Hurricane Ian, the formerly category 4 storm that has left millions of Floridians with flooded homes and without power, may be the worst such storm in the history of the Sunshine State, President Joe Biden has said.

“This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida history,” said Mr Biden, who addressed Federal Emergency Management Agency staff during a briefing at Fema headquarters on Thursday.

The president said federal officials have been receiving “early reports” of what he said may be “substantial loss of life” in the storm’s wake, but he also said search and rescue operations had commenced before dawn in hopes of aiding people who are “stranded and who are in desperate shape” including water rescues by Coast Guard personnel.

In response to a reporter’s question, Mr Biden said he has spoken to Florida governor Ron DeSantis “four or five times already” and noted that Mr DeSantis — a potential 2024 rival — has thanked him for the “immediate response” from the federal government. He said the Florida governor has said he is “extremely happy with what was going on”.

“This is not about whether an anything having to do with our disagreements politically. This is about saving people's lives, homes and businesses. That's what this is about,” he said.

Read More

Dramatic video shows moment a Florida woman is rescued from nearly submerged car during Hurricane Ian flooding

Biden and DeSantis speak again and commit to ‘continued close coordination’ on Hurricane Ian

Where to donate to help those impacted by Hurricane Ian