Hurricane Ian Damages Florida Coastline


Satellite image of Hurricane Ian, specifically the eye of the storm

Sophia Vascellaro, Staff Writer

On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian made landfall along Florida’s gulf coast as a Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 155 miles per hour, driving a storm surge as high as 18 feet. It later ripped through Florida before turning out to sea to regain strength and pummel South Carolina. 


At least 119 people have died, New York Times reports, making it the third deadlists storm to hit the U.S. The storm slammed into Florida as a furious hurricane leaving in its wake some residents of island communities cut off from the mainland, and hundreds of thousands of people without power and many Floridians finding themselves homeless.


Rescuers have been returning to affected areas via boat and aircraft to save residents. More than 1,000 search teams went door to door looking for residents in need of rescue while the National Guard engineers were clearing roads along the western coast.The governor deployed more than 5,000 National Guard members to help with disaster recovery and prevent looting.


Sanibel Island is now cut off from the Florida peninsula as Ian wiped out a portion of the connecting roadway

“There are a lot of places that are not livable. There are places off their foundation, and it’s very dangerous out there,” Sanibel Fire Chief William Briscoe said in a CNN article. 

Crews have evacuated 1,000 people from Sanibel since Ian ripped through the island  Nearby Pine Island, the largest barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast, also faced extreme destruction. Just days before the storm hit, it was a tranquil fishing and kayaking destination known for its small-town atmosphere. Now the roadways lay cracked  beside destroyed homes. Ian destroyed the only bridge to Pine Island, making it only accessible by boat or aircraft. Supplies are now being airdropped to the island by helicopter as some residents choose to stay, authorities said. 

Emergency physician Dr. Ben Abo, who joined rescuers on Pine Island, said crews were encountering residents who were in denial the storm would hit the area and were running out of supplies.

“I’m seeing a lot of despair, but I’m also seeing hope,” Abo said. “I’m seeing urban search and rescue, fire rescue, bringing hope to people that we’re going to get through this. But we have to do it in stages.” he told CNN reporters.

Many counties did not prepare for Ian as they were originally predicted to be safe from the impact of the hurricane . Lee county only ordered an evacuation 24 hours ahead of Hurricane Ian’s landfall. Pendergrass, the Lee County Commission chair, said that they didn’t order residents to leave sooner because the county was outside of the storm’s projected “cone” three days earlier. 

State and local officials continue to defend Lee County’s decision to wait until the day before Ian made landfall to issue evacuation orders for the low-lying area. “Emergency management directors do not have a crystal ball,” Kevin Guthrie, head of Florida’s emergency management division, said at a press conference.

Even weeks after the hurricane, Florida and the Carolinas are still facing the effects of the natural disaster.