Hurricane Ian – Response and Recovery

Release Date:
March 8, 2023

Before landfall, federal resources were positioned to respond immediately to Hurricane Ian. Here is a timeline of preparations and federal support to Floridians in response to the storm and recovery nearly six months later.

Overview

  • Hurricane Ian made landfall Sept. 28, 2022, near Cayo Costa, Florida, as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph.
  • Ian pushed a storm surge of 15 feet above ground level into southwest Florida, resulting in record inundation of coastal locations, especially Sanibel Island and Fort Myers 
  • Hurricane force winds were observed as far inland as Orlando, leaving more than 2.7 million customers without power and widespread structural damage to homes, vehicles, and businesses.
  • Hurricane Ian was the third costliest cyclone to strike the United States, after Katrina and Harvey, according to NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Damage is estimated at $112.9 billion, including insured and uninsured losses.

Response

  • More than 4,000 federal responders deployed
  • 33,823 survivors sheltered in 262 shelters
  • Safety & Security Lifeline stabilized 15 days post landfall (13 OCT 2022)
    • 11 Federal and 8 State Search & Rescue Task Forces
      • 5,572 human/animal interactions
      • 86,722 structural assessments
    • 22 canine search teams
  • Food Water Shelter Lifeline stabilized 19 days post landfall (17 OCT 2022)
    • Transitional Sheltering Assistance (non-congregate sheltering) using hotels approved for 26 counties
      • 4,548 total households served
      • 705 households currently sheltered
    • Commodities
      • 11 million liters of water made available to state for distribution
      • 6.8 million meals, tarps, blankets, cots, medical equipment and other commodities made available to state for distribution
  • Health and Medical Lifeline stabilized 9 days post landfall (07 OCT 2022)
    • 183 healthcare facilities evacuated
    • 3,782 individuals treated by 7 federal Disaster Medical Assistance Teams that provided hospital decompression at 6 facilities and established 1 mobile clinic
      • 1 in Charlotte County, 2 in Sarasota County, and 4 in Lee County
    • 300 ambulances provided
  • Energy (Power and Fuel) Lifeline stabilized 9 days post landfall (07 OCT 2022)
    • 42,000 linemen assisted in power restoration through Emergency Management Assistance Compact
    • Only 12 generators required for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers temporary power mission due to speed of power restoration
  • Communications Lifeline stabilized 2 days post landfall (30 SEP 2022)
    • More than 1,500 cell sites impacted
    • 17 federal emergency response vehicles supported responder communications and survivor application activities
  • Transportation Lifeline stabilized 10 days post landfall (08 OCT 2022)
    • Barge and Air Operations mobilized resources needed to reestablish services on Sanibel Island
    • Access to isolated communities established through emergency repairs to critical infrastructure
  • Hazardous Materials Lifeline stabilized 2 days post landfall (30 SEP 2022)
    • 323 sewage spills and damage to 8 hazardous waste facilities reported
    • EPA mobile water labs used to augment potable water testing

Recovery (3/6/2023)

  • $6.6 billion provided to survivors, the state and communities (FEMA IA/PA, SBA, NFIP)
  • Individual Assistance
    • 911,000 valid registrations
    • $1.04 billion approved for 383,081 households
      • $680.5 million in Housing Assistance
      • $357.7 million in Other Needs Assistance
    • Operated 57 Disaster Recovery Centers (37 fixed, 20 mobile)
      • 138,000 visitors
      • 11 centers currently open
    • Transitional Sheltering Assistance
      • 4,548 households in 26 counties served
      • 705 households currently staying in hotels
      • 3,843 households have checked out
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Blue Roof Mission complete (14 NOV 2022)
    • 20,119 temporary roofs installed in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Lee and Sarasota counties
  • Direct Housing
    • Direct Housing approved for 7 counties: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee, Sarasota and Volusia counties
    • 2,263 households currently eligible for Direct Housing (travel trailers, manufactured housing units, leased apartments)
    • 530 applicants occupying a unit as of March 6
  • U.S. Small Business Administration
    • $1.73 billion in disaster loans approved
  • National Flood Insurance Program
    • 46,400 National Flood Insurance Program claims submitted; $3.2 billion paid
  • Disaster Survivor Assistance
    • 354,615 homes visited
  • Public Assistance
    • 132 projects obligated for $636.8 million (federal share)
  • Debris Removal
    • 31.5 million cubic yards of estimated 32.6 million cubic yards removed
    • 520 vessels Oil/Hazmat removal completed
    • More than 36,000 gallons of petroleum recovered
    • More than 6,600 pounds of hazardous material recovered

Innovation

Urban Search & Rescue Team Prepositioning

Before landfall, FEMA deployed a Federal Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Coordination Group, a US&R Incident Support Team and five US&R teams to Florida. The U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Defense and Customs and Border Protection deployed resources, in addition to approximately 10,000 National Guard personnel and other state and local personnel conducting search and rescue operations.  Federal support included 26 aircraft, 10 rotary wing aircraft, 40 shallow water boats and 1,234 high-water vehicles.

Advanced Geospatial Technology

During the response to Hurricane Ian, geospatial technology was used to expedite the disaster declaration process and to produce comprehensive incident impact assessments following landfall. FEMA geospatial information systems teams conducted 56,000 remote assessments that identified 24,000 residential structures with visible damage. Assessments were conducted using artificial intelligence, crowdsourcing and high-resolution imagery from satellite, air and ground. After landfall, 5,627 GIS inspections were performed, resulting in $78.3 million in assistance to survivors without requiring an in-person inspection.

Speeding Up Debris Removal

Debris removal was beyond the capabilities of local communities and the State of Florida without assistance from FEMA. More than 6,100 structures were destroyed and more than 15,700 sustained major damage, many of them on private property or commercial property. Normal execution of Private Property Debris Removal (PPDR) and Commercial Property Debris Removal (CPDR) would take time, but FEMA wanted to expedite rapid removal of debris to eliminate threats to lives, public health and safety, significant damage to improved public or private property, and to ensure economic recovery of the affected community.

A Rapid Debris Removal Task Force used technical and observational information to create a consistent, data-driven index of areas eligible for PPDR/CPDR waivers in the application process. Indicators included wind speed, inundation or storm surge data, and levels of damage (destroyed, severely damaged, etc.). Supporting data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index, Florida’s list of fiscally constrained counties and the location of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Opportunity Zones were incorporated into the matrix. Because of these efforts and the use of new technologies, the most severely impacted communities are more than six months ahead of typical timelines for private and commercial property debris removal operations.

Direct Housing in Special Flood Hazard Areas

A Direct Housing Implementation Team was deployed to Florida to provide integration across functional areas in the Direct Temporary Housing Assistance mission. Most of the areas with severely damaged housing are in Special Flood Hazard Areas. After assessing flood risk, in January 2023 FEMA announced approval of special considerations for Temporary Housing Units in Special Flood Hazard Areas, specifically for several commercial parks in Lee County. This decision does not include floodways, Coastal High Hazard Areas, Coastal A Zones, Coastal Barrier Resource System Units, areas within the Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LIMWA), or within any zone with a “V” designation. The installation of units must comply with all federal, state, local regulations and building codes, including all elevation and anchoring requirements.

Coastal Resilience Task Force

The Coastal Resilience Task Force, a combination of local, state and federal agencies, is focused on the recovery of impacted coastal areas, restoration of living shorelines and other nature-based solutions to mitigate future coastal flooding and storm surge impacts. The Task Force is working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to identify challenges, priorities and opportunities for a more resilient coastal region. An inaugural summit took place Dec. 5, 2022, and a second meeting of the Task Force was convened Mar 2, 2023. Other federal agencies include EPA, USDA, NOAA, and USACE.

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Last updated March 8, 2023