Since 2000, almost 40 Category 4 or higher hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic Ocean. According to the National Hurricane Center, a government organization that tracks and attempts to manage hurricanes, Category 4 hurricanes are marked by “catastrophic damage.” The description of said hurricane reads as follows: “Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”
Hurricane Ian, which hit the coast of Florida in the middle of last week, is one such storm. According to CNN, the death count hit 67 on Sunday, Oct. 2, and the hurricane has caused property damage all along its path through the southeast. After moving through Florida, Ian began losing steam, and was being downgraded to a Category one hurricane and then later a tropical storm. However, as it began to move north towards South Carolina it regained its hurricane status and seemed to be gaining wind speed as time went on.
Hurricane Ian is the second Category 4 Atlantic storm this month after Hurricane Fiona, which was the first in over a year. Fiona narrowly missed Haiti before traveling up the Atlantic Ocean, only contacting North America in the Gulf of St Lawrence, in between Newfoundland and Northern Quebec. Fiona, however, devastated Puerto Rico, and according to NPR, 100,000 people are still without power, even two weeks later.
In the coming weeks, we will see how the federal government and individual states handle this crisis. Florida governor Ron DeSantis has defended his decision to evacuate individual areas as the storm’s path changed. “I think from southwest Florida’s perspective, as the storm shifted, they made calls and they were helping people get to shelters,” he said, “They opened up their shelters, they did what they needed to do.” Between his hurricane response and the Martha’s Vineyard snafu, DeSantis has been in the news a lot lately. His desire to make a name for himself in the Republican party is being fulfilled, likely much faster than he expected. As this crisis progresses and more information is gathered we will see if that name is one of admiration or condemnation.