Hurricane Ian Makes Devastating Impact on Southern States

Ian Has Been Classified as the Strongest Hurricane to Have Hit The United States!

Linnea Sundquist, Entertainment Section Editor

Hurricane Ian hit Florida’s western coast on September 28 as a category 4 hurricane. Ian’s path started from the Caribbean to the Cayman Islands and then through western Cuba with 105 mph winds. As the winds got more intense, Ian swept toward the Gulf of Mexico where it downgraded to a category 3 hurricane on September 26th to the 27th. Mexico’s wind speeds totaled up to 115 mph, making this the strongest hurricane that has hit Mexico since Hurricane Irma in 2017. On the same day, Ian caused more destruction by hitting La Coloma in the Pinar Del Rio Province in western Cuba and taking out the entirety of the island’s power. Ian didn’t stop there and made Florida its next stop. 

Ian struck Cayo Costa, Florida with 150 mph winds on September 28th and became one of the top five worst hurricanes to have hit the United States. Four million homes and businesses lost power in Florida and damages have totaled up to 75 billion dollars between Florida and the Carolinas. Ian also brought intense winds with very heavy rainfall. 

The next day, Ian went from a category 4 hurricane and went down to a tropical storm and wasn’t considered a hurricane anymore. This storm impacted the area heavily with rain with some places getting as much as 17 inches. As Ian was crossing over the Florida peninsula, it passed over open water. On September 30th it strengthened to a category 1 hurricane and started to move towards South Carolina later that day. Ian brought heavy rain and heavy winds to Carolina as well. After Ian hit South Carolina it once again weakened and started towards Virginia where it became a cyclone. Fortunately, Ian didn’t cause that much destruction there, and the cyclone dissipated on Saturday, October 1st. 

Hurricane Ian left such destructive damage to Florida and caused severe damage to homes, bridges as well as Florida’s famous citrus trees. Florida makes up 70% of the U.S. supply of citrus trees supplying fruits such as grapefruits, oranges, and tangerines. Scientists are estimating that 30% of the trees won’t recover and even before the storm the USDA predicted that Florida’s citrus crops would be down by a third this year. 

As search and rescue missions continue going on, the death toll keeps climbing. Some counties that were deeply affected by the hurricane such as Collier, Charlotte, and Lee received 700$ from a notification on their phone. A non-profit organization called GiveDirectly partnered with Google, and offered money to those who were in poorly conditioned neighborhoods and counties. The targeted messages with the help of the AI software from Google allowed GiveDirectly to give aid to those who were absolutely devastated by the storm. Anyone who has the Providers app will get sent a notification to see whether they are eligible for the donation of the 700 dollars. More than half of the users of the Providers app have been paid so far. 

The damage that Hurricane Ian caused to Florida is still being repaired. More than 1,600 people have been rescued but there have been at least more than a 100 fatalities as well. The majority of these deaths occured in Lee County and state officials say the cause of death was most likely from drowning. Florida’s state governor Rod DeSantis’ wife, Casey DeSantis, announced that Florida’s Disaster Fund had raised more than 21 million dollars only 48 hours after the hurricane had ended. This fund will establish financial assistance to communities that were hit worse by the storm. 

Florida and other states that were hit by the storm are still deeply recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Emergency responders are still trying to help those in need as well as continue to look for people who need rescuing.