Hurricane Ian makes landfall at Fort Meyers, Florida on September 28, 2022. The category 4 Storm had 150 MPH Winds and a 7-8 foot storm surge that devastaged the Fort Meyers Beach and surrounding communities. NOAA GOES16 Satellite Image

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Fort Meyers Beach took an almost direct hit from Hurricane Ian on Wednesday. The category 4 storm left the pier in shambles. Only the pilings and beams remain in most sections. Both small buildings are gone along with the railings. Restaurants and other structures destroyed. The storm surge reached at least 7 feet at Fort Meyers and higher in other places. A boil order is in effect and the beaches remain closed.

Fort Meyers’ Mayor Kevin Anderson said, “We’ve got extensive flooding in the downtown area, a lot of trees, damage to roofs. It looks like a war zone”

According to PowerOutage.US, 2.6 million Florida utility customers—about 25 percent—are without power. The widespread outages affect an estimated 5 million people.

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In some photos, it appears that entire houses have moved off their foundations while others are complete loss. Debris is strewn throughout the city. Downed trees lay on top of homes. Roads washed away. Homes and businesses reduced to splinters.  Fires added to the warzone like scene with smoke and flames. Boats on their sides or pushed on top of other boats, others sunk. Some brought ashore by the storm surge and wind lay among the debris. Bridges collapsed. Neighborhoods flooded with water reaching the eaves of some houses.

Florida Emergency Response

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas activated the departments surge capacity workforce in response to Hurricane Ian, adding to the thousands of DHS employees already positioned to assist survivors.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno toured the county by helicopter. “There’s really no words that I can say to tell you what I’ve seen. The Fort Meyers Beach area, buildings, homes, major homes, and buildings completely washed away with vehicles in the water, vehicles in the bay, boat are upside down.”

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The sheriff did not know how many people remained unaccounted for, but all personnel available were responding wherever needed.

Speaking from FEMA Washington DC Headquarters, President Biden said, “It is still moving across the state today. This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history. The numbers are still unclear but we are hearing early reports of what may be substantial loss of life,”

More than 36 states are sending aid to Florida.

This morning, President Joe Biden said, “My message to people in Florida, at times like this: America comes together. We’re going to pull together as one team, as one America.”

In Charlotte County, Fox News Correspondent Steve Harrington described the scene as “complete devastation,” as he walked through the debris and remnants of mobile homes. “We have people here who are really dealing with complete destruction at this point,” he said.

Disaster Preparedness Plan

As usually happens in the aftermath of most hurricane disasters, lines of communication are broken. There are fallen power lines and debris that make search and rescue efforts difficult. The Cellular Network in the area was destroyed, making it all but impossible for many people to contact family or call for help.

Governor Ron DeSantis said the recovery effort will be a “24/7 operation.” Anyone interested in helping should go to FloridaDisasterFund.Org.