‘Dog barking, wind howling, rain pouring’: Hurricane Ian brings disastrous effects to Central Florida


Photo provided by: Kenny Bevan

Reeling from the effects of Hurricane Ian, once playable basketball courts are found submerged in water.

Avery Ranum, Editor-in-Chief

In the early hours of Thurs., Sept. 29, Hurricane Ian made landfall in Central Florida. Just a few hours prior, the storm entered Florida off the Gulf Coast with winds just below that of a Category 5 storm. Ian eventually hit inland areas as a tropical storm, but nonetheless, the storm brought rain and winds that yielded catastrophic effects. 

In the days preceding the storm, the Florida government made efforts to ensure safety: schools began to close across the state, mandatory evacuations were issued to areas along the state’s western coast, and many counties offered sandbags to help people prevent the risk of flooding. To become best prepared, many took it upon themselves to equip their homes for the weather to come. 

“We took in all of our plants from outside as well as our outside furniture,” senior Laney Taylor said. “We also filled up all of the water bottles we had in our house since there were no plastic ones at the store and my mom of course bought plenty of hurricane snacks like microwave popcorn, Twizzlers, and cookie dough.”

During the storm, winds reached speeds of up to 90 mph in Orange and Seminole counties. As Florida is no stranger to hurricanes, many knew exactly what to do when they felt danger levels rise.  

“We had to evacuate to my sisters’ bathroom at 2 a.m. because we thought we heard sounds like a freight train coming from outside,” sophomore Jakob Howard said. “It was like our ‘safe place’ in the house because it has no windows. We ended up sleeping in her room that night so we could be close to the bathroom in case we needed to go in there again.”

Local damages following Ian were far worse than what was expected of the tropical storm: streets and yards were littered with fallen branches and trees, panels of fencing had been torn out of the ground, and more than two million homes were left without power. With rainfall reaching over a foot, certain neighborhoods experienced intense flooding. 

“My neighborhood has a spring in it,” senior Kenny Bevan said. “ The spring flows out to the Wekiva River. The river overflowed which caused the spring area to overflow. We were in awe at how much water was there.”

Communities along the coast embraced the worst of the record-breaking effects. Howard, whose family friend lives in Fort Myers, weathered the storm despite its lethal winds and rain. 

“Her house ended up getting flooded,” Howard said. “She had sliding glass doors that got pounded with rain to the point where they got destroyed and broken through and rain came into her house.”

As of Oct. 1, over 77 have reportedly died from Hurricane Ian’s effects. Closures persist as homes and workplaces stand without power, and many roads remain inaccessible due to flooding. Even so, the public has come together to spread kindness during a time when it is needed most. 

“Our community helped each other out by gathering up some of the debris off the road and I even saw a lady going around the neighborhood with a rake and a trash bag to simply clean up the sidewalks for people to walk which was really cool to see,” Taylor said. “My family is not super close with our neighbors so being able to connect with them over the hurricane was really cool.”