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Ben Montgomery
10 hours ago - News

The hero pets of Mobile Manor teach resilience through Hurricane Ian

Anthony Lehman poses in front of his mobile home while holding his tabby cat Rocky.
Anthony Lehman and Rocky. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

Anthony Lehman is a big man, but when Hurricane Ian started to scream up the Caloosahatchee River and chomp bites off his roof, he turned to his most trusted friend. "Let's go, Rocky!" he said.

  • Lehman and the tabby cat he's raised from kittenhood jumped in his 2015 Mazda 6 — Rocky taking the passenger floorboard — and sped to the new Winn Dixie on Bayshore Road, where they talked quietly for hours as wind shook the car and fence panels blew by.
Selene San Felice
10 hours ago - News

Thousands still without power in Lee and Sarasota counties after Ian

a utility truck
A Florida Power & Light emergency response team truck in Fort Myers on Thursday. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Across Florida, 621,230 utility customers — 5% of the state — were still without power early this morning, according to the state Public Service Commission.

The big picture: ​​Utility crews have restored electricity to 1.8 million accounts since Hurricane Ian hit five days ago, Florida Politics reports.

By the numbers: Lee County, where Ian first made landfall, has the bulk of outages, with about 283,000.

  • Sarasota County is next, with fewer than 90,000 customers out.

Between the lines: Florida Power & Light says it stockpiled enough poles, generators and wire to restore the state's power, but supply chain issues could slow recovery elsewhere should another natural disaster strike, the Associated Press reports.

Kelly Tyko
Updated Sep 30, 2022 - Economy & Business

Florida store closures continue in Hurricane Ian aftermath, some theme parks reopen

People walk in Walt Disney World in Florida towards Cinderella Castle
Walt Disney World started a phased reopening of some of its Orlando parks Friday after being closed since Wednesday for Hurricane Ian. Photo: Laura Kerst/Axios

Florida's theme parks, including Disney World and Universal Studios, started reopening Friday, while Busch Gardens was planning to reopen Saturday after the state's major tourist attractions closed due to Hurricane Ian.

Why it matters: More than 1.8 million customers in the state remained without power Friday after the major storm made landfall in southwest Florida Wednesday and moved across the state, unleashing widespread life-threatening storm surge floods.

Florida power outages from Hurricane Ian continue for 1.6 million

A traffic light is torn in half in a Florida street after Hurricane Ian swept through Wednesday.
A Florida street after hurricane Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa as a dangerous Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

More than 1.6 million Florida customers — about 15% of the state — remained without power Friday afternoon from Hurricane Ian as restoration efforts continued in the state.

The big picture: Ian unleashed widespread life-threatening storm surge flooding after making landfall as a high-end Category 4 storm near Cayo Costa Wednesday afternoon. Officials in coastal communities were responding to multiple water rescues. In Port Charlotte, storm surge flooded a hospital emergency room, per AP.

Ben Montgomery
Sep 30, 2022 - News

Worries mount as Florida communities remain cut off after Hurricane Ian

An aerial picture taken on September 29, 2022 shows a big washed up boat sitting in the middle of a street in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Florida.
Fort Myers, post-Hurricane Ian. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP

Call it the Anxiety Coast.

Hurricane Ian created the perfect storm for national worry, isolating a good number of the nation's grandparents in their dreamy southwest Florida retirement communities without any way to let family know whether they're okay.

Selene San Felice
Sep 30, 2022 - News

How Tampa Bay can help Floridians recover from Hurricane Ian

Illustration of three raised hand shapes traced by a dotted line
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Seeing what could have been us if the storm hadn't veered south last minute, Tampa Bay is coming together to support Southwest Florida and nearby neighbors.

Where to take supplies: Local organizers with Mutual Aid Disaster Relief (MADR) established a relief hub and are gathering supplies to bring to Fort Myers as early as this weekend, Creative Loafing reports.

Ivana Saric
Updated Sep 29, 2022 - Science

Florida begins recovery efforts as Ian moves through state

Resident walking through water in their home
A resident walks back home on a flooded street following Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Florida on Sept. 29. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Recovery efforts are underway in Florida in the aftermath of devastating Hurricane Ian, which continued to move northeast as a tropical storm across the state Thursday on its way to the Carolinas.

Driving the news: More than 2.6 million in the state were without power Thursday after Ian brought strong winds, "life-threatening, catastrophic" flooding, and storm surges as high as 12 feet in some areas.

Hurricane Ian hits southwest Florida, but largely spares Tampa Bay

The silhouette of a person films Hurricane Ian outside on their phone.
A man live streams as Hurricane Ian hits Punta Gorda. Photo: Tristan Wheelock/Bloomberg via Getty Images

That could've been worse.

  • In much of Tampa Bay, you’d have a hard time proving that a Category 4 hurricane blew by overnight.

State of play: Communities farther south took the full force of Ian, which made landfall Wednesday afternoon near Cayo Costa and sent a troubling surge of floodwater into communities along southwest Florida coastlines and tributaries.