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Live updates: Hurricane Ian heads toward South Carolina

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Live updates: Hurricane Ian heads toward South Carolina

The Latest on Hurricane Ian:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The U.S. death toll from Hurricane Ian has risen to 27 as of Friday night.

According to Florida’s Medical Examiners Commission, several new deaths were attributable to the storm, including a 62-year-old woman who died after suffering injuries and drowning when a tree fell on a mobile home, a 54-year-old man who was found trapped in a window after drowning, and a female who was found tangled in wires under a residence in Lee County.

Other deaths reported earlier included a 22-year-old woman who was ejected from an ATV rollover Friday because of a road washout in Manatee County and a 71-year-old man who died of head injuries when he fell off a roof while putting up rain shutters on Wednesday.

Another three people died in Cuba earlier in the week as the storm churned northward. The death toll was expected to increase substantially once emergency officials have an opportunity to search many of the hardest-hit areas.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS:

— Ian lashes South Carolina as Florida’s death toll climbs

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— Hurricane Ian heads for Carolinas after pounding Florida

— DeSantis shifts from provocateur to crisis manager after Ian

— In Ian’s wake, worried families crowdsource rescue efforts

— After Ian, the effects in southwest Florida are everywhere

— Find more AP coverage here: https://apnews.com/hub/hurricanes

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

The U.S. death toll from Hurricane Ian has risen to 17 as Florida authorities on Friday afternoon confirmed several drowning deaths and other fatalities.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said the deaths included a 22-year-old woman who was ejected from an ATV rollover on Friday because of a road washout in Manatee County and a 71-year-old man who died of head injuries when he fell off a roof while putting up rain shutters on Wednesday. Many of the other deaths were drownings, including a 68-year-old woman who was swept into the ocean by a wave.

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Another three people died in Cuba as the storm made its way north earlier in the week. The death toll was expected to increase substantially when emergency officials have an opportunity to search many areas hardest hit by the storm.

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MIAMI, Fla. — Major river flooding is expected to continue across parts of central Florida into next week as post-tropical storm Ian continues making its way up the East coast, according to the National Hurricane Center.

In an update late Friday afternoon, the agency advised that considerable other flooding will also occur into the evening in both North and South Carolina, as well as southeast Virginia, and local flooding could be expected in portions of northwest North Carolina and southern Virginia into early Saturday morning.

Although the intensity of the storm has decreased from hurricane strength, agency officials warned of life-threatening storm surge along the coasts of the Carolinas Friday night.

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — A commercial fishing boat anchored in the ocean near Myrtle Beach broke free and washed ashore on Friday, but no one was aboard, according to city police spokesman Master Cpl. Tom Vest.

The U.S. Coast Guard was called out to the boat on Thursday when it had mechanical problems, Vest said. Everyone got off the boat and it was anchored in the ocean near 82nd Avenue North. At some point Friday, however, the boat broke free and police began getting calls about the boat as it traveled about 8 miles (13 kilometers) south to the beach near Williams Street, he said.

Officials believe fluids were leaking from the boat and there was a strong smell of fuel, Vest said. Authorities have warned the public to stay away from the boat, saying it was extremely dangerous.

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CHARLESTON, S.C. — Ian has dropped from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone as it moved across South Carolina.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Ian, which carved a swath of destruction across Florida earlier this week, had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph) Friday afternoon.

Ian hit Florida’s Gulf Coast as a powerful Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph (240 kph) winds Wednesday, flooding homes and leaving nearly 2.7 million people without power.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Hurricane Ian has destroyed parts of at least four piers along South Carolina’s northern coast.

The brunt of the surge and waves from the Category 1 storm hit around Myrtle Beach on Friday.

Police said the Pawley’s Island Pier was washed away first. Then local TV footage showed sections missing of the Cherry Grove Pier near North Myrtle Beach and the Apache and Second Avenue piers in Myrtle Beach.

An 85 mph (137 kph) wind gust was measured at Fort Sumter, the tiny island where the Civil War began about 4 miles (6.4 km) from downtown Charleston, the National Weather Service reported.

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More than 200,000 customers were without power Friday afternoon in South Carolina as Ian moved onshore.

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The story above has been corrected to clarify that parts of four piers in South Carolina were washed away — not entire piers.

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ORLANDO, Fla. — University of Central Florida students living at an apartment complex near the Orlando campus, made homeless by the flooding, retrieved possessions Friday from their water logged units. Andee Holbert, her sister and their dog left their apartment Thursday before the water reached their heads. They returned Friday to retrieve wet clothes in garbage bags and whatever other possessions they could salvage, loading them onto their father’s pickup truck.

“We still had power, which is terrifying, and the lights were still on,” said Holbert, a nursing student. “And there’s knee deep water in there.”

Deandra Smith, also a nursing student, stayed in her third floor apartment with her dog after being asleep while others evacuated. On Friday, other students helped get her to dry land by pushing her through the flooded parking lot on a pontoon. She wasn’t sure if she should go back to her parents’ home in South Florida or find a shelter so she can still attend classes. “I’m still trying to figure it out,” she said.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Power outages have increased and some coastal rivers rose in North Carolina as heavy rain and winds from Hurricane Ian crept into the state Friday from the storm’s South Carolina landfall.

Gov. Roy Cooper says adjustments to the projected path of Ian could bring more trouble to central and eastern North Carolina than earlier believed. But he says the state’s emergency equipment and services have been staged to maximize flexibility.

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He warns residents statewide to remain vigilant, given that up to 8 inches (20.3 centimeters) of rain could fall in some areas, with high winds.

More than 55,000 customers in North Carolina were without power as of mid-afternoon, according to PowerOutage.us, which aggregates outages nationwide.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — A second pier in northern South Carolina has been destroyed by Hurricane Ian’s surge.

Local television footage showed the middle section of the Cherry Grove Pier near the North Carolina state line was washed away Friday afternoon by rising water and churning waves as Ian made landfall about 50 miles (80 kilometers) down the coast in Georgetown.

The area saw the brunt of the surge as Ian hit the United States again with flooded neighborhoods and widespread power outages.

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MIAMI — Hurricane Ian has made another landfall, this time in South Carolina, after carving a swath of destruction across Florida earlier this week.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Ian’s center came ashore Friday afternoon near Georgetown with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph).

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Ian hit Florida’s Gulf Coast as a powerful Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph (240 kph) winds Wednesday, flooding homes and leaving nearly 2.7 million people without power.

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Israel hails ‘success’ after blocking unprecedented attack from Iran

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Israel hails ‘success’ after blocking unprecedented attack from Iran

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israeli leaders on Sunday credited an international military coalition with helping thwart a direct Iranian attack involving hundreds of drones and missiles, calling the coordinated response a starting point for a “strategic alliance” of regional opposition to Tehran.

But Israel’s War Cabinet met without making a decision on next steps, an official said, as a nervous world waited for any sign of further escalation of the former shadow war.

The military coalition, led by the United States, Britain and France and appearing to include a number of Middle Eastern countries, gave Israel support at a time when it finds itself isolated over its war against Hamas in Gaza. The coalition also could serve as a model for regional relations when that war ends.

“This was the first time that such a coalition worked together against the threat of Iran and its proxies in the Middle East,” said the Israeli military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

One unknown is which of Israel’s neighbors participated in the shooting down of the vast majority of about 350 drones and missiles Iran launched. Israeli military officials and a key War Cabinet member noted additional “partners” without naming them. When pressed, White House national security spokesman John Kirby would not name them either.

But one appeared to be Jordan, which described its action as self-defense.

“There was an assessment that there was a real danger of Iranian marches and missiles falling on Jordan, and the armed forces dealt with this danger. And if this danger came from Israel, Jordan would take the same action,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi said in an interview on Al-Mamlaka state television. U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Jordan’s King Abdullah on Sunday.

The U.S. has long tried to forge a regionwide alliance against Iran as a way of integrating Israel and boosting ties with the Arab world. The effort has included the 2020 Abraham Accords, which established diplomatic relations between Israel and four Arab countries, and having Israel in the U.S. military’s Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East and works closely with the armies of moderate Arab states.

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The U.S. had been working to establish full relations between Israel and regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia before the Oct. 7 Hamas attack sparked Israel’s war in Gaza. The war, which has claimed over 33,700 Palestinian lives, has frozen those efforts due to widespread outrage across the Arab world. But it appears that some behind-the-scenes cooperation has continued, and the White House has held out hopes of forging Israel-Saudi ties as part of a postwar plan.

Just ahead of Iran’s attack, the commander of CENTCOM, Gen. Erik Kurilla, visited Israel to map out a strategy.

Israel’s military chief, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, on Sunday thanked CENTCOM for the joint defensive effort. Both Jordan and Saudi Arabia are under the CENTCOM umbrella. While neither acknowledged involvement in intercepting Iran’s launches, the Israeli military released a map showing missiles traveling through the airspace of both nations.

“Arab countries came to the aid of Israel in stopping the attack because they understand that regional organizing is required against Iran, otherwise they will be next in line,” Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israel’s military intelligence, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, said he had spoken with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and that the cooperation “highlighted the opportunity to establish an international coalition and strategic alliance to counter the threat posed by Iran.”

The White House signaled that it hopes to build on the partnerships and urged Israel to think twice before striking Iran. U.S. officials said Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington would not participate in any offensive action against Iran.

Israel’s War Cabinet met late Sunday to discuss a possible response, but an Israeli official familiar with the talks said no decisions had been made. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing confidential deliberations.

Asked about plans for retaliation, Hagari declined to comment directly. “We are at high readiness in all fronts,” he said.

“We will build a regional coalition and collect the price from Iran, in the way and at the time that suits us,” said a key War Cabinet member, Benny Gantz.

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Iran launched the attack in response to a strike widely blamed on Israel that hit an Iranian consular building in Syria this month and killed two Iranian generals.

By Sunday morning, Iran said the attack was over, and Israel reopened its airspace. Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, claimed Iran had taught Israel a lesson and warned that “any new adventures against the interests of the Iranian nation would be met with a heavier and regretful response from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The foes have been engaged in a shadow war for years, but Sunday’s assault was the first time Iran launched a direct military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran said it targeted Israeli facilities involved in the Damascus strike, and that it told the White House early Sunday that the operation would be “minimalistic.”

But U.S. officials said Iran’s intent was to “destroy and cause casualties” and that if successful, the strikes would have caused an “uncontrollable” escalation. At one point, at least 100 ballistic missiles were in the air with just minutes of flight time to Israel, the officials said.

Israel said more than 99% of what Iran fired was intercepted, with just a few missiles getting through. An Israeli airbase sustained minor damage.

Israel has over the years established — often with the help of the U.S. — a multilayered air-defense network that includes systems capable of intercepting a variety of threats, including long-range missiles, cruise missiles, drones and short-range rockets.

That system, along with collaboration with the U.S. and others, helped thwart what could have been a far more devastating assault at a time when Israel is already deeply engaged in Gaza as well as low-level fighting on its northern border with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia. Both Hamas and Hezbollah are backed by Iran.

While thwarting the Iranian onslaught could help restore Israel’s image after the Hamas attack in October, what the Middle East’s best-equipped army does next will be closely watched in the region and in Western capitals — especially as Israel seeks to develop the coalition it praised Sunday.

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In Washington, Biden pledged to convene allies to develop a unified response. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. would hold talks with allies. After an urgent meeting, the Group of Seven countries unanimously condemned Iran’s attack and said they stood ready to take “further measures.”

Israel and Iran have been on a collision course throughout Israel’s war in Gaza. In the Oct. 7 attack, militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, also backed by Iran, killed 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 250 others. Israel’s offensive in Gaza has killed over 33,000 people, according to local health officials.

Hamas welcomed Iran’s attack, saying it was “a natural right and a deserved response” to the strike in Syria. It urged the Iran-backed groups in the region to continue to support Hamas in the war.

Hezbollah also welcomed the attack. Almost immediately after the war in Gaza erupted, Hezbollah began attacking Israel’s northern border. The two sides have been involved in daily exchanges of fire, while Iranian-backed groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have launched rockets and missiles toward Israel.

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Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Michelle L. Price in Washington; Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran; Samy Magdy in Cairo; Omar Akour in Amman, Jordan; and Giada Zampano in Rome contributed to this report.

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How to get rid of NYC rats without brutality? Birth control is one idea

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How to get rid of NYC rats without brutality? Birth control is one idea

New York lawmakers are proposing rules to humanely drive down the population of rats and other rodents, eyeing contraception and a ban on glue traps as alternatives to poison or a slow, brutal death.

Politicians have long come up with creative ways to battle the rodents, but some lawmakers are now proposing city and statewide measures to do more.

In New York City, the idea to distribute rat contraceptives got fresh attention in city government Thursday following the death of an escaped zoo owl, known as Flaco, who was found dead with rat poison in his system.

City Council Member Shaun Abreu proposed a city ordinance Thursday that would establish a pilot program for controlling the millions of rats lurking in subway stations and empty lots by using birth control instead of lethal chemicals. Abreu, chair of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management, said the contraceptives also are more ethical and humane than other methods.

The contraceptive, called ContraPest, is contained in salty, fatty pellets that are scattered in rat-infested areas as bait. It works by targeting ovarian function in female rats and disrupting sperm cell production in males, The New York Times reported.

New York exterminators currently kill rats using snap and glue traps, poisons that make them bleed internally, and carbon monoxide gas that can suffocate them in burrows. Some hobbyists have even trained their dogs to hunt them.

Rashad Edwards, a film and television actor who runs pest management company Scurry Inc. in New York City with his wife, said the best method he has found when dealing with rodents is carbon monoxide.

He tries to use the most humane method possible, and carbon monoxide euthanizes the rats slowly, putting them to sleep and killing them. Edwards avoids using rat poison whenever possible because it is dangerous and torturous to the rodents, he said.

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Some lawmakers in Albany are considering a statewide ban on glue boards under a bill moving through the Legislature. The traps, usually made from a slab of cardboard or plastic coated in a sticky material, can also ensnare small animals that land on its surface.

Edwards opposes a ban on sticky traps, because he uses them on other pests, such as ants, to reduce overall pesticide use. When ants get into a house, he uses sticky traps to figure out where they’re most often passing by. It helps him narrow zones of pesticide use “so that you don’t go spray the entire place.”

“This is not a problem we can kill our way out of,” said Jakob Shaw, a special project manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “It’s time to embrace these more common sense and humane methods.”

Two cities in California have passed bans on glue traps in recent years. On the federal level, a bill currently in committee would ban the traps nationwide.

“It ends a really inhumane practice of managing rat populations,” said Jabari Brisport, the New York state senator who represents part of Brooklyn and sponsored the bill proposing the new guidelines. “There are more effective and more humane ways to deal with rats.”

Every generation of New Yorkers has struggled to control rat populations. Mayor Eric Adams hired a “rat czar” last year tasked with battling the detested rodents. Last month, New York City reduced the amount of food served up to rats by mandating all businesses to put trash out in boxes.

While the war on rats has no end in sight, the exterminator Edwards said we can learn a lot from their resilience. The rodents, he said, can never be eradicated, only managed.

“They’re very smart, and they’re very wise,” he said. “It’s very inspiring but just — not in my house.”

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Coachella: Earthquake shakes SoCal desert during music fest

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Coachella: Earthquake shakes SoCal desert during music fest

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A small earthquake shook the Southern California desert Saturday near Coachella, where the famous music festival is being held this weekend. No damage or injuries were reported.

The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 3.8, hit at 9:08 a.m. about 8 miles (13 kilometers) northeast of Borrego Springs in Riverside County, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The epicenter was about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Coachella. It struck at a depth of about 7 miles (11 kilometers), the USGS said.

A dispatcher with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said there were no calls reporting any problems from the quake.

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