Florida Medical Examiners Commission and local officials and authorities have reported that at least 33 people in Florida have died due to Hurricane Ian.
The Category 4 storm hit the state’s southwest coast Wednesday afternoon, bringing historic, catastrophic damage, fierce winds, and dangerous, record-breaking storm surges.
The deaths are being reported from multiple counties, including 16 in Lee County, six in Charlotte County, four in Volusia County, three in Collier County, two in Sarasota County, and one each in Lake and Manatee counties, ABC News determined through information collected from local officials and the commission’s office.
However, the death toll continues to rise amid ongoing search and rescue missions.
Florida officials confirmed there were 21 deaths from Ian during a Friday press conference, of which 20 were unconfirmed because they were spotted during searches and rescue operations. Crews prioritized those found alive and still trapped.
Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, told news outlets those deaths included 12 fatalities recorded in Charlotte County and eight fatalities in Collier County. However, they have not been confirmed as a result of the hurricane.
He also confirmed that there had been deaths in Lee County, which includes Fort Myers and Sanibel Island, both of which were slammed by the storm, but officials are still counting.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported ten confirmed deaths attributed to Ian. The causes of death were primarily drownings, two vehicle accidents, and a roofing accident.
It is unclear whether the state’s figures overlap with ABC News analysis.
Florida will confirm deaths by reviewing medical examiner records, which can take time.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said the confirmed deaths were from Lake, Sarasota, Manatee, Volusia, and Collier counties. The victims ranged in age from 22 to 91. One was a 68-year-old woman, who drowned after being swept into the ocean by a wave on Sept. 29, the department said.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office announced a fatality due to Ian. A 72-year-old man in Deltona died after attempting to drain his pool during the storm.
The man, who was not publicly identified, “disappeared” after heading outside, the sheriff’s office added. Deputies found him unresponsive in a canal behind the home.
Search and rescue efforts were underway throughout the state Thursday after being halted due to the strength of the storm Wednesday.
Florida Rep. Kathy Castor, who represents the Tampa Bay area, called the situation a “major catastrophe.”
“I’m afraid we’re going to be dealing with a larger loss of life than we anticipated,” she said.
Florida Sen. Rick Scott spoke with “Good Morning America” Thursday morning, saying there were “thousands of rescue efforts going on right now.”
“We’ve got great sheriff’s departments, police departments, fire departments, state rescue teams. They’re working hard. But there’s a lot of people that need help right now,” he said.
He also expressed concern for Florida’s many low-lying areas.
“The water kills, and I’m just — I’m scared to death of, you know, what’s happened here, and I hope everybody stays safe,” he said.