Hurricane Ian – What to do after a hurricane destroys your house?

Destroyed homes after a hurricane

Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, September 28th, 2022. When it struck Florida, it was a powerful, Category 4 storm, one of the worst on record. Maximum sustained winds were about 150 mph as the hurricane hit the Fort Myers area, with particularly high winds recorded on the island of Cayo Costa and in Cape Coral.

Destroyed homes after a hurricane

By Thursday, more than 2 million Floridians were without power, portions of the state were under mandatory curfews, and entire counties still had not lifted evacuation announcements for those who fled before the hurricane arrived.

Though Hurricane Ian was degraded to a Category 1 storm shortly after it made landfall in Florida, this storm was a particularly slow-moving behemoth, so the rainfall from the storm was immense. Some counties have reported more than two feet of rainfall in less than 24 hours. That inundation of rainfall, coupled with storm surge (coastal flooding caused by a storm), means many residential communities in Florida could be underwater for some time. And finally, because Florida is mostly flat with very little elevation to cause water runoff, the water-saturated coastal areas and some interior areas will likely remain saturated for days.

The National Hurricane Center warned Florida’s residents of life-threatening storm surges, catastrophic winds, and immense levels of flooding throughout the Florida peninsula. Further, even though the hurricane storm has since passed, many areas in Florida are still not safe to return to, such as flooded areas, locations blocked by debris, areas with downed power lines, and marinas or neighborhoods where buildings, boats, and other structures and implements may be structurally damaged.

Lists of Cities and Counties Most Affected by Hurricane Ian

Though the damage is still being assessed, the following lists attempt to cover the counties and cities that have thus far reported the most damage from Hurricane Ian. These areas will need repairs, help, medical care for injured residents, state and federal aid, and insurance compensation.

These counties have already qualified for federal aid due to the sheer extent of damage caused by Hurricane Ian:

  • Charlotte County
  • Collier County
  • DeSoto County
  • Hardee County
  • Hillsborough County
  • Lee County
  • Manatee County
  • Pinellas County
  • Sarasota County

Though the damage is still being assessed, Lee County seems to have sustained the most damage from Hurricane Ian. Other counties further inland affected by the hurricane that recently qualified for federal aid include:

  • Orange County
  • Osceola County
  • Polk County
  • Seminole County

Damage is still being assessed, but currently, the Florida cities most affected by Hurricane Ian are:

  • Fort Myers
  • Cape Coral
  • Sanibel
  • Naples
  • St. James City
  • North Naples
  • Gateway
  • Buckingham
  • Marco Island
  • Port Charlotte
  • Sarasota
  • Orlando
  • Jacksonville
  • St. Petersburg
  • Cayo Costa

Hurricane Ian wiped out an entire section of the causeway in Sanibel, and the pier in Fort Myers was destroyed. Both coastal and interior areas of Florida have experienced major flooding, with flood waters as far north as Orlando achieving the status of a “500-year flood event.”

The aftermath may be just as bad as the storm itself. For example, responding to injured residents may be difficult, as several hospitals are at risk for flooding. According to one news report:[1]

  • “New research from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health released on Thursday found that even ‘relatively weak’ storms pose a serious flood risk to hospitals along the coast, including in Florida. Some 85% of hospitals in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton area are at risk of flooding from a Category 2 storm, as well as 28.6% of hospitals in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area.”

The death toll is being updated hourly, but it is currently believed that close to two dozen people have died thus far in the U.S. due to Hurricane Ian. Storm surge in some areas reached 12 feet high, a major cause of the deaths and overall destruction.[2]

Best Weather Resources for Hurricane Ian

The following is a short list of some of the best resources that are providing updated coverage on where Hurricane Ian damage is the worst, along with resources for affected residents:

  1. Sanibel Island Cut Off from Mainland[3]
  2. The Unique Threat Posed by Hurricane Ian[4]
  3. Statistical Data on Damage and First Person Accounts[5]
  4. Hour by Hour Updates on the Path and Danger of Hurricane Ian[6]
  5. New Cities and Counties Added to List of Affected Area Throughout the Southeast[7]
  6. Scope of Property Damage from Hurricane Ian in Florida Counties, Cities and Rural Areas[8]

Preparing for Upcoming Insurance Company Conflict

This may be the last thing anyone wants to think about right now. Still, millions of Florida homeowners will be filing homeowner insurance claims in the coming days, seeking compensation to help them recover from the devastating storm. Across the state, many of those claims will be accepted without complaint by insurance adjusters, but many won’t.

According to Bankrate, Florida is the 17th worst state in the country to be a homeowner’s insurance policyholder, given the immense complexities attached to policies and the hoops one has to jump through to get a claim approved. That’s why, if your home was damaged in Hurricane Ian, Magazine & Light Law Group is standing by to do our part in helping you get the compensation you deserve. Please don’t hesitate to contact our legal office if you are having difficulties seeking compensation from your homeowner’s insurance company for Hurricane Ian’s damage. Call our team today at 727-499-9900.[9]


[1] Forbes. “Hurricane Ian: These Are The Florida Areas Hardest Hit By The Category 4 Storm.” Forbes, 2022.

[2] Axios. “Florida Death Toll Rises from Hurricane Ian.” Axios, 2022.

[3] NPR. “Damage from Hurricane Ian cuts Sanibel Island off from Florida’s mainland.” National Public Radio, 2022.

[4] WAPO. “Why Hurricane Ian Poses a Historic Threat to Florida.” Washington Post, 2022.

[5] Politico. “Figuring Out the Toll Amid the Wreckage Left by Ian.” Politico, 2022.

[6] NBC. “Hurricane Ian Makes Landfall in Florida.” NBC News, 2022.

[7] Click Orlando. “4 Central Florida counties now eligible for FEMA individual assistance after Hurricane Ian.” Click Orlando, 2022.

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James (Jim) Magazine is a Florida Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer who has spent his career helping injured victims. Jim is licensed to practice law in the State of Florida since 1990 and is also admitted to practice at the Appellate level and admitted to the United States Supreme Court.