Slow-moving Hurricane Ian threatens over 1 million houses along the Florida Gulf Coast with storm surges of up to 10 feet and a $258.3 billion rehabilitation expenditure. These estimates are based on Hurricane Ian making landfall as a Category 4 storm.
Storm surge from storms may completely destroy houses and businesses. Getty Images
More than 15 million people in Florida face the possibility of tropical-storm-force winds. Residents of the Tampa metro region, as well as Orlando, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville, are included. According to CNN, the Tampa region on Florida's western coast might get its first direct hit from a hurricane since 1921. That may be disastrous.
"The last significant hurricane that really made a direct impact was 100 years ago," said National Weather Service meteorologist Rick Davis of the Tampa office. "So there are a lot of individuals in Florida who have been brushed by storms in the previous five or ten years."
"Hurricane Ian has all of the components for a disastrous storm surge occurrence," said Tom Jeffery, senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic. "As Hurricane Ian slows and intensifies in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the possibility of a spreading wind field carrying destructive storm surge grows worse by the day." Many properties along Florida's western coast are vulnerable to storm surge inundation regardless of where the storm makes landfall, and even more residents will see heavy rain and hurricane-force winds throughout the week."
Storm surge flooding is one of the main causes of hurricane property damage along the Atlantic Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and—under the correct circumstances—even interior rivers. It happens when sea water is forced onshore by a storm by a combination of wind and pressure.
A combination of high winds and low pressure moving with the storm causes water to gather along the front of a hurricane and push the accumulated water over the ocean as it advances, eventually onto land and into homes and businesses. Storm surge from storms may completely destroy houses and businesses in minutes.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has began establishing a logistical staging facility in Polk County and is exploring potential additional staging places and distribution points to guarantee food and water are readily accessible if counties request it. In preparation for delivery to damaged regions, FDEM has loaded 360 trailers with over 2 million meals and over 1 million gallons of water.
FDEM is also working with utility companies to ensure staff are ready to respond and restore electricity. More than 25,000 linemen have been prepped and readied by utility companies for power restoration efforts.
Schools in Florida have been closed to prepare for the hurricane. As of Monday, twenty-four Florida school districts, five state universities, and four state colleges have declared closures, with more expected to follow during the week.
Cities at high risk of storm surge damage are also at danger of mortgage delinquencies skyrocketing as homeowners struggle to make monthly mortgage payments due to expenditures and missed earnings.