Sep 29, 2022 - News

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.

  • The impact on cities like Fort Myers, Boca Grande, Englewood, Cape Coral and North Port will be more clear today.

Yes, but: Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm overnight, and a survey of interior Tampa on this unusually cool morning reveals debris-strewn roadways and downed limbs, but no major problems.

  • After days of warnings about a storm surge of 5 to 10 feet, the Hillsborough River stayed well between its banks for the extent of the hurricane.
  • Heavy rains left standing water everywhere, but the backside of Ian’s winds lacked destructive power.

What’s next: The terrible paradox of being OK when so many others aren’t. This is when good citizens look for opportunities to help those less fortunate.

 A tree down in the middle of Bayshore Boulevard this morning.
A tree down in the middle of Bayshore Boulevard this morning. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios
Tampa residents walk out onto the receded bay.
People walk out into Old Hillsborough Bay yesterday after the storm had sucked the water out, leaving the floor exposed. Hundreds of people did it. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios
A fallen sign along I-275.
A fallen sign along I-275. Photo: Gerardo Mora/Getty Images
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