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Charlotte EOC official says Ian was not as catastrophic as feared for the county

Braun, Michael

Nearly 100% of the county's residents were without power.

Charlotte county emergency officials says so far there are no reported deaths due to Hurricane Ian. Public works crews have been clearing roads since dawn while emergency crews work to respond to emergency calls from residents that came in yesterday and overnight when weather conditions were to dangerous to respond.

It’s a near 100% power outage for Charlotte County’s 200,000 plus residents, that according to Patrick Fuller the director of emergency management for the county. While recovery from the widespread damage to homes and businesses won’t be quick or easy, Fuller says initial assessments are encouraging. It appears Hurricane Ian wasn’t as catastrophic as feared when it went thru Charlotte county. More than two-thirds of the county was ordered to evacuate. Approximately, 60,000 live in the red zone most at risk for severe flooding. While Fuller says it’s not clear yet what that storm surge was in the lowest parts of Charlotte county but the integrity of homes in areas most at risk like Englewood beach are better than expected. Some homes in that community are 6-8 feet high in elevation at best. Emergency officials had been warned storm surge could have been 12-16 feet high or more.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that the worst case scenario that was forecast did not come true,” said Fuller.

Emergency responders will also be working on more than 60 wellness checks—those are calls from people outside of the area that want to confirm their loved ones are okay because they haven’t been able to make contact with them. Emergency management officials will also be working with state and federal officials to coordinate aid to residents.

Punta Gorda’s airport is also open for air traffic but not commercial flights. There is some damage to hangars and some cars in the parking lot —and some small planes were flipped over.

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Sandra Viktorova