NOAA: Ian was Group 5 storm before weakening at Florida landfall

NOAA: Ian was Group 5 storm before weakening at Florida landfall

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)  — Hurricane Ian briefly arrived at highest Classification 5 position just before weakening to a Group 4 storm as it blasted ashore past September in southwest Florida, ultimately producing over $112 billion in hurt in the U.S. and extra than 150 deaths instantly or indirectly, the Countrywide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration described Monday.

The report, which NOAA releases for all significant tropical storms, also claims Ian was the costliest hurricane in Florida background and the third-costliest ever in the U.S. as a total. In addition to Florida, Ian impacted Georgia, Virginia, the Carolinas and Cuba prior to it fell aside Oct. 1.

FILE – The bridge major from Fort Myers to Pine Island, Fla., is greatly weakened in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Oct. 1, 2022. Hurricane Ian briefly achieved Category 5 position with 161 mph (259 kph) winds in excess of open up water prior to putting southwestern Florida as a a bit weaker 150 mph (241 kph) storm past September, ultimately resulting in around $112 billion in harm in the U.S. and additional than 150 fatalities immediately or indirectly, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration documented Monday, April 3, 2023.

Gerald Herbert / AP

The NOAA report elevates Ian to a single of the most highly effective tropical cyclones on file as a Class 5 with winds approximated at 161 mph (259 kph) on Sept. 28 after passing by the Dry Tortugas islands. Despite the fact that it weakened to a Group 4 storm when it struck Florida later on that working day with winds of 150 mph (241 kph), the storm is now on the listing of deadly monsters this sort of as Camille, Hugo, Andrew, Katrina, Wilma and Michael.

In addition to the winds, Ian developed significant storm surge across the southwestern Gulf coast of Florida. For illustration, the peak storm surge at tough-hit Fort Myers Beach was in between 10 and 15 ft (3 and 4 meters) higher than floor level. At close by Sanibel, the surge was a large as 13 toes (3.9 meters).

“Ian made landfall in a location incredibly susceptible to storm surge,” the NOAA report states. “In southwestern Florida, the catastrophic storm surge and wind still left a massive swath of finish destruction.”

Storm surge drowning was the major result in of demise for the duration of the storm with 41 deaths, with 12 further fatalities due to inland flooding in central and jap Florida. There were 66 fatalities in Florida instantly attributable to the storm, NOAA concluded.

The U.S. total of 156 fatalities features indirect fatalities these types of as heart assaults, electrocution from ability lines, lack of ability to reach clinical enable and auto incidents. Of all those, 84 were being in Florida.

Victims ranged in age from 6 to 101 many years outdated, but the median age of storm-associated fatalities was 72, NOAA found.

“It is probable this is a reflection of demographics in the counties of southwest Florida but is consistent with other hurricane landfalls where the oldest die at the optimum rates,” the report says.

More than 4.4 million clients, or about 9 million men and women, dropped power in the U.S. during Hurricane Ian from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, NOAA identified. Florida led the way in electricity outages with additional than 3 million prospects, with hundreds a lot more in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

More than $109 billion of the believed $112 billion in storm damages happened in Florida, with much more than 52,000 constructions impacted in Lee County alone and 5,369 fully destroyed. Inland flooding from swollen rivers, some at document ranges, damaged or ruined hundreds of structures in many central Florida counties.

The optimum rainfall complete from Hurricane Ian was nearly 27 inches (68 centimeters) at Grove City, Florida, just north of the landfall locale at Cayo Costa. Rainfall amongst 10 and 20 inches (25 and 50 centimeters) was widespread across Florida.

As for Hurricane Ian forecasts, NOAA states the track mistakes have been decreased than those above the past 5-calendar year time period even though still acknowledging some problem in pinpointing the precise place of anticipated landfall. There have been thoughts lifted pursuing the storm if the warnings were being sufficient to permit people today, specifically the aged, plenty of time to escape.

“In standard, storms that parallel a shoreline are inclined to be more challenging to predict since a small improve in heading can induce huge differences in the landfall location,” the NOAA report suggests. “Ian was an case in point of this specific obstacle.”

The fast intensification also was hard to predict. NOAA mentioned that in this region, the forecast problems have been bigger than those people around the past five decades. Storm surge watches, meanwhile, were issued commencing at 48 hours in advance of the onset of tropical storm winds at Fort Myers Seashore and the prediction of peak surge rose from a utmost of 7 ft (2 meters) to 12 feet (4 meters) a day right before Ian created landfall.

NOAA also mentioned that its forecasters done 282 media interviews the past week of September and that the National Hurricane Center web site was accessed about 224 million occasions for the duration of the storm period.

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