Thursday, September 28 marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Ian slamming into Florida's Gulf Coast. Ian was the 6th category four or stronger storm to hit the Gulf Coast in just 6 years. The other storms to precede it were:
Ian made landfall in Cayo Costa, Florida as a Category 4 storm with winds of 155 miles per hour. Post storm analysis showed Ian was a monster CAT 5 just before landfall. Our field correspondents covering the storm witness roofs fly off buildings and tremendous damage in the eyewall of the storm.
And though Ian's winds were fierce, the storm will be remembered for its incredible surge. 12 feet of surge slammed Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island. The seawater took over the first floors of homes and wiped away entire buildings on barrier islands.
Farther south, in the front right quadrant of the storm, dramatic surge overtook Naples and Marco Island. Sadly, 41 people lost their lives as a result of storm surge, 36 in Lee County, FL alone (home of Cape Coral and Fort Myers).
Over 2,000 people were rescued in the aftermath of Ian, airlifted from barrier islands like Sanibel where the causeway was wiped away in the storm. Many roads were destroyed and all terrain vehicles came in to pull people to safety.
Ian's impacts stretched beyond that of Southwest Florida: over 20" of rain fell in central and Northeast Florida, turning roads into rivers from Orlando to Daytona. Onshore flow pounded the seawall at Daytona Beach, which then was hit later in the season by Hurricane Nicole leading to homes collapsing into the ocean.
After a grueling 24 hours in Florida, Ian reemerged over the Atalntic making a final landfall as a category one hurricane on September 30th near Georgetown, South Carolina. Storm surge on the order of 2-4' impacted coastal South Carolina and the Outer Banks of North Carolina along with torrential rainfall that lead to the evacuation of communities.
Sadly, 150 people lost their lives as a result of hurricane Ian, which is the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history and the costliest for Florida.