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Hurricane Ian has caused unprecedented damage after trapping people in flooded homes and leaving more than two million without power, says Florida’s governor.

Ron DeSantis called the damage “historic” and disaster officials believe thousands could be displaced in the long term.

US President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster, releasing federal funds to pay for measures such as temporary housing for displaced people.

Ian was a category four storm with winds up to 150mph when it struck southwest Florida on Wednesday, making it the joint fifth-strongest hurricane to hit America.

Lee County sheriff Carmine Marceno told US media that deaths could be “in the hundreds” and that he’d received thousands of 911 calls.

“It crushed us,” Sheriff Marceno said. “We still cannot access many of the people that are in need.”

But Florida’s governor said the remark was speculation based on the deluge of 911 calls and that he hoped many of those people would have stayed safe.

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Mr DeSantis said there were so far two unconfirmed fatalities possibly related to the storm.

One is believed to be a 72-year-old man killed near Daytona Beach after going outside to drain his swimming pool during the storm.

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Hurricane survivor: ‘My house is gone!’

A flooded street is seen in downtown as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in southwestern Florida, in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S. September 28, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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A flooded street in Fort Myers, Florida

Electricity remained cut for 2.6 million in Florida early on Thursday morning, according to website Power Outage US.

There was virtually no mobile phone service in some areas and internet connectivity was also affected.

“Portable towers are on the way for cell service. Chances are your loved ones do not have the ability to contact you,” said the Collier County sheriff’s office.

“We can tell you as daylight reveals the aftermath, it’s going to be a hard day.”

300 trucks of food and water heading out

A “severe and threatening” storm surge as high as 10ft, including “destructive waves”, was ongoing on the southwest coast from Englewood to Bonita Beach, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Similar warnings telling people to “seek higher ground now” were in place on other sections of the Florida coast.

In Port Charlotte, about 65 miles south of Tampa, the surge flooded a hospital emergency room and ripped off part of the intensive care unit’s roof.

“We’ve never seen a flood event like this,” said Florida’s governor at a media conference on Thursday morning.

“We’ve never seen storm surge of this magnitude – and it hit an area where there’s a lot of people… It’s going to end up doing extensive damage to a lot of people’s homes.”

Mr DeSantis said bridges were being inspected for safety, but that the causeway to Sanibel island was impassable after a chunk fell into the sea and cut off more than 6,000 people.

More than 300 trucks containing food and water are also being sent to southwest Florida, said officials, who warned the storm remained a major threat to the state.

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Flooded car rescue in Florida

A flooded street is seen in downtown as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in southwestern Florida, in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S. September 28, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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A flooded street in Fort Myers, Florida

Thousands of people could be displaced in the long term due to the “catastrophic” damage, Deanne Criswell, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told CNN.

Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm early on Thursday but was forecast to return to near-hurricane strength later, ahead of a second predicted landfall in South Carolina on Friday.

On its way to the US, Ian hit Cuba and cut off power to nearly all the island’s 11 million people.

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Oregon: Woman crushed by grand piano shows ‘amazing spirit’ after being told she will never walk again

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Oregon: Woman crushed by grand piano shows 'amazing spirit' after being told she will never walk again

A woman has been left unable to walk after a piano slipped and dropped on her while she was helping a friend move the instrument.

Danielle Drummond, 28, who had recently relocated from Cleveland, Ohio, to Oregon for a fresh start, is now hoping for a scientific breakthrough after the ordeal left her needing both a wheelchair and a carer.

She told Cleveland-based broadcaster 19 News she had tried to stabilise the piano when offering to help last month, but her friend lost her grip.

“She dropped like a whole upright grand piano on me, and it severed my spinal cord,” Ms Drummond said.

“Now, I’m paralysed from the waist down.”

Ms Drummond has no family in Eugene, the city in Oregon where she lives, and also needs to find a permanent home, having been living in a van with her dog, Lotus.

Danielle Drummond. Pic: GoFundMe
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Danielle Drummond. Pic: GoFundMe

Compounding her problems, she does not know how she would begin to move back to her family in Cleveland and transfer all her belongings and medical equipment.

Her sister has set up a fundraising page to “support future medical needs”, with the aim of raising $10,000 (£7,850).

“Our family thanks you for all your support, consideration, thoughts, love and prayers,” her sister Rosie Hayne wrote, describing Ms Drummond as “strong”, “wise”, and “down to earth”.

In an update on the GoFundMe page, Ms Hayne added: “She wants to make it clear that she is not expecting to ever walk again.

“She has accepted the reality of her situation. But she has an amazing spirit and an overall positive outlook, focusing on what she can do.”

Ms Drummond told 19 News she hopes people going through similar circumstances “don’t give up”.

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Meanwhile, her wish remains for a new development in treatment.

“It definitely is a game change for me,” she said. “I try to stay hopeful.”

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Iowa town flattened as tornadoes cause fatalities and devastation in US Midwest

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Iowa town flattened as tornadoes cause fatalities and devastation in US Midwest

An unknown number of people have died after a powerful tornado ripped through a small town in Iowa.

Dramatic pictures showed the destruction left behind in Greenfield, with police confirming there had been fatalities and at least a dozen injuries, without being able to provide specific figures.

The devastation came as multiple tornadoes rolled through the US Midwest.

At least three 250-foot-high wind turbines were toppled by an apparent tornado in southwest Iowa.

One turbine was in flames, with black smoke pouring from the bent structure.

Officials said most of Greenfield, with a population of about 2,000 people, had been destroyed, with rescue efforts continuing in an attempt to find survivors.

Workers search through the remains of tornado-damaged homes, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Greenfield, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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A trail of destruction was left behind in Greenfield. Pic: AP

Damage is seen after a tornado moved through Greenfield, Iowa, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Hannah Fingerhut)
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Pic: AP

A firefighter walks among tornado-damaged homes, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Greenfield, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Pic: AP

Pic: AP
A damaged car sits on a street after a tornado Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Greenfield, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Pic: AP

Buildings, including homes and businesses, were flattened, trees shredded, and vehicles thrown down the streets which were left strewn with piles of debris.

Sgt Alex Dinkla, a spokesperson for the Iowa State Patrol, said: “This tornado has devastated a good portion of this town.

“Sadly, we can confirm that there have been fatalities. We’re still counting at this time.”

Pic: AP
The remains of a tornado-damaged wind turbine touch the ground in a field, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, near Prescott, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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The extreme conditions in Iowa brought down wind turbines. Pic: AP

The remains of a tornado-damaged wind turbine touch the ground in a field, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, near Prescott, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Pic: AP

Pic: AP
The remains of a tornado-damaged wind turbine touch the ground in a field, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, near Prescott, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Pic: AP

He said Greenfield’s hospital was among the buildings that were damaged, which meant at least a dozen people who were hurt had to be taken to facilities elsewhere.

Residents helped each other salvage their belongings as they tried to come to terms with what had happened.

Pic: AP
A firefighter walks among homes destroyed by a tornado Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Greenfield, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Pic: AP

Workers search through the remains of tornado-damaged property, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Greenfield, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Pic: AP

Read more on Sky News:
Extreme weather gripping different parts of the world
Four killed as severe thunderstorms sweep across Texas

Rogue Paxton said he sheltered in the basement of his home when the storm moved through.

He told WOI-TV he thought his family was lucky not to lose their house.

“But everyone else is not so much, like my brother Cody, his house just got wiped,” he said.

“Then you see all these people out here helping each other.

“Everything’s going to be fine because we have each other, but it’s just going to be really, really rough. It is a mess.”

The storms followed days of extreme weather which has ravaged much of the middle section of the US.

Strong winds, large hail and tornadoes swept across parts of Oklahoma and Kansas late Sunday, damaging homes and injuring two people.

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Ex-model accuses Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs of sexually assaulting her at his studio in 2003

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Ex-model accuses Sean 'Diddy' Combs of sexually assaulting her at his studio in 2003

A former model has accused Sean “Diddy” Combs of sexually assaulting her at his New York City recording studio in 2003 in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday.

Crystal McKinney’s allegations are just the latest in a series of accusations made against the rapper and producer.

McKinney says she was a successful 22-year-old model when she met Combs at a restaurant during Men’s Fashion Week in Manhattan.

The music mogul invited her to his recording studio later that night, according to the federal complaint filed in New York City.

The lawsuit states McKinney arrived and found Combs drinking and smoking cannabis with several other men.

She smoked some marijuana, which she “later came to understand” was laced with another narcotic or intoxicating substance, the lawsuit claims.

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‘Diddy’ apologises after assault video

McKinney says she felt as though she was floating, then Combs led her to the bathroom, where he sexually assaulted her, according to the lawsuit.

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Combs then led her back to the studio where she lost consciousness, later waking in a taxi where she realised what had happened.

Combs is yet to respond to these latest allegations.

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The lawsuit comes just days after CNN aired security video that showed Combs attacking singer Cassie in a Los Angeles hotel hallway in 2016.

Cassie, an R&B singer whose legal name is Cassandra Ventura, was his protege and girlfriend at the time.

On Sunday, the 54-year-old, released a video saying he was “truly sorry” and his actions were “inexcusable”.

He is not in danger of being criminally prosecuted for the beating because of the statute of limitations.

Combs, whose homes in Los Angeles and Miami were raided by Homeland Security Investigations agents in March, has faced a series of public allegations of physical and sexual violence as well as sex trafficking.

A lawsuit filed by Cassie in November alleging beatings and abuse was settled a day after it was filed.

The claim on Tuesday was filed under a New York City law that allows accusers to file civil litigation during a limited window, even if the events allegedly happened long ago.

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