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Florida woman films herself riding out Hurricane Ian in pool float as storm surge swallows neighborhood

The Independent logo The Independent 9/30/2022 Louise Boyle
A woman in southwest Florida shared a video of herself floating inside her home in an inflatable pool © TikTok A woman in southwest Florida shared a video of herself floating inside her home in an inflatable pool

A woman has shared distressing footage of herself floating in an inflatable pool inside her home during Hurricane Ian as waves lap up against the windows.

On Wednesday, countless Floridians remained stranded after the near-Category 5 storm hit southwest Florida.

The woman, who identifies herself as Beth on TikTok, posted the video on Thursday. “If you’ve ever floated in a floaty pool in your own living room with your refrigerator, at your door,” she says. Dozens of commentators inquired after her safety and the clip received millions of views.

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She has since posted two videos, one titled “I’m alive!!!”, which shows a street with several feet of flooding and strong winds blowing palm trees. In another video clip, filmed in the dark, she asks for help.

“If you could see me now, I’m alive, still floating in water, someone needs to come help me,” she says. Beth’s current status is unclear but her location appears to be in the Fort Myers area.

Hurricane Ian smacked into Florida on Wednesday as one of the most powerful storms in US history with wind speeds of 155mph and record storm surge indundation in many places.

Shortly after landfall, Fort Myers reached 5.8 feet storm surge - more than 2ft above the previous record of 3.36ft during Hurricane Gabrielle 20 years ago.

Nearly 2 million people in Florida were without power on Friday. One early estimate put economic losses at $120billion.

The death toll from the hurricane is currently unclear, but officials expect it to rise. At least 21 deaths have been linked to the storm on Friday.

The hurricane is set to make landfall again in South Carolina on Friday afternoon after crossing Florida, regaining strength in the Atlantic and shifting north.

The US National Hurricane Center is warning of “life-threatening storm surge” along the Carolinas coastline. Storm surge in that area could reach up to seven feet.

While no stranger to hurricanes, Florida is one of the US states most at risk from flooding linked to the climate crisis in the coming decades, the nonprofit First Street Foundation reports.

Rapid analysis, published by researchers at Stony Brook University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on Thursday, shows that human-induced climate change increased Ian’s extreme rain rates by more than 10 per cent, the nonprofit Climate Signals said in an email.

The climate crisis does not necessarily mean more hurricanes in the future – but planet-heating greenhouse gas emissions, largely from burning fossil fuels, are driving hotter air and ocean temperatures that supercharge storms, making them more powerful and wetter.

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