The world has been following Hurricane Ian for over a week now, from its humble beginnings as a cluster of thunderstorms north of Venezuela to its destruction in Cuba, Florida, and finally in Georgia, and the Carolinas. This massive Category 4 storm measured winds nearly 155 mph, and in addition to wind damage caused deadly storm surge and flooding. Those impacts won’t be fully quantified for weeks, due to how widespread and prolonged they have been. This storm encountered special circumstances, particularly in southwestern Florida, that made it as devastating as it was.
Corresponding high resolution NOAA hurricane response imagery of this same location on Ft. Myers Beach. Before (above). After (below). Large concrete buildings are still visible, but you can see many smaller structures swept away.
According to the National Hurricane Center: “Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm.” While that may seem like a simple definition, it’s much more complicated than that. Let’s break it down:
As Hurricane Ian gained strength, meteorologists knew that that intensity of wind would contribute to a devastating storm surge. In fact, we could already see the opposite of storm surge happen in Tampa Bay before the hurricane made landfall. Nearly a day before landfall, north of where landfall occurred, wind was moving east to west across Tampa Bay. This allowed for the water to physically be pushed out to sea, creating beaches where water once sat.
Conversely, south of the eye of the storm, wind moved from west to east, creating devastating consequences for Naples and Fort Myers who saw the water so easily be thrown onto land with their low sea level positioning, and the coincidence of high tide occurring. What would normally have been high tide at a depth of 1.3ft in Fort Meyers on Wednesday the 28th, turned into 8.57 feet (NOAA Tides and Currents).
Through aerial imagery, NOAA identified widespread flooding and wind damage through Fort Myers, Naples, and Cape Coral. Search and rescues are still ongoing several days after the landfall in these areas. Flash Flood Emergencies were issued by the National Weather Service across the state late last week due to over 15 inches of rainfall across the peninsula. Additionally, freshwater river flooding is still being observed in Sarasota and levee breaks continue to flood homes.
This hurricane wasn’t only devastating to Florida. As it crossed the peninsula, it weakened into a tropical storm and then re-strengthened into a hurricane before it made landfall once more near Georgetown, South Carolina. Though it wasn’t a Category 4, the impact was still felt due to storm surge and intense rainfall rates which combined created flooding in vulnerable, close to sea level locations. Some areas in coastal South Carolina received 6 to 8 inches of rain, as Ian approached with a roughly 6 foot anomaly in the tide.
Hurricane Ian was a natural disaster that disrupted the crucial infrastructure that businesses and the supply chain rely so heavily on. Across Ian’s path, airports were shut down, shipping vessels had to be rerouted, roads and causeways were washed out, and much, much more. The consequences and disruptions felt by just one area of the supply chain will then translate to the next stop in the journey for that entity, and it goes on from there.
A Few Economic Impact Stats:
Estimates from CoreLogic: (Cited in CNN Business)
Generally, after a forecast is given of an impending hurricane, businesses will make every effort to prepare for the incoming storm by adjusting operations, rerouting products, and preparing generators to revive the power grid. This makes the forecast those businesses receive crucial, and this is how we can help.
About Monarch Weather & Climate Intelligence
We are a woman-owned business with a team of Certified Consulting Meteorologists (CCM) and GIS Analysts, providing meteorological and climate services via custom forecasting, modeling and advisory within the insurance, tech, energy, real estate, transportation and agricultural sectors.
As the Fall equinox approaches, a vast number of Americans are eagerly anticipating the perfect weather that comes with the arrival of the 23rd of September. However, for many residing on the East Coast, this pleasant weather shift comes at a cost, which they will experience on Monday. Florida finds itself as the odd state out of the nice weather streak, with potential hazards hiding behind subtle, yet persistent daily rainfall. Across the globe, Hurricane Nigel has formed in the Atlantic and will rapidly strengthen to a major hurricane in the days ahead. Europe may see its first tropical system of the season while Australia paces a record September, with more sunshine increasing throughout the continent.
Click here to learn more about Monarch Co-Founder Kathryn Prociv and her passionate quest to document and capture tornadoes, in real-time. Kathryn shares stories from her exhilarating storm encounters and why this hands-on learning experience has deepened her understanding of meteorology and atmospheric dynamics, ultimately fostering stronger connections and deep empathy with Monarch partners and clients.
While the current ESG systems implemented in asset managers' portfolios are helping to smooth the transition to a more sustainable low-carbon economy, the risk management solutions organizations have in place to manage the risk of climate perils are often insufficient. There is a need for asset managers to understand the potential impacts of extreme weather on their assets and operations and take steps to mitigate these risks through effective risk management strategies. Read more HERE.