A week after Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida as a Category 4 storm, it’s still unclear how vast and widespread the devastation is, or how many were killed in the storm, but the death toll is expected to climb.
As of Tuesday night, at least 109 people have been reported killed by the hurricane in the United States, with 105 of those deaths in Florida and 55 of them in Lee County, an area that includes Sanibel Island, Pine Island, Fort Myers Beach and Fort Myers, some of the hardest-hit areas.
Thousands more people have been rescued from floodwaters that persisted after Ian skewed northeast, only to make landfall again in Charleston, S.C., as a Category 1 storm on Friday.
More than two million were without power after Ian hit Florida’s coast with 150 mph winds and double-digit storm surges in some areas — 2.1 million of those had been restored, leaving more than half a million were without power as of Tuesday night, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Nearly every home in three counties were without power as of Monday, according to Fox 35 Orlando.
Emergency crews are still conducting search and rescue efforts, and businesses like OneWater Marine hadn’t yet even begun assessing the damage because they were still focused on helping employees meet basic needs.
“Obviously here at OneWater our hearts go out to everyone who’s been impacted by hurricane Ian,” chief technology officer David Witty told Trade Only Today. “Our first priority is to help team members who’ve been displaced.”
The company installed a robust disaster team and command center at its Marina Mike’s store in Fort Myers, said Witty. It also worked to procure RVs and generators so employees who’d lost everything had a place to stay. Much of the region is still under a boil advisory and without power.
“We don’t have a clear picture of — damage to stores, we can always deal with later,” said Witty. “Our concern is all around team members. This has been extremely traumatic; we have people that have lost everything.”