Florida reels as Ian moves on

Published date01 October 2022
Publication titleWhanganui Chronicle
Hours after weakening to a tropical storm while crossing the Florida peninsula, Ian regained hurricane strength over the Atlantic. The National Hurricane Centre predicted it would hit South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane overnight

The devastation inflicted on Florida came into focus a day after Ian struck as a monstrous Category 4 hurricane, one of the strongest storms ever to hit the US.

It flooded homes on both the state’s coasts, cut off the only road access to a barrier island, destroyed a historic waterfront pier and knocked out electricity to over 2.6 million Florida homes and businesses — nearly a quarter of utility customers.

No one yet knows how many have died — a dozen fatalities have so far been confirmed — but a police official has estimated there could be “hundreds” of victims.

In the Fort Myers area, homes had been ripped from their slabs and deposited among shredded wreckage.

Businesses near the beach were completely razed, leaving twisted debris.

Broken docks floated at odd angles beside damaged boats and fires smouldered on lots where houses once stood.

“I don’t know how anyone could have survived in there,” William Goodison said amid the wreckage of the mobile home park in Fort Myers Beach where he’d lived for 11 years. Goodison rode out the storm at his son’s house inland.

The hurricane tore through the park of about 60 homes, many of them destroyed or mangled beyond repair, including Goodison’s single-wide home.

The road into Fort Myers was littered with broken trees, boat trailers and other debris.

Cars were left abandoned in the road, having stalled when the storm surge flooded their engines.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at least 700 rescues, mostly by air, had been conducted so far.

After leaving Florida as a tropical storm and entering the Atlantic Ocean north of Cape Canaveral, Ian spun up...

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