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Hurricane Ian

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Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm this morning, but it has already caused catastrophic damage. The island community of Sanibel is cut off from the mainland due to 50-65 feet of Sanibel Causeway collapsing. Biden spoke of "what may be substantial loss of life." Ian left a wide path of destroyed or damaged homes, businesses, infrastructure, and citrus farms. Over 2.5 million are without power, and areas of the Florida Gulf Coast are experiencing internet outages. DeSantis said Lee and Charlotte counties are "basically off the grid." At least nine hospitals in Lee County have no water. Some homes and vehicles were submerged or swept away by storm surge. Several Central Florida rivers are at greater than 90th percentile levels. It will be days before water recedes. Floridians pay the highest homeowners insurance rates in the nation, but their policies might not cover all losses. Biden's disaster declaration will make federal funding available to nine affected counties.
 
 
Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Charley both took similar tracks from western Cuba, made landfall between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. EDT near the barrier island of Cayo Costa as high-end Category 4 hurricanes, and then swept through Punta Gorda. However, storm surge and flooding rains from Ian are expected to be more severe than in 2004. Charley caused ten direct fatalities and an estimated $14 billion in economic losses. Even though Tampa was spared a direct hit, Ian will likely be one of the worst hurricanes in US history.
Edited by RTV
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At 2:05 p.m. ET, Hurricane Ian made its final landfall near Georgetown, South Carolina, as a Category 1 hurricane. Sustained winds were 85 mph with hurricane force winds extending up to 70 miles from the center of the storm. Streets flooded in Charleston as rain drenched the city.
 
At least 23 deaths are believed to be related to Ian, with search and rescue efforts still underway in the worst-hit areas of Florida. Pets are being rescued, along with their owners. Structure fires caused additional homes to be lost. Power restoration is a challenge in Naples, and it remains under a boil water notice as crews work to restore water. The streets have been cleared as much as possible, and teams are going house-by-house to check on residents. Fire Chief Pete DiMaria said it is "just a tremendous loss community-wide here and by far the worst storm that I've been through." Charlotte County has one operating hospital. But it's code black, which means it isn't even accepting anybody in the emergency room due to lack of capacity. There is also only one gas station open—with a line four miles long. The spokesperson for Fort Myers said the city has been responding constantly to calls since Wednesday evening. Residents are under a stay-at-home order. Many sections of the city don't have water. Connectivity is down, with no electricity or internet. Multiple shelters with resources are open within the city. Ongoing major or record river flooding will continue through next week across portions of central Florida.
 
Edited by RTV
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At least three sections of Sanibel Island Causeway were washed away by Hurricane Ian's storm surge, severing Sanibel and Captiva islands' only connection to mainland Florida. Two portions of the ramp to both bridges are gone, as well as a stretch of roadway that crossed an island in the middle of the causeway. It will have to be rebuilt, and all lanes are closed. A 2017 City of Sanibel count measured annual bridge traffic over the causeway at over 3 million vehicles.

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Pine Island Bridge is also impassable and will have to be rebuilt.

 

Currently the only access to these islands is by boat and air. Gov. DeSantis said officials are discussing whether to put ferries into service in areas where bridges have been destroyed.

 

 

Edited by RTV
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