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Hurricane Ian Updates: Hurricane Ian Directly Impacted Fort Myers and Sanibel Island

As a result of Hurricane Ian Updates, several locations within Lee County, including Sanibel Island and Fort Myers, are in danger of suffering severe damage.

According to information collated from various municipal governments around Florida, at least 94 individuals have lost their lives as a result of the hurricane. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office stated on Saturday that of those, about 54 were found in Lee County.

At least two persons have been reported dead on Sanibel Island, although Mayor Holly Smith stated on Friday night’s episode of “ABC News Live Prime” that there have been four fatalities confirmed.

Smith predicted that the process of becoming well would take a very long time. “However, the immediate objective is to evacuate everyone off that island and bring them to a secure location. It is not possible to live there.”

Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau General, was interviewed on Friday by “GMA3.” He stated that the Florida Guard currently has approximately 5,000 soldiers and airmen on duty throughout the state, with the majority of their attention currently being directed toward Lee and Charlotte Counties.

As towns wait for floodwaters to recede as search and rescue activities continue, it is yet unknown how extensive the damage that has been caused.

Sanibel and Other Barrier Islands Destroyed

Lee County’s Department of Public Safety said the barrier islands were destroyed. ABC News crew with Project Dynamo termed Sanibel “unrecognizable”

“We leaped onto the island’s central beach. Everything we saw was broken “Rachel DeLima, Timmy Truong, and Victor Oquendo from ABC News.

Hurricane Ian updates
Hurricane Ian updates

Sanibel, a barrier island near Fort Myers with less than 7,000 people, took the brunt of the hurricane Wednesday.

The Sanibel Causeway and Matlacha Pass Bridge will need to be rebuilt, Gov. Ron DeSantis stated Friday.

Getting people off the island is a critical concern with the bridges devastated, Mayor Smith said to ABC News. First responders are searching for 300 residents, added Smith.

This procedure is complicated since people may be departing the island by other routes, and “many locations” are still inaccessible to police.

“Right now, it’s all helicopter operations to provide food, medical help, and people,” said Hokanson of the National Guard.

Destruction in the Interior of Lee County

Lee County Public Safety personnel stated this was the biggest hurricane damage they’d ever seen, including at Fort Myers Beach. Images show boats destroying beaches in the region.

The hurricane devastated Fort Myers. Newer buildings can weather the hurricane better, DeSantis added.

Some older, less-sturdy residences were swept into the sea, the governor added. “I don’t think you could survive hunkered down like that. They’re still figuring out who was home.”

DeSantis claimed Lee County officials sought help with a broken water main. FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers were attempting to restore water Friday.

President Biden said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell met with Lee County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass on Thursday about supporting the county following Ian.

The White House said the Biden administration will help with search and rescue, power restoration, hospital issues, and road and bridge damage.

DeSantis claimed 85% of Lee and Charlotte counties were without power Friday.

Tragedies, Both Rescued and Lost

Sanibel officials verified two deaths Thursday evening; Smith said Friday there might be four.

Search and rescue operations continue in Lee and Charlotte Counties, where more than 500 people were rescued. The sheriff’s office reported 600-700 rescues Saturday morning.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue have helped in Sanibel and Captiva. Officials said many rescues were conducted in waist-high water.

Marceno said Wednesday night the neighborhood was pounded heavily and structures were damaged. Officials couldn’t enforce a 6 p.m. curfew.

This hurricane’s movement and circumstances caused a dangerous storm surge. Southwest Florida possibly had storm surges above 12 feet.

Where Ian went

Wednesday afternoon, Hurricane Ian made landfall in Cayo Costa, Florida. Category 4 storm, 150 mph winds.

Hurricane Charley hit Punta Gorda 20 miles west-southwest of Fort Myers in 2004.

Friday afternoon, the storm hit South Carolina after moving east and north.

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