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St. Petersburg Begins Recovery Effort After Hurricane Ian

Emergency crews are assessing damage amid widespread power outages, Mayor Welch says.

St. Petersburg, Fla., Mayor Ken Welch said emergency workers and city officials ventured out at daybreak Thursday (Sept. 29) to assess damage from Ian, one of the most powerful hurricanes to strike Florida, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

They will note the locations of fallen trees obstructing roadways and downed power lines to facilitate the work of crews tasked with restoring electricity to the ravished city, which is steeped in Black history.

As Hurricane Ian approached on Wednesday, the mayor urged residents who decide not to evacuate to remain indoors. “We will experience tropical storm force winds and rainfall,” Welch said. “And we’re experiencing power outages throughout the city of St. Petersburg.”

After devastating Cuba, Ian rumbled toward Florida’s west coast, making landfall as a near Category 5 storm Wednesday afternoon near Cayo Costa, a barrier island west of Fort Myers in Lee County, USA Today reported.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told CNN that at least five deaths were confirmed in his county, adding in an interview with Good Morning America that hundreds may have died, according to USA Today. Across the state, more than 2.6 million homes and businesses were without power early Thursday.

RELATED: Hurricane Ian Heads Toward Florida

Ian was expected to cause more damage through its strong wind gusts and heavy rainfall, The Weather Channel reports. Meteorologists predict that the hurricane will make a second landfall along the U.S. southeast coast by Friday.

Georgians living in coastal areas are bracing for a possible impact, Atlanta station WSB reports. Ian could lash Savannah as a tropical storm.

I​an is the fourth hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. The first major hurricane of the season, Fiona, is blamed for at least three deaths – one in the Dominican Republic and two in Puerto Rico.

RELATED: Hurricane Fiona Intensifies In Caribbean After Ravishing Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico

Fiona also caused widespread flooding and power outages across the Caribbean before making landfall Saturday (Sept. 24)  in Nova Scotia, Canada, where it swept away homes, toppled trees and left thousands of residents in the dark.

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