Family finds missing woman who survived floodwaters of Ian

Banfield

(NewsNation) — Dianna Walz doesn’t know how to swim, yet somehow she managed to escape the floodwaters of Hurricane Ian that destroyed her home.

Her family is still looking for answers as to how Walz miraculously survived.

“She says it’s a miracle,” said Genevra Prothero, Walz’s aunt. Prothero joined NewsNation’s “Banfield” on Monday, along with Beverly Prothero, Walz’s sister.

The pair was among many who put out calls for help in the search for loved ones after Ian battered the southwestern city of Fort Myers, Florida. The death toll from the hurricane has now surpassed 100, including four people who have died in North Carolina.

Ian laid waste to a large chunk of Lee and Charlotte counties in southwest Florida and dumped torrential amounts of rain across the central and northeastern parts of the state. It made a second landfall in South Carolina before dissipating.

Walz left harrowing voicemails for her family as the water overtook her home, telling them “the car is underwater” and “the walls are moving.” On Sunday, Walz made contact after making it out alive, though the Protheros said she doesn’t remember how.

“She did have some injuries, she hurt her head … and a fork got stuck in her foot,” Beverly Prothero said. “I’m thinking that maybe the water had receded enough to where she could walk out, but we don’t really know.”

Walz chronicled her experience in a video posted to Facebook, her last post before she went missing. In the video, Walz expresses concern for her cat, which died in the storm.

“It was a very sad moment … and I don’t think anybody could imagine the desperation and fear that she had,” Beverly Prothero said.

Ian’s remnants have moved offshore and formed a Nor’easter that is expected to pile even more water into an already inundated Chesapeake Bay and threatened to cause the most significant tidal flooding event in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region in the last 10 to 15 years, said Cody Poche, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

With the death toll rising, Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the federal government was ready to help in a huge way, focusing first on victims in Florida, which took the brunt of one of the strongest storms to make landfall in the United States. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden plan to visit the state Wednesday.

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