Fort Myers Beach devastated, Matlacha Pass Bridge destroyed

Garrett Gardner

A working day right after Hurricane Ian built landfall as a classification 4 storm, the road to Fort Myers Seashore is littered with debris, structures blown aside, and boats stacked on autos.

In just one place, a rope from the back again of a boat was nevertheless hooked up to a piece of the dock. You can continue to listen to alarms likely off within 1 of them.

Lee County deputies are stationed at the foot of the Matanzas Go Bridge so no just one can move around to Fort Myers Seashore. It really is just much too harmful appropriate now.

If you knew Fort Myers Beach front then, it truly is gut-wrenching to see it now. A boat on the tennis courtroom. A golfing cart in the palm trees. Properties ruined. Other people drying off from catastrophic storm surges.

TOPSHOT – People inspect hurt to a marina as boats are partly submerged in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Florida, on September 29, 2022. (Photograph by Giorgio VIERA / AFP) (Photograph by GIORGIO VIERA/AFP by way of Getty Illustrations or photos)

“It really is just heartbreaking and people are so wiped out appropriate now,” claimed Kathy O’Neill as she sorted by her belongings. “We have to make piles. We never know what to do, where by to set issues.”

Men and women who the moment lived in paradise are recovering what they can.

“It blew via hurricane doors, hurricane shutters, and it took almost everything from every person,” O’Neill mentioned. “It is just devastating. You you should not know exactly where to start out.”

Go through: 2 Hurricane Ian-related fatalities confirmed in Sarasota County

When Hurricane Ian produced landfall Wednesday, storm surge erupted onto the seashore, flooding companies, and accommodations, and sending drinking water amounts up to next-tale balconies.

“11 ft of water took everything out. It took all the things,” O’Neill said.

A section of the Sanibel Causeway, the only hyperlink involving Sanibel, Captiva, and the mainland, washed absent. The Matlacha Go Bridge is impassable.

“I’ve been by means of category 3, it was never ever this undesirable, so I figured, it is not likely to be that poor, I am going to journey it out,” mentioned Joseph Ranlett whose cellular dwelling was wrecked. “Worst miscalculation of my everyday living. I should’ve gone to a shelter.”

The Caloosahatchee River swelled leaving downtown Fort Myers underwater, stacking boats on 1 yet another.

Earlier: Sanibel Causeway will will need to be rebuilt, governor suggests

On the Cape Coral aspect, numerous trees are snapped in 50 {5a5867cc9cca71cf546db38f42fbf171004839e3542174405390d177276b4f49}, avenue indicators bent to the floor, and the Cape Coral Yacht Club fishing pier is gone. A boat was grounded in the median of a road.

For those people who’ve dropped anything, there are just so many concerns.

“What’s everybody heading to do?” questioned Ranlett. “How’s every person likely to get better from this? I suggest, I never have the funds to go any where.”

Additional: Historic Venice Theatre gutted from Hurricane Ian’s winds

What was once household to a lot of, a residence away from dwelling to numerous far more, now feels so unfamiliar.

“You really feel like you are in a war zone,” O’Neill explained. “You you should not really feel like you happen to be in your small group, your lovely minimal beach front town. We will rebuild. We are going to make a new lifestyle. But it’s even now difficult, it really is definitely tough.”

O’Neill got a tiny glimmer of dwelling when sorting via her points. She recovered a picture of her and her partner on their honeymoon. It is what introduced them to the beach front.

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