State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Catastrophe Looms as Surge From Hurricane Ian Meets Fast-Growing Florida

The following is an excerpt from a Sustain What blog post. 

As has been clear for days, Hurricane Ian, currently just below worst-case Category 5 strength after heat-amped rapid intensification (see the AP here), is poised to exact a terrible toll on Florida.

As the National Weather Service tweeted this morning:

Catastrophic wind.
Catastrophic surge.
Catastrophic rainfall and flooding.
These are the last hours to prepare or escape before conditions worsen and #Ian arrives in south and central Florida.

The recipe for catastrophe? Superimpose roof-shredding winds up to 155 miles per hour with tsunami-scale storm surges of 6 to 16 feet and massive inland deluges on a southwest Florida landscape where communities have explosively grown in recent decades without many hurricane hits.

Ian gives fresh force to the meteorologists’ mantra, “It only takes one” as it follows an extraordinarily quiet first half of the Atlantic storm season.

Here’s hoping communities in harm’s way are heeding evacuation orders.

This is a zoomed-in look at the National Hurricane Center’s live map of warnings as of Wednesday morning. (Click here for the full map and updates.) That red and purple area will see awful damage.

Ahead of the surge, Brett Adair (@alastormtracker) tweeted a chilling video clip and said, “Charlotte Harbor is going in reverse…” The low pressure offshore was pulling at the sea before the storm’s arrival. (This imagery unavoidably reminded me of my reporting on the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.)

Check out the full post for a look at how much communities have grown in Florida’s hurricane hot zones, the threats they face from water and wind, followed by some useful tools and tactics to apply when scouring headlines around catastrophic storms in a human-heated climate.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments