The latest on Hurricane Ian:

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The mayor of Charleston, S.C. is asking his city to close Friday due to the approaching storm Jan.

“Tomorrow this city will have water,” Mayor John Tecklenburg said.

There were no evacuation orders in South Carolina as Ian was forecast to make a second landfall on the state’s coast on Friday as a minimal hurricane.

Forecasters warned that several feet of ocean water could spill into low-lying areas along the coast, such as Charleston.

The flooding could match or even slightly exceed recent hurricanes.

“Take this storm seriously,” Tecklenburg said. “Stay home tomorrow and stay out of harm’s way.”

Charleston has purchased new flood control equipment, including two high water vehicles that will patrol the city all day Friday.



— Many are trapped in Florida as Ian heads toward South Carolina

— Florida hospitals are evacuating hundreds of patients

— The search for migrants continues after a boat sank off the Florida Keys

– Cuba starts to turn on the light

— Read more AP coverage here:



St. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Police in historic St. Augustine, Fla., say water is rising in many areas of the city and are advising residents to stay inside until Hurricane Ian passes.

Earlier on Thursday, the center of the storm had moved away from the coast, but rain and wind continued to fall in the Old City. High tide was at 11:30 a.m., about the height of the storm.

Police in the tourist town known for its Spanish-style architecture and stone fortress issued their warnings in a Facebook post that included images of flooded roads.

Ian is once again nearing hurricane strength over the Atlantic Ocean. Coastal South Carolina is currently under a hurricane warning.

By midday Thursday, maximum sustained winds had risen to nearly 70 mph (110 kph), barely above hurricane strength, with stronger gusts.


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Storm Ian is once again nearing hurricane strength over the Atlantic Ocean after passing Cape Canaveral, where NASA moved its moon rocket back to the Kennedy Space Center hangar as a precaution.

A NASA spokesman said Thursday that teams are beginning to assess the damage. The space center remained closed and off-limits to nearly all of its 12,000 employees.

A storm surge of 2 feet (0.6 meters) was forecast for the area, with maximum sustained winds rising to nearly 70 mph (110 kph), with strong gusts in the afternoon.

In addition to possibly delaying a test flight in lunar orbit in November, the weather delayed SpaceX’s next launch of astronauts to the International Space Station until at least Oct. 5, two days later than planned.

Iona’s maximum sustained winds increased to nearly 70 mph (110 kph), with strong gusts midday Thursday.


ORLANDO, FL. Some people who say they are stuck or unable to get information after Hurricane Yang are turning to social media.

One Twitter user tagged the accounts of Orange County Rescue in central Florida with the message: “Can you come get us? We called the emergency line and were told to wait for someone to come. A family of 3, a dog and a pregnant mother with twins.”

On the Fort Myers Police Department’s Facebook page, people posted addresses and asked about the severity of the flooding. Some people who live out of state but own property in the area have asked if they can travel to have their homes inspected.

“Anyone know the status of the Wyldewood Lakes Court grounds?? Trying to find out how my aunt is doing. We lost touch,” someone wrote.

Gov. Fred DeSantis’ office said search and rescue operations were underway as of 1 a.m. Thursday. The Coast Guard made dozens of rescues overnight and has more than 800 members of the city’s search and rescue team, the office said.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida’s main nursing home organization said Thursday that the facility weathered Hurricane Ian as well as it could, according to initial reports.

Kristen Knapp, spokeswoman for the Florida Health Care Association, said 43 nursing homes had relocated about 3,400 residents as of Thursday morning, mostly in hard-hit Southwest Florida.

About 20 homes reported power outages, but Knapp said generators are powering those buildings. Water was also turned off at some facilities.

Natural disasters can be particularly damaging to the elderly and people with disabilities, and past hurricanes have caused devastating episodes.


NAPLES, Fla. – Mud, broken trees and downed utility poles littered the Southwest Florida landscape Thursday after Hurricane Ian took a direct hit.

Several feet of seawater swept through the Le Jarden luxury condominium tower on the Gulf of Naples, destroying several cars and flooding the lobby, before receding overnight and leaving behind a thick, foul-smelling mess of sand and seawater.

No one in the building was hurt, said resident Gregory Young, a retired real estate broker, but his Land Rover was destroyed.

“It’s okay, it’s just a car,” he said.

The Fort Myers RV Resort remains underwater, with many of the motorhomes and RVs on the property heavily damaged and in some cases gone, with nothing left but the concrete slabs they once stood on.

Debris from the park collected along US 41, including a golf cart seat and twisted pieces of screen. Utility poles were knocked down, wires stretched to the road and along the front of the property.


COLUMBIA, S.C. — A hurricane watch was issued for the entire South Carolina coast on Thursday as the center of Storm Ian moved off the coast of Florida and back out to sea.

The latest forecast from the National Weather Service put winds at 70 mph for Ian, just shy of hurricane force. Warm Atlantic waters are expected to help it gain strength as it curves back toward the US coast.

In Charleston, South Carolina, officials opened garages so residents could park their cars ahead of the inevitable flooding.

Forecasters predicted Friday afternoon’s seventh-highest water level in more than 120 years of records, 8.7 feet (2.7 meters) above average low tide in the downtown harbor.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster joined his counterparts in Georgia and North Carolina in declaring a state of emergency so officials could access resources and receive federal emergency money.

Schools were planning to switch to online learning so the buses wouldn’t run.


PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — The southwest coast of Florida began assessing damage from Hurricane Ian Thursday as coastal flooding receded and the status of people on cut-off barrier islands remained unclear.

In Charlotte County, Emergency Management Director Patrick Fuller expressed cautious optimism that worst-case scenarios might not materialize. According to him, the dead or injured have not been confirmed, as well as reports of missing persons.

On the barrier islands, which took the brunt of the wind and storm surge, the piers showed that “the integrity of the houses is much better than we expected,” Fuller said.

Still, rescuers were trying to access those islands and other parts of the county “to determine the full status of all of our residents,” Fuller said.

Utilities in the county were virtually wiped out, forcing the sheriff’s office to use cellphones to answer emergency calls and limiting dispatchers’ capabilities.

In nearby Collier County, the sheriff’s office posted a Facebook message saying much of the surge had receded, but warned people to stay off the roads.

Officials around Tampa Bay, who had previously feared a direct hit, lifted evacuation orders and closed storm shelters. Damage was limited mainly to downed trees and power lines.

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