Hurricane Ian
Ian at peak intensity while approaching southwest Florida on September 28.
Meteorological history
FormedSeptember 23, 2022
ExtratropicalSeptember 30, 2022
DissipatedOctober 1, 2022
Category 5 hurricane
1-minute sustained (SSHWS/NWS)
Highest winds160 mph (260 km/h)
Lowest pressure937 mbar (hPa); 27.67 inHg
Overall effects
Fatalities161
Missing13
Damage$113 billion (2022 USD)
(Third-costliest tropical cyclone on record; costliest in Florida history)
Areas affectedTrinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Colombia, ABC islands, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Southeast United States (especially Florida and The Carolinas)
IBTrACSEdit this at Wikidata / [1][2][3]

Part of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Ian was a deadly and extremely destructive Category 5 Atlantic hurricane, which was the third-costliest weather disaster on record, the deadliest hurricane to strike the state of Florida since the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, and the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Michael in 2018.[4][5] Ian caused widespread damage across western Cuba, Florida, and the Carolinas. Ian was the ninth named storm, fourth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. Ian was the first Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic since Lorenzo in 2019, and the fifth since 2016 to reach that strength before making landfall in the contiguous United States.[6]

Ian originated from a tropical wave that moved off the coast of Western Africa and across the central tropical Atlantic towards the Windward Islands. The wave moved into the Caribbean Sea on September 21 bringing heavy rain and gusty winds to Trinidad and Tobago, the ABC islands, and the northern coast of South America. On the morning of September 23, the wave had enough organization to be designated as a tropical depression, after which it strengthened into Tropical Storm Ian early the next day while it was southeast of Jamaica. As Ian rapidly intensified into a high-end Category 3 hurricane it made landfall in western Cuba. Heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding across the area resulting in a nationwide power outage. Ian lost a minimal amount of strength while over land and soon re-strengthened while over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. It peaked as a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 160 mph (260 km/h) early on September 28, while progressing towards the west coast of Florida, and made landfall just below peak intensity in Southwest Florida on Cayo Costa Island.[1] In doing so, Ian tied with several other storms to become the 5th-strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the contiguous U.S.[7] After moving inland, Ian quickly weakened to a tropical storm before moving back offshore into the Atlantic. There it re-strengthened to become a hurricane once again before making its final landfall in South Carolina on September 30. Ian became extratropical shortly after landfall and fully dissipated by early the next day.

Hurricane Ian caused 161 fatalities: 5 in Cuba,[3] 150 in Florida,[8][a] 5 in North Carolina,[10] and 1 in Virginia.[11] Ian caused catastrophic damage with losses estimated to be around $113 billion.[12] Much of the damage was from flooding brought about by a storm surge of 10–15 ft (3.0–4.6 m).[13] The cities of Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Naples were particularly hard hit, leaving millions without power in the storm's wake and numerous inhabitants forced to take refuge on their roofs. Sanibel Island, Fort Myers Beach, and Pine Island bore the brunt of Ian's powerful winds and its accompanying storm surge at landfall, which leveled nearly all standing structures and collapsed the Sanibel Causeway and the Matlacha Bridge to Pine Island, entrapping those left on the islands for several days.

Meteorological history

Map plotting the storm's track and intensity, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale
Map key
  Tropical depression (≤38 mph, ≤62 km/h)
  Tropical storm (39–73 mph, 63–118 km/h)
  Category 1 (74–95 mph, 119–153 km/h)
  Category 2 (96–110 mph, 154–177 km/h)
  Category 3 (111–129 mph, 178–208 km/h)
  Category 4 (130–156 mph, 209–251 km/h)
  Category 5 (≥157 mph, ≥252 km/h)
  Unknown
Storm type
triangle Extratropical cyclone, remnant low, tropical disturbance, or monsoon depression

Ian originated from a tropical wave producing a large amount of showers and thunderstorms moving off the west coast of Africa on September 14–15.[1] The wave subsequently moved westward, passing south of the Cape Verde Islands with occasional bursts of convection during the ensuing six days.[1] On September 22, as the disturbance tracked west-northwestward it showed signs of increasing organization. Strong wind shear with 30–35 mph (45–55 km/h) winds generated by the upper-level outflow from Hurricane Fiona inhibited development into a tropical depression.[14] A well-defined circulation was still able to form within the disturbance by 06:00  September 23; its convection then increased and became persistent overnight into the next day. As a result, it was designated Tropical Depression Nine at that time.[1]

Hurricane Ian viewed by the Expedition 67 crew on board the International Space Station on September 28

By 00:00 UTC on September 24, the depression's wind speed had increased to 40 mph (64 km/h), at which time it became Tropical Storm Ian. Moderate-to-strong vertical wind shear hindered development of Ian until late the following day; it began rapidly intensifying at 18:00 UTC September 25. Ian became a hurricane 12 hours later and a major hurricane after another 24 hours. At approximately 08:30 UTC on September 27, Ian made landfall on western Cuba as a high-end Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) and a pressure of 947 mbar (27.96 inHg), becoming the strongest tropical cyclone to impact Pinar del Río Province since Hurricane Gustav in 2008.[1][15] Ian weakened to a low-end major hurricane with 115 mph (185 km/h) winds as it emerged off the coast of Cuba and into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico around 14:00 UTC.[1] Ian restrengthened slightly once offshore, then initiated an eyewall replacement cycle causing its wind speed to remain steady at 120 mph (195 km/h) for about 12 hours. Its central pressure continued to fall to a minimum of 947 mbar (27.96 inHg) before temporarily rising to 952 mbar (28.11 inHg) by 02:00 UTC, when it moved over the Dry Tortugas with winds of 125 mph (205 km/h).[1] Ian completed the eyewall replacement cycle shortly afterwards and began rapidly intensifying once more. By 12:00 UTC on September 28, Ian strengthened further to its peak intensity as a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 160 mph (260 km/h) and an estimated central pressure of 937 mbar (27.67 inHg) as it neared Southwest Florida,[1] despite outflow being restricted in its southwestern quadrant by moderate wind shear.[16] Operationally, the NHC classified Ian as a high-end Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph (250 km/h), but during post-season reanalysis concluded a peak wind speed of 160 mph (260 km/h) based on stepped frequency microwave radiometer measurements of 158–159 mph (254–256 km/h).[1] At around this time, a NOAA weather drone measured wind gusts reaching up to 216 mph (348 km/h).[17] Ian maintained its intensity for several hours before weakening to a Category 4 hurricane as it approached the coast of Florida. At 19:05 UTC, Ian made landfall on Cayo Costa with sustained winds of 150 mph (240 km/h) and an estimated central pressure of 941 mbar (27.79 inHg), becoming the first Category 4 hurricane to impact Southwest Florida since Charley in 2004, which made landfall at the same location.[18][19] Ian then made a second landfall just south of Punta Gorda near Pirate Harbor at 20:35 UTC with 145 mph (230 km/h) winds.[20]

Ian weakened to Category 3 strength by 00:00 UTC the next day.[1] Continual land interaction resulted in the frictional displacement of the system, and that coupled with high vertical wind shear caused Ian to quickly degrade to a tropical storm by 12:00 UTC as it moved north-northeast off of the eastern Florida coastline.[1] At 00:00 UTC, the system's low-level circulation had completely emerged off of the coast of Florida, and although the convection was slightly offset to the north, Ian reintensified to a Category 1 hurricane at that time.[1] The system turned northward on the morning of September 30 and accelerated toward the South Carolina coast. It strengthened some during this time, as deep convection re-developed near the center and hybrid frontal features moved away.[21] The system made its final landfall that afternoon near Georgetown, South Carolina, at 18:05 UTC, with sustained winds of 80 mph (130 km/h). Ian became extratropical a few hours later over northeastern South Carolina, and fully dissipated over central North Carolina by 12:00 UTC on October 1.[1]

Preparations

Caribbean

Jamaica

The Meteorological Service of Jamaica issued tropical storm watches for the island of Jamaica on September 23. Flood warnings and marine warnings were issued simultaneously.[22]

Cayman Islands

The government of the Cayman Islands issued hurricane watches for its three islands, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, on September 23 at 21:00 UTC as Ian was projected to pass over the British Overseas Territory as a hurricane.[22] The National Emergency Operations Centre had gone into full activation mode. Along with the emergency services, the Cayman Islands Regiment and Cayman Islands Coast Guard saw the full mobilization and deployment of their personnel. In addition, the Governor of the Cayman Islands, Martyn Roper, requested for the United Kingdom to further deploy additional military assets to the islands for Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief Operations. Subsequently, HMS Medway was deployed to the Cayman Islands. Helicopters from Royal Cayman Islands Police Service were also deployed to assist in the operation. At the time one of the helicopters was deployed to the Turks and Caicos Islands before the development of Ian to assist recovery efforts there after the passage of Hurricane Fiona. The Royal Navy also deployed its helicopter to assist. Schools, universities, and education centers closed on the evening of September 23. On September 24 at 18:00 UTC, the hurricane watch for Grand Cayman was upgraded to a hurricane warning, and the hurricane watch for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman was changed to a tropical storm watch. Flood warnings along with marine warnings were also issued for Grand Cayman.[23] The Cayman Islands Airports Authority continued operating the airports until the afternoon of September 25. Then the airports closed and the aircraft at the airports were evacuated.[24]

Hurricane Ian shortly after its landfall over western Cuba early on September 27

Cuba

Authorities in Cuba issued evacuation orders for around 50,000 people in the Pinar del Rio province and set up around 55 shelters before the storm. State media stated that steps were being taken to protect food and crops in warehouses. Locals removed fishing boats in Havana, and city workers inspected and unclogged storm drains.[25][26]

United States

Amtrak suspended its Auto Train service for September 27–28 and truncated the September 26 southbound Silver Star service, which was already on a modified schedule due to the suspension of the Silver Meteor service, at Jacksonville, Florida, on September 27. Silver Star service was canceled for September 27–28 with the northbound Silver Star for September 29 also canceled.[27] Ian's updated track forecast then prompted them to suspend those services through October 1.[28] Palmetto service was also truncated for Washington D.C., on September 30[29] and October 1.[30] As Ian dissipated over the Carolinas, Amtrak modified its schedule, truncating the October 2 southbound Silver Star at Jacksonville, which would be the origin of the October 3 northbound Silver Star. Bus transportation was provided for Orlando and Tampa.[31] Additionally, the resumption of the Silver Meteor service, which had been suspended since January 24, 2022, due to a resurgence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, was pushed back from October 3 to 11.[32] The modified schedule and the resumption of service for the Silver Meteor was then pushed out to October 13 due to the extensive damage inflicted along the Central Florida Rail Corridor.[33] Full resumptions of both of these services would occur over a period from October 14–17.[34]

Satellite image showing Hurricane Ian making landfall in southwestern Florida on September 28

The ninth public hearing of the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, scheduled for September 28 was postponed.[35] The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia declared a state of emergency in preparation for the incoming storm.[36][37][38][39] Over 3,500 flights were canceled as a direct result of Ian.[40][41][42] Amazon canceled warehouse operations in some facilities.

Florida

On September 24, Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all of Florida.[43] Tampa Bay area schools also announced closures, and several colleges and universities, including the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa, and Eckerd College announced that they were canceling classes and closing.[44][45] By September 27, 55 public school districts across the state announced cancellations, many through the end of the week.[46] Officials at the Kennedy Space Center delayed the launch of NASA's Artemis 1, and the rocket was returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building.[47] President Joe Biden approved a state of emergency declaration for Florida on September 24.[48][49] Many airports and ports in Tampa, Tampa Bay, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Key West, and other places announced that they would be suspending operations.[50][51][52][53] Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando said that they would be closing attractions.[54][55] A number of stores and restaurants like Walmart and Waffle House were closed because of the impending dangerous weather.[56][57]

President Biden meeting with FEMA officials in advance of the hurricane on September 29

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for parts of multiple counties.[58] Around 300,000 people were evacuated in Hillsborough County (which centers on Tampa) with schools and other locations being used as shelters. Before the impact school closures and mandatory evacuations were made across much of the Florida peninsula. DeSantis mobilized 5,000 Florida state national guard troops.[26] Another 2,000 were deployed on standby in neighboring states.[26] Officials in Tallahassee and nearby cities commissioned the monitoring of local power lines and scouring of storm-water systems to make sure them prepared and secure.[59]

The college football game between the East Carolina Pirates and the South Florida Bulls was moved from South Florida's stadium in Tampa to Boca Raton.[60] The Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League moved practices from Tampa south to the Miami Dolphins training facility in Miami Gardens.[61]

All three national parks in Florida closed in preparation for the hurricane.[62][63] The Florida section of Gulf Islands National Seashore was also closed.[64]

Georgia

Governor Brian Kemp ordered the activation of the State Operations Center on September 26 which began preparations for the impact of the storm in the later part of the week.[59] Many farmers prepared before the storm by turning off irrigation systems attempting to dry out the ground while harvesting what they could (much of the state's cotton crop had not been harvested yet).[65] Atlanta Motor Speedway opened their campgrounds to hurricane evacuees.[66] The construction project to improve I-16 in Chatham County was put on hold until the storm passed as well.[67]

South Carolina

Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency and activated the emergency operations plan for the state.[68] The college football game between the South Carolina State Bulldogs and South Carolina Gamecocks scheduled for October 1 at 12:00 p.m. was moved up to September 29 at 7:00 p.m. on account of the storm.[69] On September 29, the National Park Service announced that Congaree National Park will be closed until at least October 2.[70] The National Forest Service, meanwhile, closed both Francis Marion National Forest and Sumter National Forest.[71] On September 30, the Weather Prediction Center issued a moderate risk of excessive rainfall for a large portion of South Carolina and North Carolina. In the afternoon of September 30, Hurricane Ian made landfall just south of Georgetown, South Carolina causing moderate flooding in the streets.[72][73]

Other states

Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama and Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina opened their campgrounds to hurricane evacuees.[66][74][75] In Washington, D.C., a Major League Baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals was rescheduled.[76]

Bahamas

The eastward shift in Ian's track as well as the increasing size of the hurricane prompted the issuance of a tropical storm warning for Bimini and Grand Bahama in The Bahamas late on September 27.[77]

Impact

Fatalities and monetary damage
Country Region Deaths Damage
(USD)
Cuba Pinar del Río 5[3] $200 million
(Per Karen Clark
& Company)
[78]
United States Florida 150*[1][8][a] $113 billion (Per NOAA)
South Carolina 0
North Carolina 5[10]
Virginia 1[11]
Total:0 161 $113 billion
* Includes 7 Cuban migrant deaths offshore counted by Florida[79]

Caribbean

Southern Caribbean and South America

The disturbance brought gusty winds and heavy rain to Trinidad and Tobago, the ABC islands, and to the northern coasts of Venezuela and Colombia, causing flooding and minor damage.[14][80]

Cayman Islands

Minimal impacts were felt on the Cayman Islands as the storm passed to its west. The all-clear for the Islands was called at 3:00 pm. EDT on September 26 from the National Emergency Operations Center.[81] Several inches of rain and wind gusts of up to 50 mph (80 km/h) were observed at Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman, along with minor storm surge flooding.[82] Minor damage and scattered power outages were also reported.[83]

Cuba

Striking western Cuba as a Category 3 hurricane, Ian caused extensive damage throughout Pinar del Río and Mayabeque provinces. The storm made landfall at 4:30 local time on September 27, in Pinar del Río.[84] A peak wind gust of 129 mph (208 km/h) was observed in San Juan y Martínez. A 24-hour rainfall total of 4.3 in (108.3 mm) was measured on Isla de la Juventud. Significant storm surge inundation occurred along the coasts of the Gulf of Guanahacabibes and Isla de la Juventud.[85] Ian caused a power outage in Pinar del Río, cutting power to the entire province, which had a population of 850,000.[86] The Cuba Institute of Meteorology located in Havana reported a sustained wind of 56 mph (90 km/h) with a gust to 87 mph (140 km/h) during the afternoon of September 27.[87] Five people were killed in Cuba: a man in San Juan y Martínez who was electrocuted while disconnecting a wind turbine used for irrigating his field, a 43-year-old woman who died when one of the walls of her house collapsed, two state technicians who were working on repairing breakdowns caused by Ian, and a fifth person of unknown cause.[3][88][89][90]

In the early morning of September 28, the storm knocked out power to the entirety of Cuba after a collapse of its power grid; it left 11 million people without power.[91][89]

United States

Florida

Hurricane Ian radar image of landfall near Cayo Costa State Park in Southwest Florida on September 28, 2022

On September 29, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno, whose jurisdiction covers Cape Coral and Fort Myers, estimated that thousands of people may still be trapped in floodwaters.[92] President Biden said the storm could end up as the deadliest in Florida's history.[93] In an interview on September 29, Marceno said that hundreds of deaths may have occurred, but he and Governor DeSantis later downplayed the remark.[92][94]

According to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, as of February 3, 2023, 149 people were confirmed to have died across Florida as a direct result of Hurricane Ian.[95] 72 of those deaths occurred in Lee County, and 9 occurred in neighboring Charlotte County.[8][a] In the Florida Keys, seven Cuban migrants drowned when their boat capsized off Stock Island, in Monroe County, as Ian moved through; 11 others were missing.[96][79] In addition, ten people died in Sarasota and Collier Counties; seven in Monroe and Volusia Counties; five in Hillsborough, Manatee, and Osceola Counties; four in Hardee County; three in Orange and Putnam Counties; two each in Hendry and Polk Counties; and one each in DeSoto, Lake, and Martin, Miami-Dade and St. Lucie Counties.[8] Ian also caused two indirect deaths in Sarasota County, a 94-year-old man, and an 80-year-old woman, both due to disabled oxygen machines that they were using.[97] Another from Lee County reportedly died by suicide after seeing the extent of damage done to his property after the storm.[98]

Overall, more than 2.4 million people in Florida lost power during the storm and in its aftermath.[99][100] Rainfall in Ponce Inlet was recorded at 31.52 inches (80.1 cm).[101] Total damage in Florida was estimated at $109.5 billion.[1]

South Florida and the Florida Keys
Damage in Kings Point, Florida from an EF2 tornado which was spawned by Hurricane Ian

Tropical-storm-force winds were observed at Key West International Airport before 22:00 UTC (18:00 EDT) the same day;[102] the city of Key West subsequently recorded its third-highest storm surge since 1913.[103] Coastal flooding impacted 93 homes, with 38 experiencing substantial damage and 55 others suffering minor damage, while several cars on the south side of the Truman Annex were flooded. Residents of approximately 24 family units in that neighborhood fled their dwellings due to rising floodwaters. Additionally, a fire ignited during the storm demolished 14 business and 14 residential units.[104] The southwest side of Stock Island reported several impassable streets and widespread flood damage to sheds and outbuildings. Similar impacts occurred on islands north of there through Big Pine Key. Almost 10,000 customers beyond the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge lost power, roughly one-third of electrical subscribers in the Lower Florida Keys. Storm surge flooding farther north briefly left some streets impassible, while winds caused isolated and sporadic power outages. Throughout the Florida Keys, the hurricane ripped about 150 vessels loose from their moorings.[104]

Several tornadoes touched down in South Florida as the storm approached on September 27–28; 12 tornadoes touched down with all but one of them occurring in the Miami metropolitan area.[105] One EF1 tornado severely damaged over 20 aircraft and several hangars at the North Perry Airport in Broward County; additional structures and trees were also damaged.[106] An EF2 tornado on the night of September 27 overturned multiple cars, shattered windows, damaged several roofs, and toppled a large tree onto an apartment building at Kings Point in Palm Beach County, injuring two people.[107] Another EF1 tornado damaged several roofs and caused some significant tree damage in Wellington and Loxahatchee.[108][109] The same storm quickly produced another EF1 tornado as the first one dissipated; damage was inflicted to trees and the roofs of a stable and a house.[110] The other tornadoes were rated EFU-EF0. Wind gusts reportedly did not exceed 60 mph (97 km/h) in the Gold Coast, but some minor wind damage was reported and power outages in the tri-county area affected 15,632 customers.[111]

Southwest Florida
6-hour rainfall totals for Hurricane Ian; showing areas with a widespread amount (8–12 inches) of rain on September 28

With the storm making landfall in Southwest Florida on September 28 as a strong Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 155 mph (249 km/h),[112] the National Weather Service in Tampa issued multiple extreme wind warnings, indicating the likelihood for damage caused by sustained winds of 115 mph (185 km/h) or greater.[113] Heavy precipitation across the region prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood emergency for portions of Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties due to accumulated rainfall of 20+ inches (508+ mm).[114] The National Hurricane Center's advisory at 15:00 UTC warned that the "extremely dangerous eyewall of Ian" is "moving onshore."[115] Sustained hurricane-force winds were confirmed in several places at the landfall point in Southwest Florida, including one report southeast of Cape Coral, where the location recorded a wind gust of 140 mph (225 km/h), around the time of Ian's second landfall.[116][117] A private weather station near Port Charlotte reported a sustained wind of 115 mph (185 km/h), with a wind gust of 132 mph (212 km/h).[118]

The hardest-hit areas were in Lee County, where catastrophic damage occurred as Ian pushed a destructive 10–15 ft (3.0–4.6 m) storm surge into Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Island, and Bonita Springs, just south of where its eye made landfall.[13] Combined with high winds this resulted in damage to 52,514 buildings and homes, which included minor damage to 16,314 structures, major damage to 14,245 structures, and the destruction of 5,369 others. A preliminary estimate placed building damages at $6.8 billion.[117]

Additionally, a large portion of the Sanibel Causeway collapsed and washed away during the storm, cutting off all vehicle access to Sanibel.[119][120] Vehicular access to the island was re-established on October 11 for emergency workers and public access was re-established October 21 for local residents.[121] This cut off the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, forcing them to temporarily close.[122] The hurricane damaged the Matlacha Bridge and washed out the approach to it which connected Pine Island to the mainland.[123] A temporary bridge was opened for public use on October 5.[124] Both the Sanibel Causeway and the Matlacha Bridge are eligible for federal bridge rehabilitation funds.[123][117] Strong winds also resulted in a widespread downing of electrical poles, trees and tree limbs, road signs, and traffic signals. Consequently, there were significant disruptions in communication and electrical services; falling debris blocked many roadways.[117]

U.S. 17 flooded at Charlie Creek in Hardee County

In Collier County, rising coastal floodwaters in the Naples area trapped people and prompted numerous calls for rescue. Water entered the first floor of several parking garages, impacting many cars. A fire station was completely flooded, substantially damaging nearly all of the equipment in the building.[125] Damages in Naples alone was estimated at $989 million.[111] The ambulance bay and helipad were inundated at a hospital in North Naples. Multiple rescues occurred in Goodland after some people unsuccessfully attempted to flee the storm surge. Farther inland 4 to 6 ft (1.2 to 1.8 m) of water covered portions of US 41 near Carnestown.[125] Aside from Naples Ian caused $256 million in damages in Marco Island, $7.1 million in Everglades City, and $948 million in unincorporated areas. Throughout the county, the hurricane caused major impacts to 3,515 commercial and residential structures and demolished 33 others. Building damages alone in Collier County totaled about $2.2 billion.[111]

A downed Marathon gas station in El Jobean, Charlotte County, Florida

After moving across Charlotte Harbor, the eye of Hurricane Ian made landfall on the Florida Peninsula in Charlotte County, near Punta Gorda. While escaping the Storm Surge that occurred further to the south, catastrophic wind damage occurred in Charlotte County. In all, more than 200 homes were destroyed in Charlotte County. Ian also dumped over 2 feet of rain in portions of the county, with the storm maximum rainfall total of 26 inches (660 mm) being recorded in Grove City.[1]

Further inland, Winds affected 112 structures in Hendry County, with damages estimated at $419,000. Parts of Glades County likely experienced hurricane-force wind gusts, destroying 3 structures, causing major damage to 14 structures and inflicting minor damage on 25 others. An EF0 tornado in Moore Haven damaged trees and homes and tipped over two storage trailers.[111][126] Several counties inland experienced heavy rains during Ian. In Hardee County, the Peace River crested at a record height of 27.2 ft (8.3 m) near Zolfo Springs, while wind gusts reached 81 mph (130 km/h) in Wauchula. The county also reported minor damage to 367 buildings and homes, major damage to 114 buildings and homes, and the destruction of 18 others. Wind gusts in Highlands County peaked at 78 mph (126 km/h) at the Sebring Regional Airport, leaving 56,690 customers without power; approximately 89% of the county had no electricity. Ian spawned a brief tornado in Lake Placid and possibly another in Sebring.[117]

Greater Tampa Bay Area
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis holds a press conference while touring the damage in North Port, Sarasota County on October 2, 2022

Although the storm was a considerable threat to the majority of the Tampa Bay area, Ian's core remained well to the south of Tampa and St. Petersburg. Ian's offshore flow pulled a large amount of water out of Tampa Bay,[127] with tides reaching 5 to 7 ft (1.5 to 2.1 m) below normal at the Hillsborough County side of the bay. Parts of the county also received 5 to 8 in (130 to 200 mm) of precipitation and wind gusts generally ranging from 65 to 75 mph (105 to 121 km/h). Damages in Hillsborough County totaled $54.8 million. Tides also decreased in Pinellas County, falling to 4 ft (1.2 m) below average along the coast and 5 ft (1.5 m) in Tampa Bay. A total of 191,415 customers lost electricity, over one-third of the county. Overall, 31 dwellings reported major damage and 86 others suffered minor damage. Ian caused $22.6 million in damages throughout Pinellas County. Ian produced wind gusts up to 75 mph (121 km/h) and rainfall ranging from 4 to 12 in (100 to 300 mm) in Polk County. Around 35% of customers lost electricity, while wind damage varied from isolated in Lakeland to much more commonplace in Fort Meade and Frostproof. Overall, Ian caused minor damage to 799 structures and major damage to 192 others in the county.[117] Areas north of Tampa reported minor or sporadic wind damage, including some tree damage and a loss of shingles in Pasco, Citrus, and Levy counties.[117] The Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team was forced to postpone two preseason games due to the storm.[128]

Flooding and Damage from Hurricane Ian in North Port, Sarasota County

The most impacted areas of the Greater Tampa Bay region were in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Sarasota County reported extensive tree and structural damage due to wind, as well as significant flooding in inland areas, specifically in and around Venice and North Port.[117] Most of the southern portion of the county remained in Ian's northern eyewall for nearly five hours, subjected to extreme wind and over 20 inches (508 mm) of rain, which caused catastrophic flooding.[129] In North Port, vast portions of the city were impassible due to floodwaters, while the Myakka River reached a record flood stage on September 30 of 12.55 ft (3.83 m), forcing a 12 mi (19 km) portion of I-75 to close on Friday as the Myakka River overtopped the bridge and flooded the highway.[130] On October 2, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visited North Port, and described the flooding as the worst he had seen across Florida.[131] Venice turned off the water supply to the island of Venice, which has since been restored.[40] Ian brought similar conditions to Manatee County. The cyclone destroyed 10 structures there, 297 structures were majorly impacted, and 891 others had minor impacts. Overall, the storm left over 1.05 million cubic yards (803,000 cubic meters) of debris in Sarasota County, and over 233,000 cubic yards (155,000 cubic meters) of debris in Manatee County. As of October 10, 2022, the damage estimates in Sarasota and Manatee County totaled over $230 million.[132]

East Central Florida

Strong winds in Okeechobee County caused minor damage to 113 structures, major damage to 35 structures, and the destruction of 2 structures. Damages there reached about $1.4 million. Martin County reported mostly isolated wind impacts, which included damage to a mobile home and a tree falling onto a residence at a fishing camp along Lake Okeechobee. Along the coast, erosion damages totaled about $6 million.[133] Hundreds of sea turtle eggs were destroyed and scattered across the Fort Pierce beach.[134] Ian wrought little structural impacts in Indian River County, although a loss of up to 100,000 cu yd (76,000 m3) of sand was reported, with a replacement expected to cost nearly $4 million. In Osceola County, severe flooding affected or damaged some 900 businesses and 3,200 dwellings, leading to around $148 million in private property damages. The worst of the floods in the county occurred near Lake Center and in parts of Kissimmee and St. Cloud.[133]

Most neighborhoods in Orlando were flooded as many of the city's numerous lakes overflowed, with the city receiving 14 in (360 mm) of rain. About 250 people were rescued.[135] This heavy rain, combined with Hurricane Nicole in November, led to Orlando recording their wettest meteorological autumn on record in 2022.[136] Orlando International Airport recorded wind gusts of up to 74 mph (119 km/h).[137] Near the University of Central Florida, hundreds of students were displaced after several nearby off-campus apartment complexes flooded.[138] Property damages in Orange County were estimated at $206 million.[139] In Seminole County, extensive floods occurred in areas adjacent to the Little Wekiva River in Altamonte Springs, the St. Johns River at Lake Harney and in Sanford, and the larger and smaller branches of the Econlockhatchee River near Oviedo. Ian destroyed 2 structures, caused major damage to 1,076 structures, and inflicted minor impacts on 580 others. Damages in Seminole County totaled about $241 million. Heavy precipitation inundated many areas along the St. Johns River in Lake County, particularly around Astor. The cyclone caused minor damage to 61 structures and major impacts to 49 others, with damages in the county estimated at $4.5 million. Severe flooding also occurred to the east in Volusia County, especially adjacent to Lake Monroe and the St. Johns River. Along the coast, the storm surge caused extensive impacts to seawalls in the vicinity of Daytona Beach.[133] In New Smyrna Beach, about 180 residents had to be evacuated due to rising floodwaters,[140] with the coastal town receiving almost 21 in (530 mm) of rain according to a preliminary report released by the National Weather Service. Around 247,000 customers lost power during the storm in Volusia County alone. The hurricane caused minor impacts to 1,197 structures, major impacts to 181 structures, and the destruction of 40 others. Damages in Volusia County were estimated at $128 million.[133] Near June Park to the west of Melbourne, Ian spawned a weak EF0 tornado that damaged only trees and no buildings.[141] Kennedy Space Center received wind gusts as high as 108 mph (174 km/h), but only minor damage occurred.[142] Storm surge and high tides in Brevard County caused about $7 million in damage to dunes and beach crossovers.[133]

Elsewhere in Florida

Portions of the First Coast experienced strong winds, heavy rains, and significant storm surge heights that rivaled those observed during Hurricane Irma. In Flagler County, storm surge and high tides substantially damaged the Flagler Beach pier, rendered a few coastal roads impassable, and flooded home in Flagler Beach, lab buildings in Marineland, and a restaurant in Bunnell. Heavy precipitation and storm surge in St. Johns County flooded several roads in St. Augustine and resulted in the temporary closure of the Bridge of Lions. Floodwaters entered some homes in the Davis Shores neighborhood of Anastasia Island. In Duval County, several locations reported storm surge inundation, including along the Intracoastal Waterway and in Jacksonville's Riverside neighborhood. Widespread power outages and isolated wind damage also occurred, such as several trees downed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, some of which struck homes, displacing two families. In Nassau County, the storm surge resulted in damage to Fernandina Beach High School and the Fernandina Beach marina and inundated numerous roads on Piney Island near the Amelia River. Abnormally high tides, storm surge, and tropical-storm-force winds in Putnam County caused flooding in areas by Lake George and the St. Johns River, with water entering dozens of residences in Fruitland, Satsuma, and Welaka.[143]

South Carolina

Hurricane Ian radar image of landfall near Georgetown, South Carolina on September 30, 2022

By 3:00 pm EDT on September 30, over 210,000 customers had lost power in the state from the hurricane.[144] A tidal gauge at Springmaid Pier in Myrtle Beach reached 10.77 feet (3.28 m), beating the record of 9.8 feet (3.0 m) set by Hurricane Isaias which struck two years prior.[145] As of 11:00 am EDT on October 1, an estimated 63,000 customers remained without power, primarily in Horry, Georgetown, Charleston, Florence, Williamsburg, and Berkeley Counties.[146]

North Carolina

Post-Tropical Cyclone Ian over North Carolina on October 1, 2022

By 3:30 pm EDT on September 30, over 76,000 people had lost power in the state, with 65,000 in Wake County alone.[147][148][149] An EF0 tornado also touched down in Holden Beach, damaging multiple homes in the town, while an EFU tornado touched down northeast of Aurora.[150] There were five storm-related deaths in the state: three in Johnston County, one in Martin County,[151] and one in Moore County.[152]

Elsewhere

Strong winds and rain moved through the Mid-Atlantic region. 95,000 thousand people lost power in Virginia.[153][154] Wind gusts reached as high as 69 mph (111 km/h) in Cape Henry and 68 mph (109 km/h) in the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. In Delaware, gusts reached 48 miles per hour (77 km/h) in Dewey Beach.[155]

A separate low-pressure area formed to the northeast of Ian as it dissipated on October 1,[1] which stalled off the coast of New Jersey for nearly a week. Widespread coastal flooding occurred along the Jersey Shore,[156] with Sea Isle City receiving 8.14 inches (20.7 cm) of rain between October 1 and 3.[157] In addition, Philadelphia set a daily precipitation record due to the storm on October 2, at 1.99 in (5.1 cm). AccuWeather described the system as a nor'easter which produced storm surge levels comparable to those of Hurricane Sandy. The rainfall alleviated drought conditions throughout much of New Jersey,[158] and lasted until October 5. The system also produced unseasonably cold temperatures across the region, with Trenton having a maximum temperature of 53 °F (12 °C) on October 4, one degree shy of the record lowest daily high for that date.[157] Several ferries between Cape May, New Jersey and Lewes, Delaware were canceled due to the storm on October 3.[159] It also forced the postponement of a baseball game in Baltimore between the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.[160] Due to the storm drenching New Jersey, the state realized their tenth wettest October on record.[161] In New York, Seastreak ferry service suspended all service on October 2 until the next day due to high winds; however, Staten Island Ferry and NYC Ferry continued operations.[162] The system brought the coldest daily high for October 3 on record to John F. Kennedy International Airport, with a high of 52 °F (11 °C).[163] Minor coastal flooding occurred in New York City as well.[164]

Aftermath

Costliest U.S. Atlantic hurricanes
Rank Hurricane Season Damage
1  3  Katrina 2005 $125 billion
 4  Harvey 2017
3  4  Ian 2022 $113 billion
4  4  Maria 2017 $90 billion
5  4  Ida 2021 $75 billion
6  ET  Sandy 2012 $65 billion
7  4  Irma 2017 $52.1 billion
8  2  Ike 2008 $30 billion
9  5  Andrew 1992 $27 billion
10  5  Michael 2018 $25 billion
Source: National Hurricane Center[165][166][nb 1]

Cuba

Mass power outages and a nationwide blackout led to protests in Cuba, with at least 400 demonstrators demanding the central government restore power and Internet access.[167] A rare request of emergency assistance from the U.S. was approved by Biden on September 30 after Ian passed.[168] The European Union announced a package of €1 million in aid while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Argentina sent pills for the potabilization of nearly one million liters of water via the White Helmets Commission.[169][170] The government of Japan also dispatched help to Cuba through its Japan International Cooperation Agency agency.[171]

United States

An American flag stands in Fort Myers Beach, Florida in the aftermath of Ian
Downed trees and cleanup efforts in Bartow, Florida

Soon after the conditions improved in impacted parts of Florida, search and rescue teams, first responders, and utility workers from un-impacted parts of Florida and across the country deployed to the area.[172][173][174] The American Red Cross mobilized and began to provide shelter and supplies to those who needed it as well.[175] Various other International, federal and local organizations also mobilized to help spread donations throughout affected populations in the form of both monetary and physical donations.[176][177] On October 3, The Guardian reported 10,000 people remained unaccounted for. However, the next day, FEMA's statement did not include numbers about people remaining unaccounted for.[178]

There were sporadic reports of looting and burglaries at several businesses in Lee County, Florida; alleged thefts of non-essential items such as sports apparel and athletic shoes during the height of the storm prompted officials to enforce a curfew in the county.[179][180] According to DeSantis, Florida was working with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to use the Starlink satellite Internet service to help restore communication across the state.[181]

At least eight school districts[182] suffered closures as a result of Ian.[183] The Lee County and DeSoto County Public School Districts reopened on October 17.[184] The Charlotte County Public School District reopened October 18. Sarasota County Schools were closed due to damage from storm, with classes resuming on October 10 for most of the county, while several schools that sustained more damage remaining closed until October 17.[185]

Critics have noted that federally subsidized flood insurance is one of the reasons that people continue to move to hurricane-prone areas of Florida.[186][187] Since the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) began, millions of people moved to Florida in the past 50 years into areas that were part of Hurricane Ian's path in part, critics note, due to the subsidized flood insurance offered by the federal government and insurance companies.[188]

Lee County also saw a sharp rise in infections and death from flesh-eating bacteria that live in warm brackish water. By October 18, 29 illnesses and four deaths had been recorded since landfall due to infection from Vibrio vulnificus,[189] at least one of whom was from out of state.[190]

Weeks later several coastside condominiums and hotels damaged by Ian in Volusia County were deemed unsafe and evacuated as Hurricane Nicole approached on November 10. Many structures fell into the ocean.[191]

Damage estimates

Early estimates of Ian's cost ranged $42 billion to $258 billion,[192] with Ian being by far the most costly climate-related event of 2022.[193] Shown: Christian Aid estimates of ten most costly of such 2022 disasters.

Preliminary estimates of damages from Hurricane Ian are wide-ranging. Various analytic agencies and insurance companies have placed losses in the tens of billions. CoreLogic reported potential insured losses at $28–47 billion. Verisk Analytics indicated a total of $42–57 billion and potentially over $60 billion when losses not covered under the NFIP are included.[194][195] Moody's Analytics calculated potential damages of $45–55 billion in Florida alone with billions more in South Carolina. Total economic losses were estimated at $56 billion by Enki Research.[196] Karen Clark & Co. placed insured damages at nearly $63 billion with total economic losses over $100 billion.[78] On October 10, Risk Management Solutions, a subsidiary of Moody's Corporation, placed private market damages at $53–74 billion with an additional $10 billion from the NFIP.[197] Beyond physical and economic losses, The Triple-I Corporation estimated litigation costs in Florida would reach $10–20 billion.[198]

On January 10, 2023, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated total losses at $112 billion, making Ian the costliest hurricane in Florida's history, surpassing Hurricane Irma of 2017, as well as the third-costliest in US history, behind only Hurricane Katrina of 2005 and Hurricane Harvey of 2017 respectively.[199] Ian marked the 15th billion-dollar disaster for the country in 2022.[200]

Wreckage in Fort Myers pictured in late April 2023, about seven months after the hurricane

In 2023, Florida senator Rick Scott introduced the Hurricane Tax Relief Act into the 118th Congress, which would enable Ian's victims, as well as victims of Hurricanes Nicole and Fiona in the US and Puerto Rico to more easily claim damage relief on their 2022 tax bills.[201]

Depiction in media

The storm had heavy coverage in both traditional media and social media. Coverage of Hurricane Ian was the most viewed by cable viewership on September 28 with the Weather Channel occupying eight of the top ten cable spots with continuous coverage of the storm.[202] Fox Weather, the weather streaming service from Fox News reported an average of 552,000 viewers on September 28 between 1:00–4:00 pm ET when the storm made landfall in Florida.[203] This was by far their most ever daily views.[204] Internet personality Ryan Hall, Y'all was ranked number three on YouTube during a livestream covering Ian's landfall on September 29.[205][206]

Photos and videos of the hurricane were posted throughout social media with a large amount seen on TikTok where videos posted under the hashtag #HurricaneIan had about 3.5 billion views by September 28, while on Instagram there were more than 65,000 posts with the same hashtag.[207] Others provided livestream feeds of their homes and surrounding areas during the hurricane.[208] Many Floridians who posted about the storm to social media found humor while discussing preparing for the hurricane, the storm, and its aftermath.[209] Some people who sheltered in place at Walt Disney World documented or livestreamed their experiences and the storm, and in some cases monetized the videos which drew criticism from many. In one case a Floridian YouTuber's video was disliked more than double the number of times it was liked on the platform.[210][211]

Many asked for help on social media looking for loved ones after losing contact with them or getting pleas from them for aid. While Florida authorities urged Floridians to use official emergency channels to report emergencies and to limit personal information that could be shared, many discovered informal digital structures or relied on ones from previous disasters to help provide aid or finding missing individuals.[212]

Retirement

See also: List of retired Atlantic hurricane names

On March 29, 2023, at the 45th Session of the RA IV Hurricane Committee, the World Meteorological Organization retired the name Ian from its rotating name lists due to the extreme damage and loss of life it caused, particularly in the state of Florida, and it will never be used again for another Atlantic hurricane. It will be replaced with Idris for the 2028 season.[213]

See also

Historic comparisons to Ian

Notes

  1. ^ a b c The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office has claimed that 24 deaths have occurred.[9] However, the Florida Medical Examiners Commission has only been able to verify 9 deaths from Ian.[8]
  1. ^ The storm category color indicates the intensity of the hurricane when landfalling in the U.S.

References

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