Hurricane Ian pummeled Florida’s Gulf Coast Wednesday, changing into one of the crucial highly effective storms to ever hit the US.
The storm triggered in depth flooding in Fort Myers, Punta Gorda and different components of Lee County and Charlotte County, leaving 2.5 million folks within the state with out energy. The variety of deaths from Ian is unconfirmed, however President Joe Biden stated Thursday that the storm might lead to “substantial lack of life” and will find yourself being the deadliest storm in Florida historical past.
Ian, now downgraded to a tropical storm, continues to lash components of Florida with heavy rain and wind. The Nationwide Hurricane Middle stated Thursday that Ian will seemingly collect power because it prices towards South Carolina, the place it’s anticipated to make landfall once more Friday as a hurricane.
Throughout the Florida peninsula, the place Ian was one in all solely 15 Class 4 or 5 hurricanes to make landfall within the state since record-keeping started in 1851, restoration efforts are simply starting.
The hurricane’s 150 mph winds verged on Class 5 depth, producing life-threatening storm surge and widespread flooding. It could take weeks or months to evaluate Ian’s harm, together with the storm’s rainfall totals and flooding.
Whereas the complete extent of the hurricane’s devastation will not be but recognized, right here is how Ian compares to probably the most damaging hurricanes in Florida’s historical past.
Hurricane Andrew — 1992
Hurricane Andrew was the strongest and most catastrophic storm to strike southern Florida, in response to the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The hurricane made landfall in South Miami-Dade County as a Class 5 storm on Aug. 24, 1992, with most sustained winds of 165 mph.
Hurricane Andrew got here ashore within the predawn hours and triggered an estimated $26 billion in damages, in response to NOAA. The toughest-hit neighborhood was Homestead, Florida, the place greater than 99% of cell properties have been destroyed, the company stated.
Andrew finally churned into the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall once more two days later as a Class 3 storm in Louisiana, the place it triggered an estimated $1 billion in damages.
On the time, Andrew was the most costly pure catastrophe in U.S. historical past however was surpassed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
In complete, Andrew was straight answerable for 23 deaths within the U.S., in response to NOAA.
Hurricane Charley — 2004
As Hurricane Ian neared Florida’s southwestern coast, many have been reminded of a storm that minimize an analogous path by the Caribbean almost 20 years earlier.
On Aug. 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley made landfall close to Cayo Costa, simply west of Fort Myers — the identical space the place Hurricane Ian got here ashore on Wednesday. Each hurricanes slammed into western Cuba earlier than hitting Florida as Class 4 storms, although Ian was a lot bigger and slower-moving.
Coincidentally, the 2 storms slammed into Florida at related instances within the afternoon, with Charley making landfall at 3:45 p.m. ET and Ian coming ashore at round 3 p.m. ET.
Charley was straight answerable for 10 deaths in the US and triggered an estimated $6.8 billion in damages in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, in response to the Nationwide Hurricane Middle.
Earlier within the week, Gov. Ron DeSantis urged residents to not gauge Ian’s threats primarily based on folks’s experiences of the 2004 storm.
“I’d simply say, the monitor might find yourself doing one thing related, however it is a a lot completely different storm,” he stated Tuesday.
Whereas the 2 hurricanes shared some similarities, consultants stated storm surge, flooding and rainfall from Ian was extra extreme. And although Ian and Charley made landfall as Class 4 storms, hurricanes in recent times have turn out to be rainier and extra intense due to local weather change.
Hurricane Michael — 2018
Hurricane Michael made landfall as a Class 5 storm within the Florida Panhandle on Oct. 10, 2018. The hurricane produced “devastating” winds and storm surge because it moved ashore close to Mexico Seashore and Tyndall Air Drive Base, in response to NOAA.
Michael was straight answerable for 16 deaths within the U.S. and triggered a complete of round $25 billion in damages in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, in response to the Nationwide Hurricane Middle.
The toughest-hit space was Mexico Seashore, the place NOAA stated 1,584 buildings out of 1,692 within the city have been reported broken, together with 809 buildings that have been destroyed.
Earlier than hitting Florida, Michael made landfall in western Cuba as a Class 2 storm, inflicting heavy rainfall and flooding.
Hurricane Irma — 2017
Irma made landfall within the Florida Keys as a Class 4 storm on Sept. 10, 2017. The hurricane was one of many strongest and costliest storms on report within the Atlantic Basin, in response to NOAA.
The storm produced devastating winds, heavy rain and excessive surf, and was straight answerable for 10 deaths within the U.S., in response to a post-storm evaluation by the Nationwide Hurricane Middle.
Irma is estimated to have triggered $50 billion in damages, making it on the time the nation’s fifth costliest hurricane after Katrina in 2005, Harvey in 2017, Maria in 2017 and Sandy in 2012.
Hurricane Irma was recognized for being a long-lived storm that made seven completely different landfalls. The storm got here ashore 4 instances throughout the northern Caribbean Islands as a Class 5 hurricane, slammed into the Florida Keys as a Class 4 storm and in addition hit southwestern Florida at Class 3 depth, in response to NOAA.