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Damage estimates could make Ian costliest storm in Florida history

Oct 03, 2022

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What remains of Hurricane Ian is slowly making its way up the East Coast. Hundreds of thousands of people are still without power in Florida, but help is coming by land, sea and space.

Ian could be the most expensive storm in Florida’s history. Early damage estimates were in the $30 to $40 billion range, but the latest data puts the damage estimate at closer to $63 billion. By comparison, 1992’s Hurricane Andrew caused $26.5 billion worth of damages in Florida and was considered the most expensive storm in state history until now.

Property insurance companies were already losing money in Florida. Now, there are fears the industry in the state could collapse altogether. If that happens, Florida homeowners could end up bearing the cost of rebuilding through assessments levied on them by the state.

Florida’s barrier islands were some of the hardest hit areas, with some homes and businesses simply wiped off the map.

The National Guard and Coast Guard had to use helicopters to evacuate people from the islands. The storm exposed the many vulnerabilities of building on these thin strips of land.

On Sanibel Island, the only road in or out was destroyed. Temporary bridges will be erected so residents can leave the islands with their vehicles.

Officials in Lee County are facing criticism over their evacuation order, which came a day later than many neighboring communities. But Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson defended the county’s response. Anderson said warnings for hurricane season start in June, and some people just refuse to heed the warnings.

By Monday morning, Ian’s death toll climbed to more than 80 people. Around 600 thousand homes and businesses were still without power.

The federal government pledged to unleash a massive amount of federal disaster aid to the impacted regions. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also said he will be sending 120 Starlink internet satellites to help restore internet connectivity in the area.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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WHAT REMAINS OF HURRICANE IAN IS SLOWLY MAKING ITS WAY UP THE EAST COAST.

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE STILL WITHOUT POWER IN FLORIDA, BUT HELP IS COMING BY LAND, SEA, AND SPACE.

IAN COULD BE THE MOST EXPENSIVE STORM IN FLORIDA’S HISTORY. EARLY DAMAGE ESTIMATES WERE IN THE $30 TO $40 BILLION RANGE, BUT THE LATEST DATA PUTS THE DAMAGE ESTIMATE AT CLOSER TO $63 BILLION.

PROPERTY INSURACE COMPANIES WERE ALREADY LOSING MONEY IN FLORIDA. NOW, THERE ARE FEARS THE INDUSTRY IN THE STATE COULD COLLAPSE ALTOGETHER.

FLORIDA’S BARRIER ISLANDS WERE SOME OF THE HARDEST HIT AREAS, WITH SOME HOMES AND BUSINESSES SIMPLY WIPED OFF THE MAP.

THE NATIONAL GUARD AND COAST GUARD HAD TO USE HELICOPTERS TO EVACUATE PEOPLE FROM THE ISLANDS. THE STORM EXPOSED THE MANY VULNERABILITIES OF BUILDING ON THESE THIN STRIPS OF LAND.

ON SANIBAL ISLAND, THE ONLY ROAD IN OR OUT WAS DESTROYED. TEMPORARY BRIDGES WILL BE ERECTED SO RESIDENTS CAN LEAVE THE ISLANDS WITH THEIR VEHICLES.

OFFICIALS IN LEE COUNTY ARE FACING CRITICISM OVER THEIR EVACUATION ORDER, WHICH CAME A DAY LATER THAN MANY NEIGHBORING COMMUNITIES.

BUT FORT MYERS MAYOR KEVIN ANDERSON DEFENDED THE COUNTY’S RESPONSE, SAYING WARNINGS FOR HURRICANE SEASON START IN JUNE, AND SOME PEOPLE JUST REFUSE TO HEED THE WARNINGS.

BY MONDAY MORNING, IAN’S DEATH TOLL CLIMBED TO MORE THAN 80 PEOPLE. AROUND 700 THOUSAND HOMES AND BUSINESSES ARE STILL WITHOUT POWER.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PLEDGED TO UNLEASH A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF FEDERAL DISASTER AID TO THE IMPACTED REGIONS.

SPACEX CEO ELON MUSK ALSO SAID HE WILL BE SENDING 120 STARLINK INTERNET SATELLITES TO HELP RESTORE INTERNET CONNECTIVITY IN THE AREA.

 


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