Wednesday afternoon in Naples, Florida, Lauren Barlow watched as water slowly entered her home through an open door and slowly rose across the first floor.
Barlow, who was taking refuge on the second floor of the house, told CNN, “Cars are floating down our street.” Our autos were ruined when our garage flooded. The water then began to seep inside through the door and is fast ascending the steps to flood the first floor.
𝑾𝒆 𝑪𝑨𝑵𝑵𝑶𝑻 𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒆𝒏𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉: Stay Off The Roads ❌ Stay Indoors✅. TampaPD Officers saw a traffic light 🚦 come crashing down in front of their car in #YborCity. There are live wires down. This is 𝙉𝙊𝙏 the time to venture out. #YourTampaPD #hurricaneian pic.twitter.com/t8pOii18Pf
— TampaPD (@TampaPD) September 29, 2022
The city’s fire rescue authorities uploaded a video to Facebook on Wednesday evening showing them rescuing a person from the raging waves nearby while wading through frigid, chest-deep water.
The Collier County sheriff’s office, of which Naples is a part, later wrote on Facebook, “Our East Naples deputies completed 30 rescue missions today.” Water is a ubiquitous component of our environment. It will eventually go away. Destruction is inevitable. We won’t know how bad the damage is until tomorrow.
Coastal communities in Florida’s southwestern corner were hit hard by Hurricane Ian, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm shortly after 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Its powerful winds swept away trash and wreckage, bringing down trees and setting off alarms and cutting power lines. In other regions, the storm surge reached record highs and inundated entire neighborhoods, as predicted by the weather experts. Officials in Fort Myers have recorded higher water levels than ever before since measuring began in 1965. On Wednesday evening, the hurricane had decreased in strength to Category 2.
On Wednesday, Fort Myers resident John Iverson told CNN he would have left had he known how devastating the storm would be. Iverson told CNN that he had sought refuge at a friend’s house on Wednesday afternoon despite the fact that the first floor was completely submerged. He also reported that his friend’s front yard automobile and those in the garage of his home were fully drowned.
Iverson noted that, thanks to the structure’s several floors, he would be safe from the rain inside the home’s basement.
Don and Belinda Collins, a local couple, were also stranded in their house when the roof collapsed and water flooded in. They reported seeing neighborhoods around their house flooded on CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“It’s been 23 years since we moved in… I’ve seen a lot of things in my time, but this is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, Don Collins remarked.
The storm pounded the Fort Myers area on Wednesday evening, and hotel manager Marcel Chartier sought refuge in the hotel. The storm swept away automobiles and destroyed everything in its path. Chartier reported to CNN that across the street, a whole building was submerged.
No matter how hard I try, I can’t see anything outside,” Chartier stated. The water level is rising rapidly and is already almost reaching the top of the opposite building.
Tampa police posted a video online Wednesday night warning people to stay indoors and off the roads due to downed trees, broken traffic lights, and other debris.
More than 1.75 million residents in multiple southwest counties were ordered to evacuate earlier Florida week. These counties include Lee, Pinellas, Sarasota, and Hillsborough. Local authorities advised people who remained to stay indoors and out of the elements.