▶️ Many trapped in Florida as Ian heads toward South Carolina

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PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (AP) — Rescue crews are wading through water and using boats to rescue Florida residents stranded in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

The Orange County fire department posted photos Thursday of crews in a flooded neighborhood in the Orlando area.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the U.S. Coast Guard began rescue operations around daybreak.

At least one person in Florida was confirmed dead on the state’s eastern coast.

Flooding rains continued falling even after Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm. It’s center finished crossing the Florida peninsula Thursday and emerged in the Atlantic Ocean.

Forecasters predicted it would return to hurricane strength and turn north toward South Carolina.

RELATED: Ian makes landfall in southwest Florida as Category 4 storm

After Ian, Florida hospitals evacuate hundreds of patients

Hundreds of hospital patients were being evacuated from facilities across the Fort Myers region Thursday after damage from Hurricane Ian cut off water supplies.

One area hospital began assessing the full damage from ferocious winds that tore away parts of its roof and swamped its emergency room.

Other health care systems in Ian’s path, from the state’s Gulf coast to the Atlantic, were also moving patients because of flood waters.

Even as the problem was too much water in much of the state, at least nine hospitals in southwest Florida had the opposite problem.

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