Ian recovery efforts begin in Florida and the Carolinas

By Adrienne Vogt and Joe Ruiz, CNN

Updated 4:41 p.m. ET, October 1, 2022
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4:14 p.m. ET, October 1, 2022

Our live coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Ian has ended for the day. See the latest news on the storm here or read the posts below.

4:29 p.m. ET, October 1, 2022

Man who saved cat during Ian, which was captured in viral video, says he's looking for owner

From CNN’s Sara Smart

(Mary Beth Ross)
(Mary Beth Ross)

A stranded, shivering, wet cat was rescued by a local resident as Hurricane Ian battered the area.

Mike Ross, 29, was riding out the hurricane at his parents’ house in Bonita Beach, Florida, when his mother noticed a cat clinging for its life on top of an air-conditioning unit.

“If we didn’t peek there and see the cat at the moment, he would’ve been gone for sure.” Ross told CNN. 

Ross knew he had to do what he could to save the cat.

“I thought to myself ‘This poor cat, if I don’t save him, he’s going to die,’” Ross said.

As Ross ventured outside to rescue the feline he was met with rushing waters.

“What people don’t think about is about the objects that could be in the water,” Ross said, “Things like bricks and wood were hitting my legs.”

The cat was shivering, wet and scared, according to Ross. “Who knows how long he was in water before he found that AC unit,” He said.

Once he safely retrieved the cat, he made his way back inside where he placed the cat in the bathroom to recover, as he was still very terrified.

Ross and his parents have been staying at Ross’ girlfriend’s house, but they were able to go back and visit their home once.

“That air conditioner is now gone, the house that was attached to it is pretty much gone, and even my parents’ house, which was pretty much concrete, just crumbled.” Ross said.

They are still actively looking for the owner of the cat, but vets in the area have not yet reopened for them to check if the cat is microchipped.

They’ve been posting on social media and hope the viral video of Ross saving the cat reaches the owner.

“If we can’t find the owner, we’ll keep it for ourselves and it’ll be a part of my family,” Ross said.

The decided Ian would be a fitting name for the feline, but they realized the cat is a female so they may settle with Iania or Storm.

Half of the proceeds raised from a GoFundMe they created will go to the Naples Humane Society.

4:26 p.m. ET, October 1, 2022

Florida teams up with Elon Musk and SpaceX to assist with post-hurricane connectivity issues

From CNN's Paradise Afshar

(The Florida Channel)
(The Florida Channel)

Florida is working with Elon Musk to help restore communication in the state following Hurricane Ian, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

“We’re also working with Elon Musk and Starlink satellite. So they’re positioning those Starlink satellites to provide good coverage in Southwest Florida and other affected areas,” DeSantis said at a media conference in Fort Myers on Saturday. 

Starlink is a satellite-based internet service.

Emergency responders in Lee County, which bore the brunt of Ian’s impact when it made landfall as a Category 4 storm earlier this week, will be among those receiving Starlink devices. 

“At the same time, we are working with SpaceX, and we are expecting 120 additional large Starlink units to deploy to Southwest Florida,” DeSantis said. “And so, they’ve donated the cost associated with all the coverage, so we want to thank SpaceX and thank Elon Musk for that.”

2:55 p.m. ET, October 1, 2022

Florida law enforcement reporting another Hurricane Ian-related death in Volusia County 

From CNN's Dave Alsup

The Florida Medical Examiners Commission is reporting a fifth death in Volusia County attributed to Hurricane Ian, according to a news release from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  

CNN's tally is currently at least 65 deaths in Florida. Here’s the current breakdown by county:

  • Lee County: 35
  • Charlotte County: 12
  • Collier County: 8
  • Volusia County: 5
  • Sarasota County: 2
  • Lake County: 1
  • Manatee County: 1
  • Polk County: 1
3:12 p.m. ET, October 1, 2022

Damaged South Carolina pier could take 7 months to rebuild

From CNN’s Hannah Sarisohn

Cherry Grove Pier in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Cherry Grove Pier in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (Courtesy Letitia Strickland)

Edgar Stephens, who manages the Cherry Grove Pier in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, stood yards away as a 100-foot section from the pier’s middle came crashing into the ocean. 

He said the Cherry Grove Pier is a staple for community members and tourists alike. 

“We’re a destination, not just a fishing pier,” Stephens said. 

The pier has been rebuilt after storms twice since the 1980s, said Stephens, who added that the family who owns the pier is committed to rebuilding, though it could take six or seven months to obtain the necessary building materials.

2:51 p.m. ET, October 1, 2022

Naples resident who had home flooded out says he's still in shock from losing all his belongings

Jeff Stankard, a resident of Naples, Florida, showed CNN his apartment and what's left of his belongings after it was flooded with more than 3 feet of water in about 30 minutes.

Outside the apartment, his furniture — including his dining room set, vanity, drawers and even his great-great grandmother's rocking chair — was piled up. He told CNN's Brian Todd that he's not sure what he can salvage, if anything, as there was raw sewage backup.

"It's tough. You start asking yourself a lot of questions about, you know, what you want to do next and where do you go and do you rebuild it?" Stankard said.

He said that he and his wife had just started a men's swimwear company, which he thinks now may be in jeopardy

"We were just getting it going. We were just up in Fort Myers, Sarasota, Venice calling on shop owners at surf shops. They're all right there close to the beach. I don't know if they made it or not," he said.

Stankard said he's still in a state of shock from losing everything.

2:21 p.m. ET, October 1, 2022

4 people died in North Carolina from storm-related incidents, according to governor 

From CNN’s Hannah Sarisohn 

Four storm-related deaths have been reported in North Carolina, according to a release from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office. 

Three people died in separate vehicle-related incidents on Friday, according to the release. 

A 25-year-old man died after hydroplaning and crashing into another vehicle, a 24-year-old woman died when her vehicle went off a wet road and struck a tree, and a 22-year-old man drowned when his truck ran off the road and submerged in a flooded swamp, according to the release. 

The deaths occurred in Johnston, Clayton, and Martin counties, respectively, according to the release. 

On Saturday, a 65-year-old man died from carbon monoxide poisoning after running a generator in a closed garage, the release said. The man’s wife is hospitalized. 

Ian transitioned from a tropical system to a mid-latitude storm Friday afternoon as it moved farther inland over the Carolinas. Tropical storm-force winds extended well out from the center and impacted much of the eastern Carolinas on Friday.

2:28 p.m. ET, October 1, 2022

No deaths or major damage reported a day after Ian made landfall in South Carolina, governor says

From CNN’s Hannah Sarisohn 

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (WACH)

No storm-related deaths have been reported in South Carolina after the state’s first hurricane to make landfall in five years hit Friday, Gov. Henry McMaster said during a press conference Saturday afternoon. 

“There is some damage, there’s some heartbreak, there’s work to be done,” McMaster said. “But all in all, it’s a good story.” 

McMaster said most of the state’s electricity has been restored. 

Eight counties are reporting residential damage and five counties are reporting some level of business damage, South Carolina Director of State Emergency Management Division Kim Stenson said. 

Damage assessments will determine if residents qualify for federal assistance, Stenson said. 

Stenson said the emergency operation center will transition back to regular operations today.

2:09 p.m. ET, October 1, 2022

Orlando now at around 7,000 customers without power, down from 95,000

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

A man walks through a flooded street in the Orlovista neighborhood following Hurricane Ian on October 1, in Orlando, Florida.
A man walks through a flooded street in the Orlovista neighborhood following Hurricane Ian on October 1, in Orlando, Florida. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images)

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said thousands of residents are still being impacted by flooding, water intrusions into their homes and lack of power. But Dyer said Orlando is now down from 95,000 customers without power to around 7,000 customers still in the dark.

“OUC [Orlando Utilities Commission] is working very hard to reduce that number as well,” he said, speaking at the Federal Emergency Management Agency press conference in Orange County, Florida, on Saturday afternoon.

Dyer thanked President Joe Biden and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell for including Orlando in their emergency declaration, as well as local authorities and rescue crews.

“I want to especially thank the men and women of the Orlando Police Department, Orlando Fire Department, public works, parks, rec, forestry, all that have been out on the first line helping and responding to citizens, many of whom have had extended periods of time and worked extremely hard to try to restore our community to where we need to be,” the mayor said.