Wrath across Florida

The aftermath of Hurricane Ian’s disastrous march through Florida’s core.

Fire Rescue first responders have rushed to areas affected by Hurricane Ian to rescue those left stranded by catastrophic flooding and ruin. Courtesy of Orange County Fire Rescues Public Information Office.

Orange County Fire Rescue's Public Information Office

Fire Rescue first responders have rushed to areas affected by Hurricane Ian to rescue those left stranded by catastrophic flooding and ruin. Courtesy of Orange County Fire Rescue’s Public Information Office.

Hurricane Ian, a class 4 hurricane, blew into Florida from the Caribbean sea on Wednesday, Sept 28, 2022.  According to abcnews.com, Hurricane Ian’s route of destruction had set Florida’s western coastline alight with evacuations as Floridians headed inland, to the other coast of Florida and to hurricane shelters. With massive flooding in a sea of rubble, here is a rundown of the effects Hurricane Ian had on Florida.

According to cbsnews.com, before hurricane Ian’s arrival in Florida it hit the westernmost end of Cuba. Many expected Ian’s force to decrease when it ran through Cuba, however Ian’s wind speeds unfortunately increased with its southern-collison. This raised hurricane Ian from a category 3 to a category 4 hurricane.

During this time, Floridians along the Western Florida coastline panicked to evacuate. Couple Scott Staniewski and Stacey Irene live on the coast of Goodland, Fla., about 60 miles South of Fort Myers. To avoid the dangers of hurricane Ian, Staniewski and Irene temporarily moved in with a friend who lives further inland in Florida. 

“Right now [at their current location inland] the surge and small tornadoes are our biggest scare,” Irene said.

According to The New York Times, tropical storm conditions began in Florida on the evening of Tuesday, Sept 27, 2022. This was swiftly followed by hurricane Ian’s crash into the western Florida coast at about 3 p.m. MDT on Wednesday, Sept 28, 2022.

Fort Myers and Tampa Bay were directly in the path of the hurricane’s eye and, therefore most affected when it collided with the Florida coast. According to foxweather.com, on Wednesday afternoon, storm surges in Fort Myers reached heights of 5.8 feet, breaking the previous Fort Myers surge record set by Hurricane Gabrielle in 2001 at 3.36 feet. The beginning of Ian’s push into Florida also brought detrimental winds and destructive waves along the Southwestern part of Florida’s coast. 

Between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Ian blasted its rain of destruction through Florida’s center before emerging onto the northeastern side of Florida’s coast as a tropical storm. Wind speeds later re-entered hurricane speeds when it crossed the Atlantic Ocean and headed towards South Carolina. 

By Thursday, Sept. 29, surges in Fort Myers had reached heights of over 12 feet. According to the Washington Post 10, river gauges in Florida are experiencing major flooding caused by 10-20 inches of rain across Florida’s center.

The extreme levels of rainfall in Hurricane Ian’s path. Courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and The National Weather Service.

On Thursday President Joe Biden made his remarks on what hurricane Ian was expected to entail. By early morning Friday, Sept. 30 a confirmed 12 people had died in the wake of hurricane Ian.

According to whithehouse.gov President Biden said that Hurricane Ian could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history with early reports of substantial loss of life.

Throughout the next week record flooding has continued in Florida. During this time first responders have been working tirelessly to save victims of Hurricane Ian’s destruction who have been trapped in areas with intense flooding.

This graph shows levels of rainfall in Hurricane Ian’s path. courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service.

Fire Rescue first responders rescuing victims stranded by Ian’s flooding or otherwise immobilized. Courtesy of Orange County Fire Rescue’s Public Information Office.

Senior Lynea Sekany lived in the area of Florida where hurricane Ian’s eye hit before moving to Antioch. In 2013 Sekany experienced Hurricane Irma, another class 4 hurricane. When hurricane Irma approached Florida Sekany temporarily moved into a friend’s hurricane-safe house.

“When we went back to our house it looked like it was on an island,” Sekany said. “The streets were extremely flooded, some vehicles couldn’t come in and out.”

While the majority of northern Florida has been spared from major destruction, the southwest coast will be slammed with rebuilding efforts for what could be years to come. Many Floridians who had evacuated the southwest coast have been shocked by the destruction they faced with their return.

The nation hopes for a speedy recovery in Florida and that victims may be safely returned to their homes.