Florida officials have linked about 100 deaths spanning 10 counties to Hurricane Ian, with more than half in Lee County where storm surges as high as 10 feet razed homes and destroyed some of the only bridges that connect barrier island residents to the mainland.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno on Monday afternoon announced that the death toll has climbed to 54 — up from 42 reported a day earlier. The state has confirmed the causes of 12 Lee County deaths so far — all but one resulted from drowning.
“We haven’t seen devastation like this. We’re standing 60 yards away from a 100-foot boat that’s thrown into a vehicle and the mangroves like it’s nothing,” Marceno said at a Monday press conference. “As sheriffs, we like to press a button and we fix what’s wrong. Unfortunately I can’t do that. There’s nothing I can say in words to bring loved ones back.”
The state’s second-highest death toll is in Charlotte County, where the sheriff’s office has confirmed 24 storm-related fatalities. The causes of those deaths have not been made public yet.
The current Hurricane Ian death toll in Florida falls between about 95 and 101, based on information provided by the state Medical Examiner’s Commission, county sheriffs and the Division of Emergency Management. Here’s the county-by-county information provided by authorities:
Deaths by county
▪ Lee County: 54 confirmed by Lee County sheriff
▪ Charlotte County: 24 confirmed by Charlotte County sheriff
▪ Collier County: between three and eight. Kevin Guthrie, Florida’s Division of Emergency Management director, announced eight Collier County deaths on Friday but said they are unconfirmed. So far, Florida’s Medical Examiners Commission has confirmed three deaths in Collier County.
▪ Volusia County: five, according to Medical Examiners Commission
▪ Sarasota: four, according to information from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and the Medical Examiners Commission
▪ Manatee County: two, according to the Medical Examiners Commission
▪ Hendry County: one, according to the Medical Examiners Commission
▪ Hillsborough County: one, according to the Medical Examiners Commission
▪ Lake County: one, according to the Medical Examiners Commission
▪ Polk County: one confirmed by Guthrie