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Hurricane Ian: Florida picks up the pieces

Ian, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the US, knocked out power to more than 2.5 million Florida customers after it came ashore on FL’s west coast on Wednesday afternoon. Its winds and storm surge of up to 18 feet trapped people in their homes, leveled buildings and cut off water supplies to some hospitals—forcing patients to be evacuated.

At least nine fatalities have been reported, but there will likely be more amid ongoing rescue efforts. After receiving a briefing from FEMA yesterday, President Biden said that early reports show “what may be a substantial loss of life.”

Other officials offered similarly grim assessments. Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno, who viewed the devastation by helicopter, said, “When you look at Fort Myers Beach, in particular, there are no words to describe it.” FL Gov. Ron DeSantis called Ian a “500-year flood event” and estimated it would take years to fully rebuild.

As for the impact on business…

  • Major Florida airports remained closed yesterday and thousands of flights were canceled. Tampa International Airport will reopen this morning.

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers said their Sunday home game against the Kansas City Chiefs will go on as planned.

  • The citrus industry is assessing the impact on Florida’s prodigious orange groves, which supply the vast majority of OJ in the US. The damage to the already struggling sector is expected to be significant.

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