Southwest Florida Is Hit By A “Catastrophic” Storm Surge From Hurricane Ian

After making landfall on the Florida peninsula on Wednesday afternoon, Hurricane Ian was moving across the peninsula, flooding certain portions of the west coast with storm surges that could reach up to 18 feet above ground level, according to the National Hurricane Center.

For what it’s worth, A surge of 12–18 feet is extremely high, and among the largest ever recorded in the United States.
To enlarge: By 1pm ET on Wednesday, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration monitoring station reported that Ian had caused a surge of more than 9 feet in Naples, Collier County.

Southwest Florida Is Hit By A "Catastrophic" Storm Surge From Hurricane Ian
Southwest Florida Is Hit By A “Catastrophic” Storm Surge From Hurricane Ian

Officers were “receiving a considerable amount of complaints of persons stranded by water in their homes,” according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, and three feet of floodwater surrounded the Naples fire station.
NOAA reports that the highest surge height in Fort Myers was 7.26 feet.

Fort Myers Beach homes were damaged or destroyed by the surge, and in the city itself, boats were spotted drifting along the streets.
While this was going on, a National Weather Service gauge at Fort Myers reported “moderate flooding” on the Caloosahatchee River, which empties into San Carlos Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, at roughly 6:10 p.m. ET.

Publicly available storm footage included reports of flooding on the island of Sanibel caused by the storm’s surge.
At 7 p.m. EST, the NHC reported that a National Ocean Service station in Ft. Myers had measured a water level of more than 7 feet.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) ranks storm surge, or an abnormal rise in water levels caused by a storm, as the most dangerous and destructive feature of hurricanes.

High tides and storm surges can create “severe” flooding in coastal locations. The surge is caused by water being propelled toward the shoreline by winds blowing cyclonically around the storm.

In an update released at 5 p.m. ET, the NHC stated, “Ian is pounding the Florida peninsula with catastrophic storm surge, winds, and flooding.”

More than 2 million people in the state were left without power on Thursday as the hurricane made landfall in the afternoon at Pirate Harbor and quickly dropped to a Category 1 storm by 11 p.m. However, the storm surge and flooding concerns lingered throughout the day.

They say, At a briefing on Wednesday night, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis predicted widespread destruction.

He noted that the surge and subsequent flooding were the primary causes of concern. We’ve measured it at 12 feet in some spots.

The larger picture is that on Wednesday, a storm surge of 8 to 12 feet was predicted between Bonita Beach and the southern Florida island of Chokoloskee, and 6 to 10 feet was predicted between Englewood and Longboat Key.

Powerful gusts, pouring rain, and extensive flooding accompanied the oncoming storm surge.

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