Fort Myers: A scene of devastation & heartbreak

People there are shocked and overwhelmed with how to rebuild what they lost in Hurricane Ian

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Hurricane Ian’s wind, rain and storm surge has caused at least a dozen deaths, flooded homes, left millions without power and flattened businesses. Now, people who live there are assessing the damage, and preparing to rebuild what Ian destroyed.

News4JAX anchor and reporter Vic Micolucci spoke with a man who decided to stay in Fort Myers and ride out the storm on his sailboat with his dogs. Sid Cleaves said, “We’ve ridden out many hurricanes, but this is the most ferocious I’ve ever seen. I’ve been in Florida over 50 years and I’ve never seen one so bad.”

Cleaves realized at one point in the storm he and his dogs had to run for safety and get off the boat. His sailboat didn’t make it through the storm.

Video from Fort Myers Beach shows large boats washed ashore from Hurricane Ian

People who live in Fort Myers are now in search of food, basic necessities, gas, and other things they lost in the storm. There’s no electricity and no water. At this point, there is no way to know how much damage Ian caused, or how long it will take to rebuild.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno posted a video on social media showing an aerial view of homes on fire, buildings flattened, roads washed away and underwater.

Fort Myers Beach suffered even more devastation, nothing survived the hurricane. What was once a quaint tourist spot, is gone -- now just piles of rubble and debris. Hurricane Ian was a Category 4 when it made landfall nearby, sending 150 mph winds and storm surge through the town’s center.

Footage of Times Square in Fort Myers Beach shows the level of destruction from Hurricane Ian.

About the Authors:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.

Marilyn has been Digital Director since October 2021. She supervises Jacksonville's number one news website and most trusted source for local news.