Sky News: LONDON, England, By Martha Kelner/US – Locals woke to a storm which had exploded into a behemoth overnight. It is as if Hurricane Ian was designed for destruction, not just bringing 155mph wind but storm surge – a tsunami-like wall of water – up to 12 feet high in places.
Fort Myers, a town on the Caloosahatchee River, was among the worst affected, both by the Hurricane Ian storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico and freshwater flooding inland.
We were staying at a hotel just outside the main impact zone, five miles from the coast. Rooms were fully booked with evacuated residents who had mainly moved from the coast inland.
As winds began to pick up around midday many of us saw out the storm together in the lobby and bar of the hotel. We didn’t see the worst of it but big potted plants were bowled over by the wind and a tree was uprooted in the car park.
Hours later three people arrived at the hotel drenched from head to toe, shivering and wearing life jackets. Jennifer Pribanic and her parents, Debby and John Schaefer, had chosen to remain at home in Fort Myers, pulling down their storm shutters and boarding up the windows. But they were caught unawares by the sheer power of the water.
“The water was coming in through the cracks of the doors, and the water just kept coming,” Jennifer said. “Within ten minutes it went from my ankles to my chest and the door that goes out to garage broke off the hinges. Water gushes in, the next thing you know it’s above our heads, every piece of furniture in the house was floating.”