Powerful Storm Scenes: Voices of fear, hope as Ian slams into Florida

FLORIDA– Hurricane Ian, one of the strongest storms on record in the United States, turned Florida streets into rivers, losing power to 1.8 million people and causing catastrophic damage.

Here are some of the stories and scenes:

A Coastal Sheriff’s Office reported receiving many calls from people trapped in homes. The center of the hurricane struck near Cayo Costa, a sheltered barrier island west of densely populated Fort Myers.

Mark Pritchett stepped outside his Venice home around the time the hurricane made landfall from the Gulf of Mexico, about 35 miles to the south. He called it “terrifying”.

“I literally couldn’t hold my own against the wind,” Pritchett wrote in a text message. “Rain shoots like needles. My street is a river. Branches and trees down. And the worst is yet to come.”

News anchors at Fort Myers television station WINK had to leave their usual desks and resume storm coverage from another location in their newsroom after water leaked into their building near the Caloosahatchee River.

Jackson Boone left his home near the Gulf Coast and hunkered down in his Venice law office with employees and their pets. Boone once opened a door to howling wind and rain flying sideways.

“We’re seeing tree damage, horizontal rain, very strong winds,” Boone said over the phone. “We have an oak tree that is over 50 years old that has fallen.”

In Naples, the first floor of a fire station was flooded with about 1 meter of water and firefighters were working to recover equipment from a fire truck stuck in even deeper water in front of the garage, video posted by the Naples Fire Department showed.

Naples is in Collier County, where the sheriff’s department reported on Facebook that it was “receiving a significant number of calls from people who have been trapped in their homes by water” and would prioritize reaching out to people “who have life-threatening medical emergencies in report deep water”. “

Dozens of passengers were stranded at Orlando International Airport on Wednesday after their flights were canceled and the airport closed mid-morning.

An airport worker walked up to groups of passengers and told them to go to the food court, where they would be directed to buses that would take them to emergency shelters.

Amidou Kone had traveled to Clearwater with his two daughters for a weekend vacation. When his flight from Tampa was canceled, he tried Orlando. Now he’s stranded: “We came for a weekend trip and now we’re stuck.”

At the Hilton Garden Inn in Fort Myers, guests – including some who had to evacuate their homes – took refuge from the raging storm.

As of Wednesday morning, all 126 rooms were booked and people were still trying to find a room at the hotel near Southwest Florida International Airport.

“There was a definite influx,” said Kerry Collins, who works at the hotel’s front desk.

Located in a flood zone, the hotel had to switch to a generator after a power outage.

“Everyone who lives with us has to sign a waiver that we are not responsible for anything,” she said.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc7.com/ian-path-weather-hurricane-update-tracker/12277148/ Powerful Storm Scenes: Voices of fear, hope as Ian slams into Florida

Laura Coffey

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