September 29, 2022 Hurricane Ian updates

By Elizabeth Wolfe, Travis Caldwell, Kelly McCleary, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Maureen Chowdhury, Elise Hammond and Seán Federico O'Murchú, CNN

Updated 1:30 a.m. ET, September 30, 2022
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1:18 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Biden: "This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida's history"

(Evan Vucci/AP)
(Evan Vucci/AP)

President Joe Biden spoke Thursday about the havoc that Hurricane Ian wrecked in Florida after it made landfall on Wednesday.

"It is still moving across the state today. This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida's history. The numbers are still unclear but we are hearing early reports of what may be substantial loss of life," he said while speaking from the FEMA headquarters in Washington, DC.

Biden said he spoke to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, mayors and the commissioner, who, he said, are worried, but the President commended them for the "incredible" jobs they're doing to "save their cities, their towns" and their infrastructure.

Biden also issued a message for Floridians.

"My message to people in Florida, at times like this: America comes together. We’re going to pull together as one team, as one America," he said.

1:00 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

NOW: President Biden speaks in the aftermath of Ian

President Biden is delivering remarks as Florida is reeling in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

Devastation in some parts is impeding the restoration and recovery work.

1:05 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Drone video from Cape Coral shows homes surrounded by flooding

Water engulfs entire neighborhoods in Cape Coral after Hurricane Ian pummeled Florida's southwestern coast on Wednesday into Thursday, CNN Air drone video shows.

Emergency teams also conducted rescues.

Watch it here:

1:05 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

2 Sarasota bridges reopened to barrier islands, city says

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Two bridges in the city of Sarasota, Florida, have opened to the barrier islands, according to the city's social media.

“The John Ringling Causeway and Siesta bridges are now open. Ringling Bridge access is limited to residents and business owners with identification,” the post said.

The city noted that water and sewer service have not been restored and residents should plan accordingly.

Residents in mainland Sarasota are now allowed to return to their homes after the devastation of Hurricane Ian, the city posted in another Facebook.

Sarasota Police posted a photo showing a long lines of cars waiting to get to the islands. 

The county said they are using a Red/Yellow/Green level system to inform residents about the conditions across the area. Red areas are “unsafe” and have suffered “extensive damage limiting travel.” Yellow areas do not have power and have damage and debris. Green areas are considered safe for the general public. 

The map shows Sarasota County split with the north half in yellow and the south half in red. No area of the county is currently green.

View the map here:

12:52 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

At least 3 dead in Cuba from Hurricane Ian, state-run website reports

From CNN’s Patrick Oppmann from Havana

Cuban officials on Thursday raised the number of dead from Hurricane Ian to three people, the state-run website Cubadebate reported.

Previously, Cuban officials had said two people died during the storm as it made landfall in Cuba. 

There was no further information provided on how the third victim died. 

Although Cuban officials said they had begun to restore power knocked out in Cuba by Ian, large swathes of the island remained without electricity.

12:30 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

On the ground: Chunks of sea wall seen strewn across streets of downtown Fort Myers

As Fort Myers reels in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, huge chunks of sea wall and other debris can be seen on the streets after the flooding subsided from the downtown area.

"We are a few blocks off the water. So that's how far this traveled ... in the water. And you can imagine the force that it would have taken for this kind of piece of stone to move," CNN correspondent Randi Kaye said as she came across several chunks of the sea wall that were waist-high and sometimes, even bigger.

Take a look at the devastation in downtown Fort Myers:

12:29 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

There's major flooding along some Florida rivers as Hurricane Ian causes torrential rainfall

From CNN's Allison Chinchar and Brandon Miller

Recording flooding is already happening in central and northern Florida due to Hurricane Ian as torrential rainfall swells area rivers, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The flood waters are expected to rise further, as well as stretch well beyond the state’s borders in the coming days.

Currently there are 15 river gauge locations in Florida at or above flood stage, nine of those are at major flood stage, and three have reached all-time records. 

  • The Myakka River in Myakka State Park forecast to reach 13.0 feet (previous record is 12.5 feet)
  • Horse Creek in Arcadia forecast to reach 21.4 feet (previous record is 18.0 feet)
  • Peace River in Zolfo forecast to reach 26.5 feet (previous record is 25.0 feet)

For most of these locations it will take at least 3 to 5 days before water levels return below major flood stage, and one week before they return to "normal levels". 

Nearly 50 locations along dozens of rivers spanning 8 states are expected to reach flood stage, according to CNN analyses of NOAA and USGS flood forecasts.

As Ian moves up the East Coast widespread rainfall totals of 3 to 5 inches are expected from Savannah, Georgia to Ocean City, Maryland, with isolated higher amounts of 6 to 8 inches possible.

12:05 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

More than 2.6 million customers are still without power across Florida

From CNN's Jamie Loftus

At least 2,617,257 Florida energy customers are still without power, according to the tracker

In Hardee County, nearly 100% of customers are without power.

In Lee County, which includes Fort Myers and Cape Coral, and Charlotte County, home to Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, about 89% of all customers are in the dark.

In DeSoto County, which includes the city of Hernando, about 92% of customers lost power.

12:27 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Coast Guard photos show widespread flooding from Ian on Sanibel Island

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy and Adrienne Vogt

(US Coast Guard)
(US Coast Guard)

High floodwaters can be seen surrounding homes in US Coast Guard photos from a flight over Sanibel Island, which is located southwest of Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

(US Coast Guard)
(US Coast Guard)

(US Coast Guard)
(US Coast Guard)

Portions of the Sanibel Causeway, which connects the island to the mainland, have been washed away, according to aerial video from CNN affiliates.