'Snowbirds' who usually head down to Florida during the winter months came back early to see the damage of Hurricane Ian and help neighbors




Fort Myers Hurricane Ian
Fort Myers Hurricane Ian  
  • Fort Myers, Florida was one of the hardest-hit areas in Hurricane Ian's path.

  • Popular among "snowbirds" who head south for the winter months, the part-time residents came back early.

  • They arrived to see flooding and debris filling their winter paradise.

FORT MYERS, Florida - Susan Johnson, 68, rode out Hurricane Ian with her husband and some neighbors at the clubhouse in her mobile home community. She watched from the windows as neighbors' homes blew away.

On Wednesday, Ian tore through Florida's west coast and slammed the state with catastrophic winds and storm surges. Homes were swept away, boats were destroyed, and city infrastructure has been damaged, leaving nearly entire communities without power. The death toll is at least 21 as of Friday, with state officials expecting the number to rise.

Many of Johnson's neighbors are snowbirds and don't come down until October, she said, but many were now returning after the storm to help their neighbors.

In the surrounding area, traffic lights were still shot and many stores were still dark. Neighbors had piled debris in their yards and hung up clothes and other items on lines outside their homes.

"We have so many conveniences we don't realize it can all go away," Johnson said. "Sometimes you have to go back to the basics to appreciate the things we have."

Susan Johnson
Susan Johnson's home  

Had Johnson known it would be that bad, she said, she would have escaped up to the East Coast. But her own home had been all right after the storm. On Friday, she still didn't have any electricity or running water, but the home had very little damage and no flooding.

The roads to her favorite spots, including Sanibel Island, had been demolished.

Her parents, now deceased, had bought the home in 1989. Johnson had a long career as a judge in Kentucky before retiring in 2015. It had been her "retirement dream" to live here someday, she said, adding, "I'm not going anywhere."

She estimated the storm surges reached 8 feet. In other parts of the area, a 10-foot surge poured into the community, and residents were still waiting on Friday for the water to recede so they can start picking up the pieces.

"It's a peril to always have to be aware of," she said of the possibility of hurricanes in Florida. "But I never imagined it would be like this."

COMMENTS

More Related News

Sanford Insurance Center Inc, a Sanford Insurance Agency, Offers Diverse Insurance Policies to Renters and Owners of Condos, Mobile Homes, Vehicles, Motorcycles, and RVs
Sanford Insurance Center Inc, a Sanford Insurance Agency, Offers Diverse Insurance Policies to Renters and Owners of Condos, Mobile Homes, Vehicles, Motorcycles, and RVs

Sanford Insurance Center Inc works with tens of insurance companies to provide diverse homes, mobile homes, vehicles, motorcycles, and RV in

Giving Tuesday: Dunkin
Giving Tuesday: Dunkin' Offers Free Coffee to Florida Residents As Thanks For Hurricane Recovery Efforts

Dunkin' wants to spread a little sunshine to the storm-battered Sunshine State this Giving Tuesday, as the doughnut chain announced it will offer a "cup of...

2022 college football: BCS simulated top 25 rankings ahead of championship weekend
2022 college football: BCS simulated top 25 rankings ahead of championship weekend

2022 college football: BCS simulated top 25 rankings ahead of conference championship weekend

A
A 'UPS guy' saw something attached to a jug in a Florida pond. Then came two rescues

An sharp-eyed UPS deliveryman came through in the clutch on Florida's Space Coast.

Judge accepts insanity plea deal for Florida man in 2016 face-biting case
Judge accepts insanity plea deal for Florida man in 2016 face-biting case
  • US
  • 2022-11-28 17:17:00Z

A judge accepted a plea deal Monday for a man who randomly killed a Florida couple in their garage six years ago and then chewed on one victim's face that...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America