Today I continue to reflect on Hurricane Ian, Southwest Florida’s Category 4 storm of September 28, 2022. I ask the most basic of questions: “Where exactly did Ian make landfall?” This question seems simple, but it is not, and is best answered sharing a text exchange with my brother Todd after the storm.
Todd: “The National Hurricane Center Track is just connecting dots that are two hours apart — at each official update, seen below. Thus, the line does not show the wobble of the center of circulation. The second fie is the archived radar data showing the eye at 19:05 UTC (3:05pm ET). It’s a pretty good indicator of where the center made landfall.”
Jacqui: “Hmm, incredible. Looking back through my screen shots, this Weather Channel one is interesting because it shows all the shifts – those wobbles you note – and Ian clearly makes landfall at Cayo Costa not Boca Grand.”
Todd: “Yes that must have the intermediate positions so more wobble showing. My computer has been grinding radar data for about 15 minutes for a video and is 39% finished. It should spit out a radar animation from 8am to 8pm on the 28th. The colors are just the radar echo in decibels. The higher the reflection the more dense the rain.”
Jacqui: “What a terrible hit and the video makes wobbling clear. Makes me think of how fortunate we were that Cat. 5 Dorian did not continue on from the Bahamas to hit us in 2019. What a nightmare.”
Screenshot of slide-bar image: “Then and Now Images and Movies:” “Matlacha After Hurricane Ian,” eyeonlakeo.com, Todd Thurlow.
Having grown up in Florida, my brother Todd and I both developed a reverence for the natural world. Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida on September 28, 2022. Today, I share Todd’s latest eyeonlakeo.com creation featuring jaw-dropping “then and now images and movies” of Hurricane Ian’s swollen effects on the Kissimmee, Peace, Lake Harney and St John’s rivers; the Gulf of Mexico; the intense destruction in Charlotte County’s Gulf Cove; Lee County’s once fishing village of Matlacha; and Sanibel Causeway; as well as NOAA NGS emergency response imagery. This is documentation is almost as powerful as the storm itself and the comparison images can be viewed by clicking on the illustration and then using the simple blue dot slide-bar to go back and forth. Respectfully, Todd and I submit this documentation with continued prayers for those whose lives are forever changed.
I am blogging from my phone so I do not know what this post will look like when it’s published. On my street in Sewall’s Point, there is no power. Not for one second will I complain knowing what so many have lost on Florida’s southwest coast and around the state. Hurricane Ian has only just begun to tell his story. We all will be living with his impact for years.
From the bottom of my heart I am wishing those who are suffering comfort. “West Coasters” are indeed our brothers and sisters. In 2013 when the River Movement was rising from the filth and black waters of the St Lucie and Caloosahatchee’s “Lost Summer” we met at the Sugarland Rally in Clewiston. East & West met to bind for the fight against polluting discharges from Lake Okeechobee, and we indeed planted seeds that inspired a youth movement, and changed water policy and politics throughout the state of Florida. Our influence grew with each terrible event- 2013, 2016, 2018. Over time, this east/west partnership became much, much, more, and yes, like every family, we’ve had our challenges, our problems. The ACOE’s LOSOM, the most recent challenge, publicly pitted us against each other for over three years, but we finally found a fair center for ourselves and others.
The past couple of days, I’ve been thinking about SFWMD Chairman, Chauncey Goss who I sit next to every month at our governing board meetings. Chauncey’s family lives on Sanibel and his father worked to create the special low density, native character of the Island. May it be rebuilt in the same nature respecting spirit.
As we all know, all we have can be taken from us, thus all we really have is that within us. May we be good neighbors to those left in Ian’s path, as it is not just them, we are all forever changed.