Hurricane Ian barrels into the Southeast United States
Hurricane Ian is the latest and strongest storm in the 2022 Hurricane season. This Atlantic storm arrived on Florida shores as a category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of 150 mph to 155 mph. This makes Hurricane Ian the fifth-strongest storm when measured by wind speed.
Ian made landfall in the vicinity of Fort Myers, Florida, bringing in storm surges as high as 12 feet. Historic flooding was seen on Florida’s southwest coast and the worst is yet to come. Meteorologists predicted the storm to move across the state and go up towards the Georgia/South Carolina border.
Meteorologist predicted storm surge
Two barrier islands off the coast of Fort Myers have been made inaccessible due to the destruction of two bridges ( Sanibel Causeway and Pine Island bridge). Hurricanes gain strength from warm waters so as it crossed through central Florida it was downgraded to a tropical storm.
Forecasters expected this storm to increase to a category 1 as it cruises up the Georgia coastline. Hurricane Ian is forecasted to bring 74+ mph sustained winds. As of September 29th, around 3-4 million Florida residents are reported out of power due to the storm’s power according to Florida’s Division of Emergency Management. These numbers are around 400,000 as of October 6th.
“We have to be prepared, that’s all we can do ”, a South Carolina resident said as they braced for impact Friday, September 30th.
The current death toll has been reported to come to a total of 120 in Florida (50+ in Lee County alone), this does not include the deaths in South Carolina and North Carolina according to https://www.cnn.com. Recovery and rescue efforts have been ongoing due to the loss of shelter, food, and other necessities. The cost of damage is not definite, Corelogic expects Ian to cost around $47 billion in Florida alone.
Sanibel island is off the coast of mainland Florida and is currently disconnected. The pathway to get from the mainland to Sanibel was destroyed by the storm. Sanibel’s Fire Chief William Briscoe has stated that snakes and alligators are abundant roaming the island.
“ There were about 5 to 6 feet of water, boardwalks destroyed, and homes completely flooded,” South Carolina resident Hadiyah Jones stated.
South Carolina residents rushed to safety as flood waters rose rapidly.
The storm posed a threat in a widespread area, sparing some more than others. Florida being the hardest hit suffers tremendously followed by South and North Carolina. This is a reminder for many coastal residents of the true power and danger of a Hurricane.