Sep 29, 2022 - News

Miami-Dade escapes Hurricane Ian with minor damages

A man runs from stormy conditions.

Brent Shaynore runs to a sheltered spot through the wind and rain from Hurricane Ian on Wednesday in Sarasota. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

City streets turned into rivers and hurricane-force winds damaged homes in southwest Florida Wednesday as Hurricane Ian made landfall as a devastating Category 4 storm.

Driving the news: Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa — a barrier island between Naples and Sarasota — with winds of 150 mph, just a few shy of Category 5 strength, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm surge was at least as high as 12 feet.

  • TV broadcasts and social media videos showed storm surge devastating communities in Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Naples. "The Gulf of Mexico has taken over," one meteorologist Mike Bettes wrote on Twitter.
  • Flood waters submerged cars, damaged homes and pushed debris — and even boats — down city streets.
  • Fort Myers, Charlotte County and Marco Island issued curfews last night, the Miami Herald reported.

Emergency response: The hurricane affected 911 communications in Lee, Hendry and Glades counties on Wednesday but calls were rerouted, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a press conference.

  • The Collier County Sheriff's Office, where Naples is located, said in a statement it had received a "significant number of calls" from people trapped in their homes and others with medical emergencies in "deep water."
  • The department said its 911 system had briefly been knocked out Wednesday but returned to service.

What they're saying: Lee County manager Roger Desjarlais, whose county includes Fort Myers, told reporters, "I am sad to tell you that while we don't know the full extent of the damage to Lee County right now, we are beginning to get a sense that our community has been, in some respects, decimated," per the Miami Herald.

Rescue efforts: DeSantis said rescue and recovery efforts would begin after the storm passed southwest Florida.

  • Roughly 7,000 National Guard members, 250 aircraft, 1,600 high-water vehicles and 300 boats are on hand for hurricane relief, according to the governor. Florida also has 100 portable cell towers to deploy in the area.
  • A total of 26 states, including Tennessee, Georgia, New York and New Jersey, have assisted Florida with resources.

Federal help: DeSantis said he would ask the federal government to reimburse the state's recovery efforts for the first 60 days after the hurricane.

  • "There is gonna be a massive effort as soon as it passes southwest Florida to be able to get out, recon the area and identify the areas where there may be the need of rescue services," DeSantis said.

Power outages: More than 2 million customers in Florida were without power as of this morning, according to data from the Florida Public Service Commission. That's about 18% of the roughly 11 million customers in the state.

  • The outages are concentrated on the Gulf Coast. In Charlotte County, for example, about 98% of customers were in the dark.
  • In Miami-Dade, about 13,000 customers (1% of total customers) were without power.
  • Utility crews outside of southwest Florida were working Wednesday to restore power to parts of the state impacted by the outer bands of the storm, DeSantis said.
A possible tornado from Hurricane Ian's outer bands snapped a tree and blew it into a building in Delray Beach on Tuesday.
A possible tornado from Hurricane Ian's outer bands snapped a tree and blew it into a building in Delray Beach on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue

Zoom in: South Florida was spared from the worst of Hurricane Ian, but the storm did leave some damage in the area.

Details: Trees were reported down in Miami Shores and on Florida International University's campus Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported.

  • Late Tuesday, strong winds, possibly from a tornado, damaged homes and vehicles in a Delray Beach neighborhood, injuring two people and forcing 30 to evacuate, according to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.
  • A tornado in Cooper City knocked over trees and toppled small aircrafts that same night at North Perry Airport, WPLG Local 10 reports.

The intrigue: Not everyone was concerned as Ian approached the state. Local 10 reporter Ian Margol posted a video of someone wakeboarding in the flood waters in Cooper City Wednesday.

Yes, but: Our neighbors in the Keys were hit harder.

Data: National Hurricane Center; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios
Data: National Hurricane Center; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

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