Hurricane Ian’s Impact on Florida

by Katharine Zavoda ’25

Source: WFLA

Published Nov. 25th, 2022

Hurricane Ian, one of the costliest and deadliest storms in Florida’s history, has left a huge impact on the state and the residents living there. More than 490,000 buildings have been destroyed, power is not expected to return for another month, and many are without clean water.

Every hurricane originates from a tropical storm, or cyclone, which are low-pressure weather systems containing thunderstorms, but no boundaries separating air masses. When the maximum wind speed reaches around 75 miles per hour, the storm is then classified as a hurricane.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale uses wind speed to categorize hurricanes on a scale of 1 to 5, while The NOAA’s National Hurricane Center tracks and predicts the movement of these storms to prepare and inform the public. 

Ian, starting as a tropical storm, formed in the Caribbean on September 23, and turned into a hurricane on the 26th. On the 27th, Ian hit land in the Pinar Del Rio Province in Western Cuba, then moved towards Florida’s west coast. On the 28th, over the Gulf of Mexico, it intensified to a Category 4 hurricane, and eventually made landfall in Florida.

The damage caused by Hurricane Ian is significant, with huge amounts of infrastructure destroyed and communities in shambles. The death toll for the storm has already risen to over 100 people. More than 1,600 people have been rescued by search teams. Lee County Manager Roger Desjarlais says, “It’s unfortunate that so many people chose not to evacuate.”

Expected to be the most expensive storm in Florida history, Ian likely caused around $53 billion to $74 billion in damages. Jay Boodheshwar, city manager of Naples, said, “People need to take care of their emotional and mental health, because we’re really going to need to work together on this.”

Over the past 50 years, hurricanes have become more intense due to climate change, thus causing more damage and being more costly. Ian serves as an important reminder of the danger of natural disasters and to appreciate our homes, family, and friends while we still have them.

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