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HomeNewsAs Fort Myers takes stock of Ian's damage, residents look for reasons...

As Fort Myers takes stock of Ian’s damage, residents look for reasons to be hopeful

FORT MYERS, Fla. — This was a metropolis Thursday the place yachts had been parked on the road and a whole lot of vehicles had been underwater, because of Hurricane Ian and its lethal and damaging drive.

The roads that weren’t flooded had been lined with disemboweled houses, some stripped of their roofs, and suffering from once-proud palm timber torn up by the roots that, in lots of instances, had been snapped like matchsticks.

Many downtown shops had been boarded up, whereas others had been lowered to splinters. And on the few gasoline stations that had reopened, lengthy traces of motorists waited to replenish.

Broken and lacking houses in Fort Myers Seaside, Fla., on Thursday after Hurricane Ian.Wilfredo Lee / AP

“Our boat is completed,” mentioned Addie Maynard, 23, who till Ian intruded Wednesday had been residing on a 34-foot yacht together with her boyfriend on the Previous Bridge Marina in North Fort Myers. “Our marina received worn out.”

Now, they’re staying in a broken high-rise condominium constructing close to the Caloosahatchee River.

However, Maynard mentioned, not less than their boat wasn’t amongst these the storm surge evicted from marinas and deposited on the street.

“Our boat really made it by means of the storm, however the inside is soaking moist,” Maynard mentioned. “Out of 60 boats, solely three made it.”

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Ian, wielding 150 mph winds, first made landfall Wednesday 20 miles west of Fort Myers on Cayo Costa and rapidly swamped this metropolis of 87,000, a longtime vacation spot for sun-loving vacationers the place Thomas Edison and Henry Ford constructed majestic winter estates.

However regardless of the epic destruction, rattled residents mentioned they had been counting their blessings — and rallying round their city.

“I really feel like lovely issues will come out of this, like togetherness,” mentioned Amanda Bodiot, 35. “Individuals have actually misplaced their complete houses. We have now the chance to come back round them and help them.”

Bodiot mentioned neighbors are already aiding each other and never ready for assist to come back from exterior.

“Persons are so self-reliant that when, swiftly, we get the chance to carry one another up, I believe that’s actually particular,” she mentioned.

Aftermath Hurricane Ian, Florida
Joe Dalton, on trip from Cleveland, checks out beached boats Thursday at Fort Myers Wharf alongside the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers, Fla.Amy Beth Bennett / South Florida Solar-Sentinel through AP

Cebi Stough, 30, expects it might be some time earlier than Fort Myers returns to what it was.

“I am simply questioning the way you clear up,” Stough mentioned. “In all places is fairly destroyed, and the seashore is basically unhappy.”

Stough was referring to close by Fort Myers Seaside, the place the primary drag, Estero Boulevard, was coated with a thick layer of sand and most of the memento shops had been wrecked.

Nonetheless, it may have been loads worse, Stough mentioned.

“I grew up right here, however that is the worst hurricane that I’ve skilled,” she mentioned.

Mayor Kevin Anderson mentioned a lot the identical earlier in an interview on NBC’s “TODAY.”

“I got here right here within the mid-’70s,” Anderson mentioned. “I used to be within the police division for nearly 25 years, noticed a number of storms right here. That is by far the worst storm I’ve ever witnessed.

“Within the coronary heart of downtown, watching that water rise and simply flood out all of the shops on the primary flooring, it was heartbreaking.”

At a park close to downtown, crews had been already decreasing fallen timber to mulch and coping with downed wires whereas a bunch of boys performed soccer.

“It’s a bit of reduction to get the youngsters exterior,” mentioned Sergio Francisco, 33, a lifelong Fort Myers resident who took his 4 nephews to the Terry Park Sports activities Advanced.

Francisco mentioned he was grateful that his household made it by means of the storm intact and nonetheless had working water, meals and electrical energy. He was additionally grateful to have someplace to go together with the boys.

“We noticed how the storm affected us,” he mentioned. “We’re simply right here getting their minds off of issues.”

Deon J. Hampton reported from Fort Myers and Corky Siemaszko from New York Metropolis.

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