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'Desolation and Destruction': Hurricane Ian's Trail of Damage in Cuba, Florida

One of the strongest hurricanes to strike the US, Ian battered Florida with high winds, rains, and storm surges.

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Millions of residents in the United States’ Florida remain directly in the crosshairs after category 4 Hurricane Ian, one of the most powerful storms to strike the US mainland, battered the state with high winds, rain, and storm surges on Wednesday, 28 September. 

Previously, Ian left a path of danger and destruction in Cuba, causing the death of two people, and widespread blackouts in the country.

On Monday, hurricane Ian was about 11 miles (160 km) west of the Cayman Islands and sped away with maximum sustained winds of around 90 mph (145 kmph), making it a category 1 event. 
One of the strongest hurricanes to strike the US, Ian battered Florida with high winds, rains, and storm surges.

'Desolation and Destruction': Hurricane Ian's Trail of Damage in Cuba, Florida

  1. 1. What Does Ian Have in Store?

    • High Speed Sustained winds: The centre of the storm is close to 55 miles (88 km) south-southeast of Orlando, packaged with powerful winds as it makes its away through Florida. Hurricane Ian is tied with Hurricane Charley, which hit in 2004, as the strongest storm to make landfall on the Florida peninsula’s west coast.

    • Storm Surges: The storm surge from Hurricane Ian was as high as 12 feet in some places, with areas such as Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Fort Myers and Naples, facing record-high storm surges of 12 to 16 feet. On Wednesday night, the surge was believed to have peaked and was beginning to recede. 

    • Hurricane Warnings Continue: The storm is moving towards the northeast at 9 mph (15 kmph), leading to hurricane warning for Florida’s coasts. While the intensity seems to have reduced since initial landfall, tornado watches and warnings are not waning for the time being. 

    • A Foot of Rainfall: Florida is expecting over 20 inches of rain in some areas, while other areas such as Lehigh Acres and Warm Mineral Springs received close to 14 and 11 inches respectively.

    • Other states brace for destruction: The storm is expected to exit Florida and move into the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, with governors in n Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina already declaring a state of emergency. 

    Expand
  2. 2. Hurricane Ian Rips Through Florida

    The storm has since landfall has weakened into a Category 1 hurricane and is crawling across central Florida as it heads toward the east coast, dumping heavy rains on low-lying areas.

    However, heavy rains continued to pummel Florida. 

    More than two million people were left without electricity in Florida on Wednesday evening, close to 20 percent of the state’s population. The Guardian reported that southwestern Florida was the hardest hit area. 

    By early Thursday morning, authorities were reporting heavy rain and flooding in the Orlando metro area, where 8 to 12 inches of rain had already fallen and up to 4 more inches of rain was expected.

    The true scale of the damage, however, remains unclear as power and communication networks went down, and emergency services workers were forced to rush to shelter.

    Close to 2.5 million Florida residents were ordered to evacuate the southwest region before Ian hit. “This is going to be a nasty nasty day, two days,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said and stressed that people in the hurricane’s path should rush to the safest possible shelter. 

    “We’ll be there to help you clean up and rebuild, to help Florida get moving again,” President Joe Biden said on Wednesday.

    POTUS preemptively approved emergency aid in Florida through the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA). Moreover NASA, which is located on the states east coast took necessary precautions after rolling back its Moon rocket into a hanger for protection.

    Expand
  3. 3. Cuba: Ian's Previous Target

    Hurricane Ian left a trail of danger and destruction in Cuba, causing widespread blackouts on Tuesday, when Florida was bracing for direct impact. For accurate measure, it is important to note that when Hurricane Ian was tearing to Cuba, its heavy wind had already ravaged Florida residents. 

    The hurricane claimed the lives of two – a man whose roof collapsed on him, and a woman who was killed by a falling wall.

    Ian hit Cuba’s western regions for over five hours early morning on Tuesday and eventually moved out over the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters, the Insmet meteorological institute reported, 

    The storm knocked over Cuba’s power grid, plunging the island into darkness. Only a limited number of people, who had access to gasoline-powered generators, generated electricity on the island with a population of over 11 million people. 

    Other Cubans made do with flashlights, candles and lighters, using their mobile phones’ torch when they walked the streets. 

    In the western city of Pinar del Rio, AFP footage showed downed power lines, flooded streets, and a scattering of damaged rooftops.

    Close to 40,000 Pinar del Rio residents bore the brunt of the massive storm, officials said. 

    Canal Caribe, Cuba’s state television channel, said that five buildings had collapsed while 68 of these were damaged, but did not specify if the buildings were residential.

    "Desolation and destruction. These are terrifying hours. Nothing is left here," a 70-year-old resident of the city said in a post on by her son on Twitter. 

    Expand
  4. 4. Climate Change Affects Ian's Intensity 

    Experts have warned that extreme weather events will now become more commonplace with Hurricane Ian becoming just one of the many disasters that have increased in intensity due to climate change.

    Climate factors have been directly attributed to the change in intensity.

    "Climate change will be bringing multiple different changes in different regions – which will lead to an increase in further warming. These changes will affect wetness and dryness, to winds, snow and ice, coastal areas and oceans."
    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, 2021

    According to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), above average temperatures were recorded over the Atlantic ocean. This set the prediction early on for increased activity during hurricane season.

    The rapid intensification of Hurricane Ian has been directly attributed to the warmer ocean temperatures of the northwestern Caribbean and southeastern Gulf of Mexico.

    Another climate factor that has been correlated to Hurricane Ian is the increased intensity of the La Nina, which is set to continue throughout hurricane season.

    Hurricane Ian has followed in the footsteps of Hurricane Fiona and has become another extreme weather event that has set the precedent for what we can expect climate events to be like in the future.

    (With inputs from Aanchal Pannu, AFP and The Guardian)

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

However, the hurricane gathered force in the southeastern region of the Gulf of Mexico after striking Cuba as a Category 3 hurricane. 

Ian was initially expected to make direct impact on the densely populated St Petersburg and Tampa Bay regions, but the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that the eye of the “extremely dangerous” hurricane made landfall (arrived at land) on the barrier islands of Coya Costa. 

Dramatic television footage from Naples showed floodwaters filling beach houses, submerging roads and engulfing vehicles. 

The US Border Patrol said that 20 migrants were missing after their boat sank and added that four Cubans were able to swim to shore, while three were rescued at sea by the coast guard. 

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What Does Ian Have in Store?

  • High Speed Sustained winds: The centre of the storm is close to 55 miles (88 km) south-southeast of Orlando, packaged with powerful winds as it makes its away through Florida. Hurricane Ian is tied with Hurricane Charley, which hit in 2004, as the strongest storm to make landfall on the Florida peninsula’s west coast.

  • Storm Surges: The storm surge from Hurricane Ian was as high as 12 feet in some places, with areas such as Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Fort Myers and Naples, facing record-high storm surges of 12 to 16 feet. On Wednesday night, the surge was believed to have peaked and was beginning to recede. 

  • Hurricane Warnings Continue: The storm is moving towards the northeast at 9 mph (15 kmph), leading to hurricane warning for Florida’s coasts. While the intensity seems to have reduced since initial landfall, tornado watches and warnings are not waning for the time being. 

  • A Foot of Rainfall: Florida is expecting over 20 inches of rain in some areas, while other areas such as Lehigh Acres and Warm Mineral Springs received close to 14 and 11 inches respectively.

  • Other states brace for destruction: The storm is expected to exit Florida and move into the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, with governors in n Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina already declaring a state of emergency. 

0

Hurricane Ian Rips Through Florida

The storm has since landfall has weakened into a Category 1 hurricane and is crawling across central Florida as it heads toward the east coast, dumping heavy rains on low-lying areas.

However, heavy rains continued to pummel Florida. 

More than two million people were left without electricity in Florida on Wednesday evening, close to 20 percent of the state’s population. The Guardian reported that southwestern Florida was the hardest hit area. 

By early Thursday morning, authorities were reporting heavy rain and flooding in the Orlando metro area, where 8 to 12 inches of rain had already fallen and up to 4 more inches of rain was expected.

The true scale of the damage, however, remains unclear as power and communication networks went down, and emergency services workers were forced to rush to shelter.

Close to 2.5 million Florida residents were ordered to evacuate the southwest region before Ian hit. “This is going to be a nasty nasty day, two days,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said and stressed that people in the hurricane’s path should rush to the safest possible shelter. 

“We’ll be there to help you clean up and rebuild, to help Florida get moving again,” President Joe Biden said on Wednesday.

POTUS preemptively approved emergency aid in Florida through the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA). Moreover NASA, which is located on the states east coast took necessary precautions after rolling back its Moon rocket into a hanger for protection.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Cuba: Ian's Previous Target

Hurricane Ian left a trail of danger and destruction in Cuba, causing widespread blackouts on Tuesday, when Florida was bracing for direct impact. For accurate measure, it is important to note that when Hurricane Ian was tearing to Cuba, its heavy wind had already ravaged Florida residents. 

The hurricane claimed the lives of two – a man whose roof collapsed on him, and a woman who was killed by a falling wall.

Ian hit Cuba’s western regions for over five hours early morning on Tuesday and eventually moved out over the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters, the Insmet meteorological institute reported, 

The storm knocked over Cuba’s power grid, plunging the island into darkness. Only a limited number of people, who had access to gasoline-powered generators, generated electricity on the island with a population of over 11 million people. 

Other Cubans made do with flashlights, candles and lighters, using their mobile phones’ torch when they walked the streets. 

In the western city of Pinar del Rio, AFP footage showed downed power lines, flooded streets, and a scattering of damaged rooftops.

Close to 40,000 Pinar del Rio residents bore the brunt of the massive storm, officials said. 

Canal Caribe, Cuba’s state television channel, said that five buildings had collapsed while 68 of these were damaged, but did not specify if the buildings were residential.

"Desolation and destruction. These are terrifying hours. Nothing is left here," a 70-year-old resident of the city said in a post on by her son on Twitter. 

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Climate Change Affects Ian's Intensity 

Experts have warned that extreme weather events will now become more commonplace with Hurricane Ian becoming just one of the many disasters that have increased in intensity due to climate change.

Climate factors have been directly attributed to the change in intensity.

"Climate change will be bringing multiple different changes in different regions – which will lead to an increase in further warming. These changes will affect wetness and dryness, to winds, snow and ice, coastal areas and oceans."
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, 2021

According to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), above average temperatures were recorded over the Atlantic ocean. This set the prediction early on for increased activity during hurricane season.

The rapid intensification of Hurricane Ian has been directly attributed to the warmer ocean temperatures of the northwestern Caribbean and southeastern Gulf of Mexico.

Another climate factor that has been correlated to Hurricane Ian is the increased intensity of the La Nina, which is set to continue throughout hurricane season.

Hurricane Ian has followed in the footsteps of Hurricane Fiona and has become another extreme weather event that has set the precedent for what we can expect climate events to be like in the future.

(With inputs from Aanchal Pannu, AFP and The Guardian)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Climate Change   Florida   Cuba 

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