By: Skye Grainger, Luciana Molina, and Claudia Stover
Hurricane Ian struck Florida’s south west coast on September 28, 2022, as a high-end Category 4 with a direct hit to Cayo Costa. The hurricane originally made landfall in La Colma, Cuba, as a Category 3, on September 27. The island experienced a country-wide blackout for three days after Ian knocked out numerous power grids. Ian weakened to a tropical storm over parts of Central Florida, bringing nearly 17 inches of rain before strengthening back to a category, 1 on September 30, prior to making landfall in South Carolina.
Ian is among only 32 recorded hurricanes to make landfall as a Category 4 or higher and is tied for fifth strongest hurricane on record to hit the Continental U.S. As of October 7, 2022, the death toll is at 89 and counting, with reported deaths in Cuba, Florida, and North Carolina.
Over 2.5 million people were placed under evacuation orders, and 3.4 million Floridians were left without power. Key West was among the first areas in Florida to experience the effects of the hurricane, receiving up to 4 feet of storm surge and 70 mph winds. Storm surge is a tsunami-like phenomenon of rising water that occurs as a result of low-pressure storms and is considered the most dangerous component of a hurricane. Fort Myers and Sarasota received up to 18 feet causing many streets, buildings, and homes to flood.
There are many ways people can help those affected by Hurricane Ian. Organizations such as American Red Cross, Volunteer Florida, and Caring for Others are all working to help those affected by this storm. Additionally, locals are helping their neighbors in as many ways as possible. According to “VTDigger”, Saint Michael’s student and emergency medical technician, Zachary Rounds, even took a week off school to help. He flew to Florida after hearing that they did not have enough medical personnel and were unsure how many people were rescued.
Hurricane season is still far from over, lasting until November 30, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicting an above average hurricane season. Although we cannot prevent hurricanes, we can prepare for them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends making a plan and setting up emergency contacts and supplies for worst case scenarios. If a storm is predicted to come to your area, make sure to stay up to date on news and government-issued alerts and information. Stock up on things such as food, water, safety items, and power sources.