Hurricane Ian most costly storm in Florida history

Storm caused $109B of damages to homes, buildings, infrastructure in the state

Hurricane Ian, Homes, Dollar Sign
(Getty; Illustration by The Real Deal)

The damage wrought by Hurricane Ian has been calculated at $109 billion, making it the costliest storm in Florida history, the Miami Herald reported, citing a report from the National Hurricane Center.

The storm damaged thousands of homes and buildings in the state. That’s on top of the infrastructure like roads and bridges that the storm also claimed.

“In Fort Myers Beach alone, an estimated 900 structures were totally destroyed, and 2,200 were damaged. In Lee County, at least 52,514 structures were impacted, of which 5,369 were destroyed and 14,245 received major damage,” according to NHC’s report.

The final death toll was 156, 66 of which were directly related to Ian, though there are still some people who are still unaccounted for. All told, the storm caused a total of $112.9 billion of damage in the U.S., with the figure likely to rise as more insurance claims and lawsuits are filed. (Many Florida residents are still rebuilding in the aftermath of the devastating storm, with more than 140,000 out of 708,000 insurance claims still remaining “open and pending,” according to the Florida Phoenix, citing estimates from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.)

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The report also addressed how the hurricane center forecast the storm and whether that contributed to the damage by not giving enough time to prepare for it.

Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida as a Category 4 Hurricane on Sept. 28 at Cayo Costa, with 155 mile-per-hour winds, bringing with it up to 18 feet of storm surge. The storm had reached Category 5 status, with winds of 160 miles per hour or more, in the Gulf of Mexico before hitting Florida.

Ian, which was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reached Florida’s west coast, is the third-most costly storm on record, behind Hurricane Katrina ($190 billion, adjusted) and Hurricane Harvey ($151.3 billion, adjusted), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

— Ted Glanzer

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