No deaths due to storm, over 1,000 rescued from flooding in Orange County

Orange County officials say that no deaths have been reported as a result of Hurricane Ian, despite over 1,000 residents requiring rescue services from extreme flooding and dangerous conditions.

During a press conference on Friday morning, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and other Orange County leaders provided an extensive update on the ongoing recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ian, which created record rainfall across the area.

“We have not had any storm-related deaths,” said Demings during the press conference. He elaborated that in one case at an assisted living facility, an elderly individual who was critically ill died of natural causes while others were being evacuated.

Although officials did not provide an estimate as to the damage across the county, they indicated that over 1,000 people were evacuated and that extensive crews, including FEMA and National Guard representatives, are assessing the damage.

Woman walking with dogs in Orlovista community
A woman and her dogs are evacuated from Orlovista by Orange County Fire Rescue crews

“It was bad, but it could have been a lot worse,” said Demings during the press conference. “While the storm could have been much worse, we do have an extraordinary amount of debris that is in our neighborhoods and along our roadways.”

Orange County emergency personnel use airboats to rescue people

Across Orange County, officials say that at least 12 neighborhoods were completely flooded and required extensive evacuations. In one of those communities, Orlovista, dozens of residents were rescued by Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Orange County Fire Rescue representatives from flooded homes. Demings says that it will take “quite some time to rectify the situation” in Orlovista, which reported floodwaters that were waist-high.

Although officials are advising that motorists avoid roadways, especially those covered in debris and floodwaters, approximately 25% of Lynx routes are still operational. For more information on which routes are operating, visit the Lynx website.

“We do have a significant number of traffic signals that are still out, and that creates quite the hazard,” said Demings. All officials are advising to treat any intersections with downed stoplights as four-way stops.

For more information or updates regarding emergency response services from the county, visit the Orange County Emergency Information page.

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