Joe Biden declares South Carolina state of emergency as Hurricane Ian causes catastrophic damage in Florida

A Florida National Guardsman helps a resident of the Good Samaritan Society facility after floodwaters trapped some residents following the passing of Hurricane Ian, causing widespread damage and flooding, in Kissimmee, Florida Photo: Reuters/Joe Skipper

President Joe Biden has declared a state of emergency for South Carolina as devastating Hurricane Ian regains strength after battering Florida.

A revived Hurricane Ian set its sights on South Carolina’s coast Friday and the historic city of Charleston, with forecasters predicting a storm surge and floods after the megastorm caused catastrophic damage in Florida and left people trapped in their homes.

With all of South Carolina’s coast under a hurricane warning, a steady stream of vehicles left Charleston on Thursday, many likely heeding officials’ warnings to seek higher ground. Storefronts were sandbagged to ward off high water levels in an area prone to inundation.

Along the Battery area at the southern tip of the 350-year-old city’s peninsula, locals and tourists alike took selfies against the choppy backdrop of whitecaps in Charleston Harbor as palm trees bent in gusty wind.

With winds holding at 140km/h, the National Hurricane Center’s update at 2am Friday placed Ian about 285km southeast of Charleston and forecast a “life-threatening storm surge” and hurricane conditions along the Carolina coastal area later Friday.

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