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Hurricane Ian: Death toll rising as storm strengthens

As flooding traps people in their homes, the storm is now taking aim at South Carolina.

At least 10 people have died in Florida and the death toll is expected to rise, as Hurricane Ian continues to strengthen, officials have said.

Joe Biden has warned the category one storm could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history, with a “substantial loss of life”.

Ian is now moving inland and “taking aim” at North and South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center says.

A blackout is affecting some 2.2 million Florida homes and businesses.

The flood waters have been so severe they have trapped some people in their homes, officials said, with the National Guard going door to door in the city of Orlando to rescue those stranded.

The 10 deaths that have have been confirmed were all in the south-west Charlotte County, which saw intense winds.

Joseph Tiseo, a local commissioner, told the BBC the area had a “tremendous wind event that lasted for 12 hours straight… it was brutal”.

He said said it was not yet clear how many of the deaths were a direct result of the hurricane.

Fort Myers devastation: ‘Worst storm surge I’ve seen’In pictures: Floridians take in Hurricane Ian’s impact

A little further south, Lee County took the brunt of the storm surge.

The state’s Governor Ron DeSantis told a news conference on Thursday evening that the damage in Fort Myers, a harbourside city there, was “almost indescribable”.

“To see a house just sitting in the middle of Estero Bay, literally must have gotten picked up, flown because of the massive wind speed and the storm surge and deposited in a body of water,” he said.

“I would say the most significant damage that I saw was on Ford Myers Beach, some of the homes were wiped out, some of its was just concrete slabs”

One woman who lost her home said the experience is “numbing” and has her feeling “overwhelmed”.

“It’s not my first hurricane but it’s my first total loss,” Karen, who lives on San Carlos Island in Fort Myers told Reuters.

Some residents had to swim out of their homes.

“You have to either swim or drown,” an Orlando woman told CBS News, the BBC’s partner in the US.

A woman in Fort Myers, who swam to safety when her ground floor apartment began to flood, said when she returned home she “had to wait about five minutes for all the floodwaters to come out”.

And at the Sun Seekers mobile home park in North Fort Myers, residents recounted their terror as they tried to protect themselves with blankets.

“It was terrifying, because you’re helpless”, one of the residents, Kim said. “We had no [phone] service to call anyone, but no one would have come anyway.”


Image source, Getty Images

At the governor’s briefing, Kevin Guthrie, director at the Florida Division of Emergency Management warned about “indirect deaths” – the fatalities that can happen after a storm system has passed.

He warned homeowners to watch out for power lines mixed in trees and said no one should be tinkering with generator sand chainsaws, or climbing ladders without proper training.

“People need to be extremely careful,” Mr Guthrie said.

“If you do not know how to use a chainsaw. If you do not know how to climb a ladder. If you do not know the difference between a cable line and a power line, you should not be doing that.”

Some parts of Naples, a seaside city south of Fort Myers, have been rendered a dark and deserted ghost town, and the city’s iconic pier has been smashed in half.

The BBC’s Bernd Debusmann, who is reporting from Naples, says a concession stand – which just days ago marked the halfway point on the pier – now stands precariously over the water, with splintered pieces of wood hanging off.

About a block from the beachfront, some roads remain impassable and underwater, while others have been left covered in mud as the slowly water recedes.


Hurricane Ian hit Cuba first, causing a total blackout in the country on Tuesday.

Meanwhile in Puerto Rico, the massive clean-up effort continues, after the hurricane hit the Caribbean island last week.

There was also a power blackout there, and ten days on, more than 269,000 households are still without electricity, according to

Puerto Rico was already reeling from Hurricane Fiona, a category one storm that hit just days earlier, on September 18.

As Hurricane Ian rolls on and attention moves to Florida, many on the island are worried about being forgotten.

“To the people of Puerto Rico, we have not gone away,” President Biden said on Thursday, speaking at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) in Washington DC.

“I am committed to you and the recovery of the island, we will stand by you no matter how long it takes to get it done.”



As flooding traps people in their homes, the storm is now taking aim at South Carolina. 


Two people were killed by lightning in Assam, Orange Alert issued

Two people were killed by lightning at two different places in Assam on Wednesday as thunderstorms hit different parts of the state.

An Orange Alert has been issued in six north eastern states.


Two people were killed by lightning at two different places in Assam on Wednesday as thunderstorms hit different parts of the state.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an orange alert for Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura from yesterday till March 17 with a forecast of rain and thunderstorm.

One person was killed in Darrang district, while another died in Kamrup (Metro), an Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) report said.

In the first incident, a 60-year-old man identified as Majuruddin was killed after being struck by lightning in Darrang’s Kharpori village.

The ASDMA said that a minor girl, Mamta Begum, 13, died due to a lightning strike in the Satgaon area in Guwahati.

According to the Regional Metrological Centre in Guwahati, one or two spells of light to moderate thunderstorms with hail is likely to occur in Guwahati over the next two days.


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Tamil Nadu witnesses heavy rain, 2 killed in Chennai

It was record rains for Chennai and its suburbs on Tuesday that began overnight, leading to inundation in a string of localities in city and on the outskirts, while two persons were killed in rain…

 Tamil Nadu Rains: The Northeast monsoon rains commenced in Tamil Nadu on 29 October. (Representational)


It was record rains for Chennai and its suburbs on Tuesday that began overnight, leading to inundation in a string of localities in city and on the outskirts, while two persons were killed in rain related incidents.

For the first time in three decades, Nungambakkam, a core city area recorded 8 CM in a single day and suburban Red Hills 13 CM followed by 12 CM in Perambur, also in the city.

There was widespread rainfall in Tamil Nadu and showers ranged between 1 CM to 9 CM, which includes Cauvery delta areas and coastal regions like Kanyakumari. The Northeast monsoon rains commenced in Tamil Nadu on 29 October.

In view of the rains, two subways were closed here and the city witnessed traffic congestion and slow movement of vehicles.

Chief Minister M K Stalin chaired a virtual meeting of top officials on monsoon preparedness and instructed officials to work in cohesion and directed them to take swift action on complaints.

As regards Chennai city, 8 CM of heavy rainfall was recorded on November 1 at Nungambakkam and it is the first highest in the past 30 years and the third such record in the last 72 years, Deputy Director General of Meteorology, Regional Meteorological Centre, S Balachandran told reporters. In 1990, the city witnessed 13 CM rainfall and it was 11 CM in 1964, both on November 1.

Several stretches near the arterial Anna Salai here, the congested parts of busy north Chennai, sleepy neighbourhoods tucked away in the southern and northern regions of the city and suburbs witnessed inundation. Similar was the scenario in several other parts of the State.

While a man was electrocuted here last night, a woman died after portions of a residential building collapsed in the city’s northern area of Pulianthope. A cow died of electrocuted in the suburb. Water entered houses in low-lying areas in some parts of north Chennai.

In at least 8 districts including Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Chengelpet, a holiday was declared for schools.

A weather bulletin said a cyclonic circulation lay over north Sri Lanka and its neighbourhood at lower levels and a “trough runs from this system to southeast Arabian sea.” Northeasterly winds continue to persist along and off North Tamil Nadu and adjoining coastal areas.

Municipal Administration Minister K N Nehru said that 75 per cent of storm water drain work has been completed in Chennai Corporation areas. Several areas that used to witness inundation in the past like the midtown GN Chetty Road have not seen waterlogging in view of drain improvement work, Mr Nehru said.

Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments P K Sekar Babu also listed localities that had witnessed flooding during monsoon in previous years (during the AIADMK regime). He underlined that in view of implementation of upgradation and improvement of storm water drain work there was no water stagnation in flooding-prone localities.

Greater Chennai Corporation authorities inspected several areas and said that there was no rain water stagnation in localities like KK Nagar in view of preparatory measures and storm water drain work. Flood monitoring cameras have been installed by authorities in localities vulnerable to flooding.

In view of the ongoing storm water drain improvement work and Chennai Metrorail phase-2 project, barricades have been put up in many stretches of roads. While such infra-initiatives have already made traffic congestion the order of the day, the rains and waterlogging are the fresh woes people face during the monsoon.

Mr Balachandran said that from October 1 to November 1, Chennai District received 20 CM rainfall while the average for this period was 28 CM and it is 29 per cent less than normal. However, when the period between 1 to 31 October is considered, the city received 14 CM showers while the normal was 27 CM which was 48 per cent less than normal. The current spell of rain, in a single day, has narrowed that gap by 18 per cent.

For the next 3 days, most areas in Tamil Nadu Puducherry-Karaikal are expected to receive moderate rainfall, he said. During the next 24-hours, some places in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Chengelpet, and other northern districts including Vellore could witness heavy to very heavy downpour.

A couple of areas in districts falling under Cauvery delta zone, Ramanathapuram and Sivaganga may also witness heavy rainfall. Fishermen are advised to not venture into sea.


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Philippines storm Nalgae kills many in floods or mudslides

Tropical storm Nalgae wreaks havoc in the southern Philippines and will soon lash Manila.

A severe tropical storm has claimed more than 70 lives in the Philippines. It unleashed floods and landslides across southern provinces, according to officials. The city of Cotabato is experiencing heavy flooding. In the north, Nalgae is expected to bring torrential rain. The storm winds are blowing at speeds of up to 95km/h (59mph). The Coast Guard has suspended ferry service in large parts of the archipelago where many people travel by boat daily. Many people are being evacuated to shelters by the Coast Guard. Heavy rains began on Thursday.


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US points finger at Russia over gas pipeline sabotage

The US claims that Russia is responsible for the leaks in the Nordstream pipelines this week. Jennifer Granholm, US Energy Secretary, said that an investigation was underway into the matter. “It’s highly unlikely that these incidents were coincidences,” she stated, without citing any evidence. According to Mike Fulwood, the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, “It’s most likely some kind of sabotage.” Although accidental damage is possible in rare cases, it is unlikely that there would be any pipeline rupture or leakage. An anchor being dropped and dragged across the pipeline is the most likely cause of accidental damages,” he said. However, it doesn’t sound like an accident, Professor Russell Johns, Penn State University energy engineering expert, stated that the high water pressure at sea makes it difficult to detonate. He said that it is unlikely that Russia detonated its own pipeline. They could have cut off gas to the pipeline’s entrance if they wanted to halt supplies. Russia continues to receive money for fossil fuels, which is funding its invasion of Ukraine. “Unreliable energy partner” The gas escaping from the pipeline near Bornholm, Denmark, has been there since September 1, when Moscow shut it off. It claimed that the pipe was a vital conduit for Europe’s energy supply. Ms Granholm suggested that the energy relationship between Russia, Europe and Asia was being relegated to history. She said that Russia had proven itself to be an unstable energy partner. “No country would want to risk putting a substantial amount of its energy needs to Russia’s supply. This will help the EU to become energy independent by using clean energy. The war in Ukraine has had a significant impact on global energy prices. They have been the largest contributor to the soaring inflation in the UK and Eurozone, which has threatening global economic growth. Ms Granholm spoke from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Ministerial conference in Vienna. “Every country is examining the risks of putting too much eggs in one basket, or putting too much eggs in the basket petro-dictators and volatility of fossil fuels that result from that. Everyone is trying to find ways to be energy independent. Image source: ReutersPetrol price reductionsThis year’s sharp rises in oil and gas prices have benefited the energy giants that get them to consumers. The oil price rises this year have benefited the energy giants who get them to consumers. We don’t want this huge amount of profit to trigger consequences, either Congressionally, or elsewhere. That will not be in their best interest. We want them to be responsible and not buy back shares, but increase production. This would eventually reduce prices due to increased supply. We are looking into legislative tools and other means of putting pressure on them. “Image source: Reuters. The US could also help increase oil supply to global markets by lifting sanctions imposed against Venezuela by President Trump. The South American country has the largest oil reserves in the world, but has been exporting very little oil due to the restrictions. They were imposed due to alleged corruption and political fallout from the 2019 contested election. A rise in global oil supplies would likely lead to a drop in global oil prices. Ms Granholm did not dismiss the idea of lifting the sanctions. She replied, “I’m certainly not going to get ahead the White House on this.” You can watch Jennifer Granholm’s interview on Talking Business with Aaron Heslehurst in its entirety on Talking Business.


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Hurricane Ian: Cuba begins restoring power after storm

The island’s electrical system experienced a complete collapse in the wake of the deadly storm.

​ Power has been restored in parts of Cuba after Hurricane Ian pummelled the western end of the island and caused a total blackout.

Officials earlier said the electrical system had collapsed after one of the country’s main power plants could not be brought back online.

Two people were reported dead and buildings were damaged nationwide.

More than 20 Cuban migrants are believed to be missing at sea.

As Ian began to bear down on Florida with winds of up to 250km/h (155mph), US Border Patrol and the US Coast Guard said that a search and rescue operation had been launched to look for 23 migrants whose boat is believed to have sunk at sea during the storm.

Another four migrants made it to shore at Florida’s Stock Island. The previous day, seven migrants were apprehended after reaching the US coast at Pompano Beach, prompting Walter Slosar, the chief patrol officer of the Border Patrol’s Miami sector, to warn Cubans to not attempt the treacherous crossing during the hurricane.

On Cuban state television on Tuesday, the head of the electrical energy authority announced that an island-wide blackout had occurred as a result of the national electrical system’s breakdown, leaving 11 million people in the dark.

A journalist with a state-run news agency reported that “the Antonio Guiteras thermo-electric power plant… could not be synchronised”. Based in Matanzas, 100km east of the capital Havana, Antonio Guiteras is the most important energy plant in Cuba.

The blackout also meant that water was unavailable in many areas which rely on pumps, leaving residents unable to bathe or boil water to drink. Food in some areas was reportedly spoiling without functioning refrigerators and freezers.

Live updates as Hurricane Ian nears FloridaHow to prepare for a hurricane

Working overnight, authorities began gradually restoring service in eastern regions by Wednesday morning although they warned the process would be more “complicated” further west.

Officials later said power had been restored to three regions, but work was ongoing to restore electricity in others.


Image source, Getty Images

The storm devastated Pinar Del Rio province, home to much of the tobacco used in Cuban cigars.

The owner of the famous Finca Robaina cigar producer posted photos on social media of the havoc wreaked by the hurricane in the tobacco farms.

“It was apocalyptic, a real disaster,” wrote Hirochi Robaina.

Forecasters had warned that some regions of Cuba could see up to 30cm (12in) of rain under Hurricane Ian.

Mayelin Suarez, a resident of Pinar del Rio, said Monday night, when the storm hit, was “the darkest of her life”.

“We almost lost the roof off our house,” she told Reuters. “My daughter, my husband and I tied it down with a rope to keep it from flying away.”

Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel visited the province and vowed that it would rise “above adversity”, the Cuban presidency tweeted.


A 43-year-old woman in the province was killed after the walls of her home collapsed. A farmer in the town of San Juan y Martínez was electrocuted while trying to shut off a wind turbine used for irrigation, the New York Times reported.

Cuban state television channel Canal Caribe said that a total of five buildings had collapsed and 68 were damaged. The report did not specify how many of those structures were residential homes. The storm also felled about 1,000 trees.

The hurricane has been gathering force in the south-eastern Gulf of Mexico after making landfall in Cuba as a Category 3, says the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

On Tuesday night the storm passed over the Florida Keys, a string of islands off the southern tip of the state.

It was projected to make landfall on Florida’s west coast late on Wednesday.

The Florida coastal zone most at risk is home to miles of beach, resort hotels and mobile home parks. Some 2.5 million people are under evacuation orders.


Image source, Getty Images

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis warned in a news conference on Tuesday that the storm is “the real deal”.

He declared a state of emergency for all of Florida over the weekend and has activated 5,000 National Guard troops.

Earlier forecasts suggested the Tampa area could see its first direct hit from a hurricane in more than a century, but forecasters now predict Ian will make landfall further south on the coast.

Meteorologists have said flash flooding is possible in the Florida peninsula and Florida Keys as the hurricane approaches.

The neighbouring state of Georgia has also declared a state of emergency and placed 500 National Guard troops on standby.


The White House has made its own emergency declaration, which will help federal and state officials co-ordinate disaster relief and assistance.

President Joe Biden, a Democrat, spoke with Gov DeSantis, a Republican, on Tuesday evening, and the two committed to “continued close co-ordination”, the White House said.

The Caribbean is still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Fiona, which tore through the region last week.

Moving northward to parts of the Atlantic Canada coastline and eastern Quebec, Fiona claimed two lives, washed homes into the sea and downed power lines over the weekend.



The island’s electrical system experienced a complete collapse in the wake of the deadly storm. 

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