The toll in lives that Hurricane Ian exacted in Florida may take weeks to emerge, but the first list of confirmed deaths was released on Friday night by the state Medical Examiners Commission.
Autopsies of 23 people, ranging in age from 22 to 92, confirmed that most had drowned. Bodies were found submerged in their cars, floating in floodwaters and drowned on the beach. The majority of victims were over 60; 10 were over 70. The ages of three victims were unknown.
Most of the deaths took place in Lee County, home to hard-hit Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Sanibel Island.
There were also four deaths in Volusia County, home to Daytona Beach. One involved a woman who appeared to have been swept out to sea by a wave.
In addition to the drowning deaths, a 38-year-old man in Lake County died on Wednesday when his car hydroplaned. A 71-year-old man in Sarasota County died on Tuesday when he fell off a roof while putting up rain shutters. A 22-year-old woman in Manatee County was killed when she was ejected from an A.T.V. that rolled over on a flooded road on Friday.
Officials noted that the tally was only the beginning. “We do expect this number is going to go up,” said David Fierro, communications coordinator for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.