises amid recovery efforts. Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Deanne Criswell said Sunday that the government is ready to provide help days after Ian came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane and carved a deadly path of destruction through Florida and into the Carolinas. The monster storm killed at least 54 people, including 47 in Florida, and hundreds of thousands of people and businesses remain without power. Officials warn that flooding could still worsen in parts of Florida because all the rain that fell has nowhere to go, with waterways already overflowing.

      Hurricane Ian almost derailed plans for one couple to wed in South Carolina on Saturday. Two families traveled to the island from Texas and North Carolina and were staying in neighboring Pawleys Island homes when Ian barreled toward the coast. Everyone gathered for a rehearsal dinner on Friday off the island but then couldn't come back to retrieve bridesmaids dresses and other gear after the storm shut off access to the beach town. A Good Samaritan on Saturday was able to bring the dresses, tuxedos and some decor to the waiting families.

        Dozens of Florida residents left their flooded and splintered homes by boat and by air as rescuers continued to search for survivors in the wake of Hurricane Ian. In South Carolina and North Carolina, authorities were surveying the damage on Saturday from Ian's blow. The death toll from the storm grew to nearly three dozen, with deaths reported in Cuba, Florida and North Carolina. The storm has since weakened as it rolled into the mid-Atlantic, but not before it washed out bridges and piers. It also hurdled massive boats into buildings onshore and sheared roofs off of homes, leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

          Hurricane Ian ravaged coastal towns in southwest Florida. But the impact has not been confined to the beaches and tourist towns. The rains from the storm's deluge are flowing into inland towns not usually part of the hurricane warnings. In the Sarasota suburb of North Port, water levels have gone up significantly, turning roads into canals, reaching mailboxes, flooding SUVs and trucks, blocking the main access to the interstate and leaving families trapped. Now, as days go by, they are starting to run out of food and water. It’s the rising rivers that cause the flooding, and authorities say that flooding now poses a danger to those nearby.

          Experts say that Hurricane Ian is shining a spotlight once again on the vulnerability of the nation’s barrier islands and the increasing cost of people living on them. Florida's Sanibel Island was hard hit by the storm. Homes were destroyed. Two people have been confirmed dead. And Sanibel's lone bridge to the mainland collapsed. Barrier island communities like Sanibel anchor tourist economies that provide crucial tax dollars. But the cost of rebuilding them is often high because they’re home to many high-value properties. Jesse Keenan is a real estate professor at Tulane University. He questions whether such communities can keep rebuilding as hurricanes become more and more destructive from climate change.

          A revived Hurricane Ian has pounded coastal South Carolina after causing catastrophic damage in Florida. The storm washed away parts of piers and flooded streets in parts of South Carolina. The U.S. death toll from Hurricane Ian rose to at least 27 as Florida authorities confirmed several drowning deaths and other fatalities. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Friday that the deaths included a 22-year-old woman ejected in an ATV rollover because of a road washout. Many other deaths were drownings, including that of a 68-year-old woman swept into the ocean by a wave. Authorities expect the death toll to rise further.

          South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has temporarily suspended campaign activities as he leads the state’s response to Hurricane Ian. McMaster’s campaign told The Associated Press that the Republican incumbent would cancel a fundraiser scheduled for Friday night in Clemson, as well as an appearance for tailgating before the Clemson Tigers’ football game on Saturday. McMaster has been talking with officials across the state and holding daily briefings this week as the state made preparations for the storm, which ravaged Florida and barreled onward to South Carolina’s coast. Politics and campaigns often collide in South Carolina, where the final months before the November general elections can turn into busy storm seasons.


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          Rescuers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, other states and counties were racing against the clock as the sun was about to set Thursday in North Port, to help families stranded in their own homes surrounded by streets that had turned into canals. The city was one of many in Florida where rescues were underway as Hurricane Ian continued churning northward toward Georgia and the Carolinas. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a press conference Thursday evening there had been 700 confirmed rescues across the state in the wake of the storm. “Some of the damage was almost indescribable,” he said.

          Rescue crews are wading through water and using boats to rescue Florida residents stranded in the wake of Hurricane Ian. The Orange County fire department posted photos Thursday of crews in a flooded neighborhood in the Orlando area. Gov. Ron DeSantis said the U.S. Coast Guard began rescue operations hours before daybreak. At least one person in Florida was confirmed dead on the state's eastern coast. Flooding rains continued falling even after Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm. It's center finished crossing the Florida peninsula Thursday and emerged in the Atlantic Ocean. Forecasters predicted it would return to hurricane strength and turn north toward South Carolina.

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