Speaking in a Thursday morning media briefing, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that first responders had descended on southwest Florida following Hurricane Ian.

DeSantis warned that the amount of water that’s been rising and will continue to rise is “basically a 500-year flood event.”  Water is anticipated to subside in barrier islands and on the coasts, but DeSantis told reporters that standing water is likely inland for the coming days.

“The impacts of this storm are historic … But, I think we’ve never seen a flood event like this … And, it’s going to end up doing extensive damage to a lot of peoples’ homes,” DeSantis pointed out.

The governor said most school districts will be able to reopen on Friday or Monday.

Answering questions later in the news conference, DeSantis responded to a report of “hundreds” of fatalities in Lee County: “So, none of that is confirmed.”

He said that a number put out by Lee authorities was “basically an estimate” of people calling 911 and saying that water was rising in their homes.

Operations are ongoing, with 28 large helicopters between the National Guard and Coast Guard performing rescue missions, and more air assets brought in as the day continues.

DeSantis said his office had also been working with hospitals overnight that have been on generator power and were in the process of evacuating health care facilities to safer locations.

The governor noted that, in addition to the more than 2.5 million power outages reported in the state, more outages were anticipated in central and northeastern Florida.



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