Hurricane Ian ravaged Southwest Florida last week, and some of the measurables are starting to trickle in from various agencies and experts.
Much of the region is in shambles after the strong Category 4 hurricane plowed into the Sunshine State.
Numbers are often helpful when painting a picture of a major natural disaster like this, so here’s a compilation of notable numbers in the wake of Hurricane Ian.
There were no documented tornadoes in the Charlotte-Lee-Collier area, but several touched down on the East Coast.
“It’s just how it played out,” said Nicole Carlisle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin. “When we were working (during the storm) we thought a few times we there was a tornado (in Southwest Florida) but we never got confirmation. So it was luck. There are usually tornadoes in the bands on the outside.”
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It will take experts a few days to determine exactly how much storm surge hit and where it did the most damage.
“Right now it looks Fort Myers was 8 or 9 feet, but that (gauge) may have stopped reporting; and that’s likely not the peak surge,” Carlisle said. “It’s hard to have a gauge right where the peak is going to be.”
Boats along the Caloosahatchee at various marinas were piled on one another, and the Caloosahatchee River ran more than 10 times its normal volume in the wrong direction. It set a new record for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers control structure in the Olga-Alva area.
Lake Okeechobee levels have risen about a foot so far, from the 12.7 feet to 13.8 feet, according to the South Florida Water Management District.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing from a water quantity perspective because the lake is still nearly 2 feet below desired levels for this point in the year.
More water will flow into the lake as rain that fell north of Okeechobee drains to the south.
Ian’s eye was massive, on par with some of the largest storms to hit the West Coast of Florida.
“The eye was about 30 miles wide,” Carlisle said when asked where Ian ranks in terms of documented storms. “(But) every storm is different so it’s hard to say for sure. It definitely bigger than some of the ones I remember. Charley was a lot smaller. But Irma was pretty big, too.”
Is this the largest storm to hit Southwest Florida on record?
“Being a Category 4, it’s definitely up there,” said Jennifer Simmons, an NWS meteorologists in Miami, the office that covers the Naples area. “The wind field and the fact that it was a very high Cat 4, it’s definitely is one of the strongest to hit this area.”
The NWS station at the Naples Airport stopped working around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, so the agency doesn’t have that information yet.
Surveyors will examine the area to better determine exactly what happened, when and where.
Nearly 130,000 homes and businesses in Lee County were still without power as of Sunday afternoon, according to Florida Power & Light records.
Nearly 58,000 locations powered by FPL in Collier County were also without electricity; and more than 73,000 customers were without power in Charlotte.
About 1,700 people were still staying in Lee County shelters as of 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Collier County numbers weren’t immediately available.
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