October 3, 2022 Ian recovery efforts continue as death toll rises

By Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 9:58 PM ET, Mon October 3, 2022
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9:25 p.m. ET, October 3, 2022

"When you are walking around the ruins, it’s an apocalyptic scene," Fort Myers Beach council member says

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch

(Courtesy Bill Veach)
(Courtesy Bill Veach)

A council member for Fort Myers Beach in Florida said Monday that pieces of his destroyed home were found two blocks away after Hurricane Ian crashed ashore as a Category 4 story last week.

Bill Veach said his family lived in a 90-year-old cottage to which they had built an addition. The old home is in complete ruins with only the addition left standing. 

Only four homes on Veach’s street are salvageable, he told CNN.

  “I know people are anxious to get back on the island but the roads are still impassable,” he said.

"When you are walking around the ruins, it’s an apocalyptic scene,” Veach said. 

(Courtesy Bill Veach)
(Courtesy Bill Veach)

(Courtesy Bill Veach)
(Courtesy Bill Veach)

“You see a friend that you weren’t sure was alive or dead and that brings you joy. A joy that is so much more than the loss of property,” he added. 

The Lee County Sheriff said in a statement  Monday that search and rescue operations are continuing and that teams will be entering homes if there is a “reasonable belief” of a victim.

Some background: Fort Myers Beach is located on Estero Island in southwest Florida and has a population of around 5,600 people, according to the US Census. Earlier Monday, a county official said power may not be restored to the community for at least a month after Hurricane Ian had destroyed the electrical infrastructure.

9:20 p.m. ET, October 3, 2022

Jayron Purvis, 22, died as Ian passed through North Carolina

 From CNN’s David Williams and Amanda Jackson

Jayron Purvis, 22, died Friday as the remnants of Hurricane Ian passed through Robersonville, North Carolina.

“He was driving his truck on wet roads during the storm when it left the roadway and into a swamp, where he drowned,” Keith Acree, spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, told CNN in a statement. 

Robersonville is Martin County and about 18 miles north of Greenville, North Carolina.

Purvis is one of four storm-related deaths in the state. 

According to a release from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office, three people died in separate vehicle-related incidents on Friday and one person died from carbon monoxide poisoning after running a generator in a closed garage.

8:23 p.m. ET, October 3, 2022

Florida hoping to complete a temporary bridge to Pine Island by the end of the week, governor says

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch

More than 130 Florida Department of Transportation trucks have been deployed to work on a temporary bridge for Pine Island, Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a press conference.

 The goal is to have the temporary bridge completed by the end of the week, he said.  

“This is not necessarily going to be a bridge you’re going to want to go 45 miles per hour over maybe, but at least you’ll have connectivity to the mainland,” he said. 

DeSantis said that most of the residents don’t want to leave the island, the largest on Florida's Gulf Coast. The island, which is about 17 miles long and lies just south of Fort Myers, is made up of five communities and has a population of around 9,000 people.

FDOT is also putting together a plan for a temporary fix for the causeway to Sanibel Island, which lies to the south of Pine Island, the governor said. 

The state is currently accepting bids for that work. It is unknown how long it will take to get the temporary fix for Sanibel, he said. 


8:52 p.m. ET, October 3, 2022

Elizabeth McGuire found dead in her home in Cape Coral, family says

From CNN's Christina Zdanowicz

(Courtesy Susan McGuire)
(Courtesy Susan McGuire)

Elizabeth McGuire, 49, was found dead in her Cape Coral, Florida, home Friday after Hurricane Ian tore through the area, her son told CNN.

Police told her son that his mother had died in her bed holding her cellphone and it looked like she died instantly, Andrew Chedester said.

Her family had last spoken to McGuire on Wednesday and was having trouble reaching her since then, Chedester said.

A Cape Coral Police Department detective knocked on his door Friday and told him of his mother’s death, Chedester said. He had already received a call from his mother’s ex-boyfriend just before that, he said.

“I can’t believe somebody I just saw the other day was completely gone,” Chedester, 24, said of his mom. “She was a friend when you needed it the most,” he said.

CNN also spoke to her mother Susan McGuire, who learned of her daughter’s death through Chedester. She said her daughter had been suffering from blood clots from deep-vein thrombosis and was on disability.

McGuire was stranded on Pine Island and had limited cell service during and after the storm. She was evacuated to the mainland on Sunday by the US Coast Guard and she has an appointment Tuesday at the funeral home to make arrangements with her grandson.

“One hundred blizzards will not cost you what one hurricane will cost you,” said McGuire, who had moved to the area from Maryland a few years ago. “My husband’s business whipped out, my daughter is dead. The destruction is massive. I never had a blizzard take anything away from me.”

7:08 p.m. ET, October 3, 2022

Florida working to consolidate lists to account for those still missing

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch

When asked if the state had a number of how many people remain unaccounted for in the storm, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said authorities are still working to compile a list. 

Guthrie said that there is a lot of “disbarred data across multiple platforms” that they are working to consolidate. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis has directed someone to do that and officials hope to have a better number in the next couple of days, Guthrie said. 

7:24 p.m. ET, October 3, 2022

1,000 people have been evacuated from Sanibel Island in last 5 days, official says

From CNN’s Amy Simonson

People walk toward a ferry boat to be evacuated from Sanibel Island on October 1.
People walk toward a ferry boat to be evacuated from Sanibel Island on October 1. (Ted Richardson/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Sanibel Fire Chief William Briscoe said that crews have evacuated at least 1,000 people since Hurricane Ian ripped through the island.

Briscoe, who gave an update at the City of Sanibel budget meeting Monday, said officials are completing assessments on which homes are livable. 

“I hate to tell you but there are a lot places that are not livable. There are places off their foundation, and it’s very dangerous out there. There are alligators running around, and there are snakes all over the place," he said.

Effective Wednesday, the city will allow residents with identification to be transported to the island from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to assess their property, according to City Manager Dana Souza.

Residents will be entering at their own risk and the city cannot provide protection, Souza said, adding that there is limited ability to respond to fires or medical emergencies and people can be injured easily due to debris.

Residents will see signs on their homes that will advise them if their home is livable or not, Souza said.

6:59 p.m. ET, October 3, 2022

Power crews will be flown into Sanibel and Pine Islands to assess outages since bridge is still out

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch 

Responders survey damage to the bridge leading to Pine Island in Matlacha, Florida on Sunday, October 2.
Responders survey damage to the bridge leading to Pine Island in Matlacha, Florida on Sunday, October 2. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

The National Guard will be flying power crews into Sanibel and Pine Islands in Florida to access the damage and start working on restoring power. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that it is important to get the crews there now and not wait for the bridge to be rebuilt, which could take weeks.

“Repairs may require reconstruction on those islands because the storm was very ferocious when it hit,” DeSantis said. 
6:41 p.m. ET, October 3, 2022

Virginia Beach to resume normal operations on Tuesday, the city says

From CNN's Raja Razek 

Virginia Beach will resume normal operations on Tuesday, but will continue to monitor storm impacts as additional moderate to major tidal flooding is expected, according to a statement on Monday from the City of Virginia Beach.

The tidal gauge in Lynnhaven, one of Virginia Beach's boroughs, hit a “major” flood stage this afternoon, according to Virginia Beach Director of Communications Tiffany M. Russell.

But the "impacts were minimal with the forecasted tidal flooding decreasing by at least one foot from Sunday’s forecasted levels," Russell said.

Some background: Virginia Beach was placed under a state of emergency Sunday night ahead of coastal flooding due in part to the remnants of the post-tropical storm Ian.

The peak threat was expected to be Monday afternoon at high tide, which peaked around 4 p.m. However, officials warn the threat will continue through Tuesday.

6:26 p.m. ET, October 3, 2022

More than 1,900 people have been rescued in Florida since Hurricane Ian hit, governor says

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch

More than 1,900 people have been rescued since Hurricane Ian hit Florida last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news conference in Cape Coral on Monday.

Statewide, 95% of customers have power, although more than 50% of those in hard-hit Charlotte and Lee counties are still in the dark, according to the governor.