Disaster Cleanup from Hurricane Ian in SW Florida Will Take Months
Disaster Cleanup in Fort Myers Will Take Many Months Due to Devastation from Hurricane Ian
The devastation caused by Category 4 Hurricane Ian in Florida is historic and marks a long and frustrating process for both authorities and residents who lost their homes and possessions.
Disaster restoration contractors, nonprofit organizations, volunteer groups, and religious institutions flock to the affected areas in Fort Myers, Lee County, to clean up flooded properties and remove debris.
However, the disaster cleanup is expected to take weeks or even months due to the extent of the damage caused by the powerful storm.
What Is Happening in Fort Myers?
Cleanup efforts in Lee County continued days after Hurricane Ian made landfall.
Miami Florida Task Force Two first responders have been fanning out along Fort Myers Beach throughout the week to continue searching for survivors who might be trapped under debris.
Both on the coast and around the Fort Myers pier, smaller homes were completely destroyed. Only the largest buildings remained standing after 150 mph winds tore through the city.
Harrowing satellite images showed that at least 400 buildings in the area closest to the coast had been severely damaged or completely destroyed.
Waves dragged everything in their path, including the remains of destroyed houses, vehicles, and a boat that was used for fishing.
What the Numbers Suggest
Hurricane Ian brought 150 mph winds at landfall, tying for fifth place for the strongest wind speed in the United States.
Observations showed impressive gusts across Florida, with winds reaching 150-140 mph in Lee County and 135 mph in nearby counties.
According to Florida Governor Ron de Santis, the storm surge exceeded 12 feet in height after Hurricane Ian made landfall.
Images showed houses underwater up to near the ceiling, indicating a minimum 10-foot surge.
Experts say some areas were likely deeper than 12 feet, especially along parts of the coast like Fort Myers Beach, but collecting the watermarks would take a long time.
Such figures show Hurricane Ian’s impact on structures and buildings in Fort Myers and adjacent counties, as few commercial buildings and residences could withstand such high winds and powerful flooding.
Additionally, insured loss damages are estimated to exceed $60 billion, and only a portion of Florida residents have purchased flood insurance, so estimates are expected to be revised higher.
Although the disaster has attracted dozens of volunteer groups from other states and forced President Joe Biden to release federal funds, the cleanup efforts are expected to continue for months.