Super Hurricane Ian leaves more than 100 dead
Florida is no stranger to hurricanes, yet why was Ian so deadly? The Category 4 Hurricane made landfall on the gulf coasts of Florida on September 28 with 155 mph winds driving a storm surge as high as 18 feet. The coastal cities of Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, and Naples were hardest hit by the storm surges.
The hurricane caused widespread power and water outages. The hurricane knocked out power in over 4 million homes and businesses in Florida. Ian also left more than 1.1 million homes and businesses in North and South Carolina without electricity. In addition to that, over 7,000 patients also had to be evacuated from more than 150 healthcare facilities.
Today, Hurricane Ian is just behind Hurricane Katrina as the deadliest storm to hit the U.S. mainland in a hundred years. Authorities report at least 101 people dead, including 92 in Florida. Over 60 percent of the deaths were due to drowning.
Hurricane Ian likely led to insured damages from Florida to the Carolinas between $53 billion and $74 billion, with a “best estimate” of $67 billion. These preliminary damage calculations would rank Hurricane Ian as the costliest hurricane in Florida history, according to new data from the RMS.
What made Hurricane Ian so deadly?
In the aftermath of the disaster, several affected communities find themselves occupied with the cleanup and recovery from Hurricane Ian, which could be ongoing for weeks, months, and perhaps years. However, scientists fear that Hurricane Ian is only the latest example of how rapidly warming ocean temperatures brought about by climate change are turbocharging hurricanes. This phenomenon is known as rapid intensification – simply put, it happens when storms grow very strong, very fast.
Rapid intensification is defined as an increase in a tropical cyclone’s maximum sustained winds by at least 35 mph within 24 hours. In Hurricane Ian’s case, about two days; worth of rapid intensification was packed within 36 hours. From a tropical storm with 45 mph gusts on Sunday, it quickly became a Category 3 hurricane on Tuesday. In less than 22 hours, the hurricane grew in strength by 67 percent.
In recent decades, there have been more of these “rapid intensification events”. Since 2017, the U.S. has been battered by storms rated Category 4 or higher such as Harvey, Irma, Maria, Michael, Laura, Ida, and now Ian.
The catastrophic wake left by Hurricane Ian shows that this trend is not something that should be taken for granted. If communities want to reduce disaster casualties, proper planning and robust disaster response are necessary.
Minimizing disaster impact
Climate change is one of the most urgent and complex global issues we face today and will continue for decades and centuries to come unless we act. The key to both catastrophe risk reduction and climate change adaptation is addressing the underlying causes of risk.
Lifeboat Ventures assesses that we now live in the Age of Disasters. It is on track to help minimize the impact of these calamities by helping disaster impact mitigation startups get off the ground. We work with entrepreneurs on developing startups that reduce the effects of constant disasters such as storms, floods, wildfires, and pandemics.
Can you play a part in reducing disaster impact? Contact us to learn more.
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