By Anna Galaktionov
Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 storm with winds of 150 mph, was the fifth strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. and one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in human history.
After treading over Cuba, Hurricane Ian made landfall on the coast of Southwest Florida at Cayo Costa Island at 3:05 p.m. on September 28, 2022.
As the storm furiously approached land, Governor DeSantis warned, “The amount of water that’s been rising and will likely continue to rise today even as the storm is passing is basically a 500-year flood event.”
The hurricane brought massive flooding and strong winds that broke off chunks of Sanibel Causeway, the only bridge to a barrier island, trapping people in their flooded homes. It also completely wiped out a historic waterfront pier, flipped over semi-trucks, and knocked out electricity across the bulk of Florida.
The devastating storm surge caused extensive damage in particular to Fort Myers Beach where broken parts of docks, homes, and boats floated in a jumbled mass. Mangroves along the beaches have been reported to hold mattresses, pillows, furniture, staircases, and cars.
In Port Charlotte, water gushed into the intensive care unit at a hospital, forcing medical personnel to swiftly move patients to higher floors.
Thousands of stranded people frantically called 911, many with life-threatening emergencies. Police officers and paramedics scrambled to find alternate ways to get to those in need since most bridges were impassable and fallen trees blocked access to buildings.
Moreover, many were unable to call for help due to cellular and electrical outages. The sheriff’s office in Collier County reported that “portable towers are on the way for cell service...chances are your loved ones do not have ability to contact you.”
As of October 1, two deaths were confirmed in Cuba and 35 deaths were confirmed in Florida, mostly from drowning. Authorities say that an elderly couple died shortly after their oxygen machines shut off due to the widespread power outages. However, the extent of deaths and injuries remains uncertain, as emergency crews struggle to clear out the aftermaths of the hurricane.
President Joe Biden believes that Hurricane Ian might be categorized as the deadliest hurricane to affect Florida.
“The numbers are still unclear, but we’re hearing early reports of what may be substantial loss of life,” he said.
Lee County sheriff claims that the number of fatalities could be “in the hundreds.”
Moreover, Hurricane Ian did not stop at Florida but continued its destruction onto South Carolina and even up to North Carolina. The death toll has not yet been confirmed in those two states either.
Many Barry University students are originally from the west coast of Florida and have family there. We send out our consolations to all Barry students who were affected by the hurricane and to those who lost their cars, homes, businesses, and loved ones.
Barry University is offering relief support for all students, faculty, and staff affected by the storm. If you or anyone you know needs assistance in obtaining food, water, shelter, or any other essential supplies, please fill out the Hurricane Relief Form.