Hurricane Ian Devastates Florida’s West Coast
Many of the resorts on Florida’s West Coast, which are popular with incentive groups, got hit hard by the historic Category 4 storm, which hit land near Cayo Costa, Fla., with sustained winds of 150 mph.
At first, the 500-mile-wide storm was hardest on the barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva, where South Seas Island Resort is located, as well as the nearby mainland cities of Fort Meyers and Cape Coral. The causeway to Sanibel was badly damaged. The storm went north to Punta Gorda and Sarasota, where it badly damaged the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. It then moved inland across much of the state, flooding large parts of Orlando and Kissimmee. Walt Disney World and Universal Studios were both closed in Orlando. In just a few hours, the St. John’s River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean at St. Augustine, was said to have risen as much as 4 feet.
“This storm had effects that will go down in history. “We’ve never seen a flood like this,” Governor Ron DeSantis said at a press conference on Thursday morning. “What you’re looking at is a storm that has changed a big part of our state. This is going to take not only immediate and short-term help, but also years of work to rebuild and get back on your feet.”
DeSantis said there were more than two million power outages, with most of them happening in Lee and Charlotte counties, where portable cellphone towers were being set up.
Images of submerged cars and terrible flooding in places like Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Naples, which were hit the hardest, dominated the news. The Ritz-Carlton, Naples and Ritz-Carlton Golf Resorts, LaPlaya Beach Resort, Edgewater Beach Hotel, and Naples Grande Beach Resort are all resorts that are popular with groups. The Marriott Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa is in Fort Myers.
As of Thursday morning, people who were stuck in their attics or on their roofs in the barrier islands were being saved by helicopter. In Collier County, officials tweeted that people shouldn’t drive in the City of Naples because half of the streets are flooded and can’t be used. Before the storm, everyone had to leave Marco Island, which is home to the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. All roads were under water.
The 125-mile-long chain of islands in the Florida Keys had no damage to its infrastructure, but roads in Key West were flooded and impassable because of the storm surge or fallen trees.