Hurricane Ian Causes Significant Auto Damage Across S.W Florida

By Staff Writer September 29, 2022 325

Hurricane Ian is poised to become the Costliest Atlantic hurricane in U.S history, potentially stripping Katrina of its #1 place at $125 billion in damages. Hurricane Ian made landfall on Wednesday as a brutal Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 mph near Cayo Costa, a barrier island just west of the heavily populated Fort Myers area in Lee County. Historic flooding has been reported across the region. Some areas are reporting 6- 12 feet of surge flooding. 

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell on Thursday said that residents of Florida are experiencing “absolutely catastrophic impacts” from Hurricane Ian, and that Ian remains a life threatening storm. 

Water levels in Fort Myers, with a population around 100,000 rose more than 6 feet over the span of seven hours on Wednesday, according to CNN Meteorologist Brandon Miller.  A stretch of the Gulf Coast remained inundated by ocean water on Thursday, pushed ashore by the massive storm. "Severe and life-threatening storm surge inundation of 8 to 10 feet above ground level along with destructive waves is ongoing along the southwest Florida coastline from Englewood to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre  reported early Thursday morning. Flood waters appeared to be receding by mid-day Thursday.  

In Cape Coral, Lee county's largest city (around 170,000) authorities were getting reports of significant structural damage across the city, with the water in some areas still rising, Ryan Lamb, the city’s fire chief and emergency management director, told CNN.

Hurricane Ian also has the potential to become the most devastating storm for auto damage, with more individual car damage across the state than Harvey, Katrina or Sandy inflicted. Sandy destroyed about 250,000 vehicles and Katrina claimed about 200,000, according to estimates. Harvey, the costliest storm for auto damage, ruined between 300,000-500,000 vehicles. The cost of licensed cars lost in Harvey  -- excluding vehicles flooded while waiting in dealership parking lots -- was between  $2.7 billion and $4.9 billion worth of automotive damage, according to Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Cox Automotive. 

After Harvey Insurance companies were quick to total out cars touched by water. Floridians will be counting on that being the case in the aftermath of Ian too, but the state has been plagued with significant problems surrounding insurance companies. If Florida’s insurance wows affect this aspect of the recovery the Biden admin declared in a joint press conference with FEMA on Thursday a major disaster declaration for Florida, pledging $37,000 to individuals whose insurance doesn’t cover property damage including storm damage to cars. 

We will be following the story closely with an expected impact to car sales in the Southeast U.S. that includes the need to replace at least 100,000 vehicles.

 

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Last modified on Wednesday, 05 October 2022 13:19