NEWS WITH COFFEE
Hurricane Ian is a hurricane that is currently impacting coastal Georgia and the Carolinas, having already struck the Cayman Islands, western Cuba, and the Florida Peninsula. It is the ninth named storm, fourth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season.
Ian originated from a tropical wave that was located by the National Hurricane Center east of the Windward Islands on September 19, 2022. Two days later, the wave moved into the Caribbean Sea, where it brought winds and heavy rain to the ABC islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and the northern coasts of Venezuela and Colombia on September 21–22. It showed signs of development into a tropical depression later that day, as convection increased and the system became more compact. After strengthening into Tropical Storm Ian, it became a hurricane as it neared the Cayman Islands, before rapidly intensifying to a high-end Category 3 hurricane as it made landfall in western Cuba. Significant storm surge and heavy rainfall affected Cuba and the entire province of Pinar del Río lost power. It slightly weakened during its time over land, but re-strengthened once it moved into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and over the Dry Tortugas, becoming a high-end Category 4 hurricane early on September 28, 2022, as it progressed towards the west coast of Florida. Ian remained at Category 4 strength as it made landfall in Southwest Florida on Cayo Costa Island, tying as the 5th-strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the contiguous United States. After making a second landfall in Southwest Florida, Ian rapidly weakened to a tropical storm before moving back out into Atlantic, where the storm reintensified back to a hurricane.
Ian caused catastrophic damage in Southwest Florida, mostly from flooding due to extreme storm surge and rainfall. In particular, the cities of Fort Myers and Naples were impacted strongly. Millions were left without power in the storm’s wake, and several inhabitants were forced to take refuge on their roofs. Sanibel suffered major flooding as well, and its Causeway collapsed. In total, Hurricane Ian has caused at least 16 confirmed fatalities, including three people in Cuba’s Pinar del Río Province and 13 in Florida. Additionally, at least 17 people are missing, 16 of them from a boat carrying migrants from Cuba that sunk near the Florida Keys as the storm approached; recovery efforts are ongoing.