In Florida, an enormous search and rescue operation is still underway after Hurricane Ian struck the southwestern coast of the peninsula with reckless abandon.
The storm, which brought with it sustained winds just a few miles per hour shy of making it a category 5 hurricane, was so powerful that it actually sucked all of the water out of Tampa Bay upon its approach.
My cousin sent me this of a drained Tampa Bay from Bayshore Blvd.
Water WILL come back & fast. As @FLSERT warns these surges can be deadly. Stay smart, don’t walk out there & follow local journalists down there @Fox4Now @abcactionnews, delivering latest life saving info! pic.twitter.com/eJlDEkgAUU
— Michael Schwartz (@MSchwartzTV) September 28, 2022
And then there was the carnage…
As the core of Ian left Florida on Thursday, roughly 2 million households across the state were without electricity as the Gulf Coast began to assess leveled homes, flooded buildings and streets, and damaged or destroyed roads and bridges.
Rescue crews also continued pulling people stranded on barrier islands — a task complicated on the popular tourist destinations of Sanibel and Captiva because a section of the only bridge linking them to the mainland had been washed away.
While there were likely to be deaths across Florida — at least two people may have died from storm — Gov. Ron DeSantis urged caution about early rumors of mass fatalities, saying rescuers were still responding to earlier 911 calls.
The bridge to Sanibel Island took the brunt of the storm:
— BNN United States (@BNNUS) September 29, 2022
In Fort Myers, a popular beach side attraction was leveled.
— Smurph (@swmurfl) September 29, 2022
The cleanup effort after Hurricane Ian could take months or longer.