Hurricane Ian set to strike South Carolina | USA TODAY

Ian strengthened back into a Category 1 hurricane late Thursday and was set to make landfall Friday afternoon on the coast of South Carolina before moving inland across the state and into North Carolina by Saturday.

RELATED: Tropical Storm Ian brings historic flooding to Central Florida

Heavy rains and tropical storm conditions had already reached the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas by Friday morning, where life-threatening storm surge and hurricane conditions were expected to develop. Rainfall of up to 8 inches threatened flooding from South Carolina to Virginia, the National Weather Service reported.

Meanwhile across Florida, the death toll was rising as more than 2 million customers were without power Friday morning, according to utility tracker

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday the storm caused a "500-year flooding event" and said Coast Guard helicopters were plucking trapped residents from the roofs of homes. Communities across the state were or will be swamped by the overwhelming waters. "The impacts of this storm are historic and the damage that has been done is historic," DeSantis said. "We've never seen a flood event like this, we've never seen a storm surge of this magnitude."

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