US: South Carolina-bound Ian could become hurricane again, says NHC

Tropical Storm Ian is expected to become a hurricane again later on Thursday before making US landfall for the second time on Friday, the United States National Hurricane Center said, issuing a hurricane warning for the entire coast of South Carolina.
Ian was located about 285 miles (460 km) south of Charleston, South Carolina, packing maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 km per hour), the Miami-based forecaster said.
On Thursday, more than 2.6 million homes and businesses were without power in Florida as Hurricane Ian marched across the state, according to local power companies.
Ian, which hit Florida on Wednesday, has affected about 3.3 million power customers so far. That means some utilities have restored service now that the storm has passed through their territory even though the number of current outages has increased as the storm moves north.
Rescue workers and residents of Florida’s Gulf Coast searched for missing people and picked up the pieces from wrecked homes after Ian tore through the area with howling winds, torrential rains and raging surf.
In its latest advisory, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Ian, now a tropical storm, was in the Atlantic Ocean after crossing Florida.
The NHC expects the storm to strengthen back into a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles (121 kilometers) per hour before it slams into the South Carolina coast on Friday.
The utility with the most outages so far was Florida Power & Light Co (FPL), a unit of Florida energy company NextEra Energy Inc.
FPL said it has already restored service to over 600,000 customers affected by the storm, but “anticipates some customers will face prolonged outages because portions of the electric system in Southwest Florida will need to be rebuilt rather than repaired.”
FPL said it increased its restoration workforce from around 13,000 before the storm hit more than 20,000 personnel, including mutual assistance from utilities and others in 30 states.

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