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
97 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:48 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Charlotte County commissioner confirms 6 deaths to CNN

From CNN’s Hannah Sarisohn 

Six fatalities have been confirmed in Charlotte County, Florida, County Commissioner Chris Constance told CNN Thursday afternoon. 

"Unfortunately, we do have six confirmed fatalities at this time. We have all of our crews out now, assessing damage, doing search and rescue. It's the biggest catastrophe I have ever seen in my lifetime," he told CNN.

Constance did not have any more information to add regarding these people or regarding the number of people still unaccounted for. He did not have information on where in the county the fatalities were reported.

Constance said four shelters had to be evacuated due to structural damage sustained during Hurricane Ian and there is no running water in much of the county.

6:40 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Biden says relief efforts will continue for Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico: "I am committed to you"

(Oliver Contreras/AFP via Getty Images)
(Oliver Contreras/AFP via Getty Images)

As the federal government pours resources into the emergency response in Florida, President Joe Biden said his administration has not forgotten the victims of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico.

"While we're seeing the devastating images in Florida, I want to be clear, to the people of Puerto Rico: We're not gone away," Biden said during remarks on Tropical Storm Ian at FEMA's headquarters Thursday. 

"I am committed to you and the recovery of the island. We'll stand by you for however long it takes to get it done," he added.

Biden said the federal government is working around the clock to get people to safety and restore power, water and phone lines across the island.

The President also said, when asked, that it’s his “intention,” to visit Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico as a Category 1 storm on Sept. 18, dropping record rainfall, unleashing landslides and mudslides, flooding neighborhoods and leaving most of the island without power or water.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday approved a federal waiver opening up the potential for additional diesel to be shipped to Puerto Rico.

CNN's Ray Sanchez, Jasmine Wright and Sam Fossum contributed to this report.

1:49 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Tampa Bay Buccaneers announce Sunday night's game will be played at home

From CNN's David Close

Sunday night's NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be played as scheduled in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Following the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, the Buccaneers released a statement on Thursday confirming the game would not be moved out of Florida.

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the many thousands in the Southwest Florida region who have been severely impacted by Hurricane Ian. We are also very thankful that the Tampa Bay area was spared the most damaging consequences of this powerful storm," the statement reads.

"We have informed the NFL, after consulting with local and state agencies, that we are ready to play Sunday night's game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium as originally scheduled

The game is slated to kick off at 8:20 p.m. ET.

"We would like to thank all of the local government agencies and the thousands of emergency personnel who worked tirelessly over the past few days to ensure that our area would be ready to respond if needed. We would also like to acknowledge the Miami Dolphins organization for their assistance and hospitality in allowing us to use their practice facilities this week," the statement read.

The Bucs gave appreciation to those who have been helping the cause following Hurricane Ian.

"We also want to express our sincere appreciation to the first responders and emergency personnel who are already battling the elements, saving lives, and helping our neighbors in those most impacted areas to our south," they said.

On Wednesday, the NFL's executive vice president Jeff Miller said that if the game needed to be moved, US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis would host as the contingency site.

1:38 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Skyway Bridge across Tampa Bay has reopened, Florida Highway Patrol says

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge across Tampa Bay has reopened, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

“The Skyway Bridge has been reopened to traffic in both directions as wind speeds have dropped to 30 MPH. Motorists may cross the span, but are asked to use caution due to debris along the highway shoulders," the patrol tweeted Thursday.

The bridge closed earlier this week ahead of Hurricane Ian, which slammed into southwest Florida.

1:49 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 2,655,765 Florida energy customers are still without power, according to the tracker PowerOutage.us.

In the hardest-hit southwestern region, Hardee County, nearly 100% of customers remain without power. 

In Lee County, Charlotte County, and Desoto County, about 89% of all customers are in the dark.

10:07 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

In photos: Areas of Fort Myers in shambles after Hurricane Ian

Damaged homes and debris are seen in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, on Thursday.
Damaged homes and debris are seen in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, on Thursday. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Residents of Fort Myers are now seeing firsthand the destruction that Hurricane Ian left in its wake.

The powerful storm splintered homes and businesses, washed out parts of roads and spewed debris around the area.

Jake Moses, left, and Heather Jones of Fort Myers explore a section of destroyed businesses at Fort Myers Beach on Thursday.
Jake Moses, left, and Heather Jones of Fort Myers explore a section of destroyed businesses at Fort Myers Beach on Thursday. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Press Wire)

A causeway to Sanibel Island is seen damaged on Thursday.
A causeway to Sanibel Island is seen damaged on Thursday. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

People survey damage to their home in Valrico, Florida.
People survey damage to their home in Valrico, Florida. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

Vince Wright walks through the remains of homes in Fort Myers Beach.
Vince Wright walks through the remains of homes in Fort Myers Beach. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Press Wire)

A structure burns in Fort Myers, Florida.
A structure burns in Fort Myers, Florida. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Boats are seen piled up around damaged structures in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
Boats are seen piled up around damaged structures in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Debris lies among damaged homes in Fort Myers Beach.
Debris lies among damaged homes in Fort Myers Beach. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Damaged boats and debris rest against the shore in Fort Myers.
Damaged boats and debris rest against the shore in Fort Myers. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

View more photos in CNN's gallery here.

1:37 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Fort Myers mayor: "It looks like a war zone"

The aftermath of Hurricane Ian is seen at Fort Myers Beach on Thursday.
The aftermath of Hurricane Ian is seen at Fort Myers Beach on Thursday. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Press Wire)

Fort Myers, Florida, Mayor Kevin Anderson told CNN that the destruction from Hurricane Ian to his city is devastating.

"We've got extensive flooding in the downtown area, a lot of trees, damage to roofs. It looks like a war zone," Anderson said to CNN's Ana Cabrera.

Anderson said there have been no reported deaths in Fort Myers so far.

The water has subsided, so a massive cleanup is underway.

He urged people to stay inside.

"The traffic lights are not working, we have downed power lines, there are trees leaning on power lines that could take the line down at any moment. There's traffic lights hanging. It's not safe to be out moving about, but people are out there, wanting to take videos and record the damage," he said.

"I have never seen a storm that has caused so much damage in this area before," Anderson said.

1:44 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

DHS secretary says he's deploying more personnel to Florida to assist with Hurricane Ian response

From Priscilla Alvarez and Geneva Sands

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced Thursday that he’s activated the department’s surge capacity workforce to deploy more personnel to respond to Hurricane Ian.

“Today, I will be activating the DHS surge capacity force so that we can bring to bear additional personnel from across the government to support disaster survivors throughout Florida,” Mayorkas said, adding that thousands of personnel are already positioned to assist. 

"This is not just a here today, gone tomorrow. We are here, as the President articulated, throughout the need for full recovery,” Mayorkas added. 

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell warned Hurricane Ian will continue to be life-threatening as it moves into Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

"America woke up this morning to images like Naples, Punta Gorda and Cape Coral submerged under water, homes across Fort Myers that have been torn from their foundations and boats that have bene fond blocks away from where they were moored, but hurricane Ian is still a very life-threatening storm," Criswell said. 

1:35 p.m. ET, September 29, 2022

Naples pier sustains significant damage and remains closed, city officials say

From CNN’s Stephanie Gallman

The Naples, Florida, pier sustained significant damage but is not gone, according to a post on the city of Naples Facebook page.  

“The Pier is CLOSED,” the post said. “Please do not try to access the pier.”

A separate post said that the curfew in Naples was lifted at noon but the beaches remain closed. “The roads are still hazardous with many still flooded,” the post said. 

A precautionary boil water notice is also in effect.