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Summary of Hurricane Ian’s impacts and devastation, in numbers

Hurricane Ian will be remembered as one of the largest in recent US history, leaving dozens of homes and businesses shattered in addition to an ever-increasing death toll.

After hitting Cuba, the storm slammed into Florida’s west coast with relentless storm surge ripping through the first floors of buildings and winds knocking out about a quarter of Florida’s power. The Category 4 storm dropped more than 20 inches of rain over central parts of the state.

It wasn’t the end of Ian. It meandered over water again and made landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane.

See Hurricane Ian’s damage across Florida in photos, videos and maps

President Biden has said the scale of Ian’s devastation will likely rank among the “worst in the nation’s history”. Below are key figures on the impact and strength of the storm.

68 dead and counting – Most deaths reported so far are drownings in Florida, according to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission. County sheriffs have reported higher death figures and the official toll is expected to rise.

The highest number of deaths occurred near the storm’s impact in Lee County, which includes Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island. Florida’s deadliest hurricane on record killed at least 2,500 people in 1928. Hurricanes in 1919, 1926, and 1935 each claimed between 350 and 800 lives, although all of these numbers are considered unreliable.

Deaths of Ian have also been reported in North Carolina and Cuba.

More than 6,000 flights canceled – Around 2,000 flights were canceled each day from Wednesday to Friday, mostly in the areas between which Ian made landfall in Florida and South Carolina. Airports in Tampa and Orlando, among others in Florida, closed completely as the storm passed. Charleston International Airport in South Carolina also closed. Most other airports in this area remained operational, albeit with significant delays and cancellations.

2.5 million evacuation orders – Millions of Floridians received evacuation orders as Ian approached. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (right) said about 100 evacuation centers have been opened across the state. However, many people did not evacuate.

Evacuation orders covered far fewer people than those for Hurricane Irma, which made landfall on the Florida peninsula as a Category 3 storm in 2017. Irma was responsible for the largest US evacuation in history , with around 7 million people ordered to leave their homes. , mainly in Florida.

Photos: Striking Before and After Photographs of Hurricane Ian’s Path

More than 3.4 million power outages in the United States — About 2.7 million customers were in the dark during the peak outage in Florida. That’s about 25% of the state, significantly more than Category 5 Hurricane Michael, which left 4% of the state without power in 2018. North Carolina recorded about 350,000 people without power at its peak, and South Carolina had about 218,000. Virginia topped 100,000. Georgia added about 15,000 outings to the top.

However, the blackouts in the United States pale in comparison to those in Cuba, where outages after Ian plunged the entire island of 11 million into darkness.

Over $60 billion in insured losses – Ian is estimated to have caused more than $60 billion in privately insured losses in Florida alone, making it the second-largest claim on record, according to industry group Insurance Information Institute. Ian follows Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which caused $89.7 billion in inflation-adjusted insured losses.

Three landings — Ian made landfall as a hurricane three times. It first landed as a 125mph Category 3 storm near La Coloma, Cuba early on September 27. On the afternoon of September 28, the storm hit Cayo Costa, Florida as a Category 4 with winds of 150 mph. . Two days later, Ian made his final touchdown near Georgetown, SC, in Category 1 at 85 mph.

Fifth strongest wind – At 150 mph, Ian’s landing wind speed in Florida tied for fifth strongest on record in the United States, a mark shared by seven other storms. It is tied for the fourth fastest landing speed on record in Florida. The highest winds are rarely recorded, given a relatively sparse sighting network, but sightings show impressive gusts across Florida at 140 mph at Cape Coral, 135 mph at Punta Gorda and Solana, 112 mph at Pelican Bay and 110 mph at La Belle. Places as far from landfall as Tampa and Daytona saw hurricane-force wind gusts.

Gusts of 92 mph and 94 mph were also recorded at Shutes Folly, SC, and Chesapeake Light Tower, Va., respectively.

Sixth major hurricane to hit the Gulf in the past six years — In the past six seasons, six Category 4 or greater hurricanes have struck the continental United States: Harvey and Irma (2017), Michael (2018), Laura (2020), Ida (2021) and Ian (2022).

Other nearby regions have also been badly affected, including parts of the Caribbean. Puerto Rico was hit by Category 4 Maria in 2017, and Category 5 Irma sacked many islands before reaching the United States. Dorian also crossed the Bahamas in Category 5 before crawling north off the southeast coast. Hurricanes Eta and Iota in 2020 also hit Nicaragua in category 4.

All of these storms experienced rapid intensification, increasing their wind speeds by at least 35 mph in 24 hours. Scientists expect rapid intensification events, especially during strong storms, to increase due to warming ocean waters associated with climate change.

Storm surge greater than 12 feet – A rise or rise in ocean water above normally dry land on the coast, to a height of 12 feet, was reported by DeSantis shortly after landing in Florida on Wednesday afternoon, and predicted values ​​from 12 to 18 feet are believed to have taken place in certain places. The The Weather Channel’s Hurricane Expert Rick Knabb said some areas were probably above 12 feet, “but it takes time to collect traces of water.” The Naples and Fort Myers tide gauges posted their highest water levels on record.

Imaging of houses under water up close to the ceiling would indicate at least an 8 to 10 foot surge. Values ​​were almost certainly higher in parts of the Florida coast, which will be determined in ongoing surveys. A surge of around 5ft was also reported near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, its third highest on record, as Ian made his second US landfall nearby.

21.16 inches of rain – Union Park, just northeast of Orlando in central Florida, received 21.16 inches of rain from the storm. That’s nearly four times the average September rainfall in Orlando, and it fell in about 36 hours. Ian’s rush pushed Orlando to his wettest month on record. Another dozen official sighting sites exceeded 10 inches from the storm. Parts of the region experienced ‘1 in 500 years’ rainfall (meaning it only had a 0.2% chance of occurring in any given year), leading to widespread and significant flooding lakes and rivers.

Ian’s precipitation production in Florida on Thursday ranked third since 2005, according to the National Weather Service, trailing only two unusually rainy days during Hurricane Harvey.

Charleston recovered 10.75 inches from Ian, which was the most outside of Florida.

940 millibar landing pressure The strength of a hurricane’s winds is related to the low atmospheric pressure at the center of the storm; pressure less than 980 millibars is generally thought as conducive to the formation of hurricanes. Ian quickly reinforced from a tropical storm to a category 3 hurricane with a pressure of 952 millibars when it hit Cuba. It probably helped the heart of the hurricane leave the country in a healthy state, setting up a second cycle of rapid intensification which allowed a minimum pressure of 937 millibars.

The landing pressure of 937 millibars was the ninth-deepest central pressure for a storm to hit Florida, behind events such as Category 5 storms Michael in 2018 (919 millibars) and Andrew in 1992 (922 millibars).

Thousands of thunderbolts – Just before landing, up to 1,000 flashes were detected in the eyewall, making it one of the most electric eyewalls during a storm in the Gulf of Mexico. In total, as many as 34,000 lightning strikes were recorded during the storm, according to scientists from Vaisala, a company that operates a nationwide lightning network. This puts it in the high end of tropical cyclones for lightning. Although the mechanisms causing intense eyewall lightning are not fully understood, they tend to favor atypically powerful storms.

Of them – There are two months left in this hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. October in particular can produce high-level storms, so it’s not time to stop looking just yet.