More than 80 people are dead, half of whom in the region of Fort Myers, according to a provisional assessment. If the region is used to powerful winds, the sudden rise in the waters has taken the inhabitants by surprise.
Originally from the icy plains of Michigan, Keith and his wife Tinka Bucholtz came to spend all winters in Florida and settled there definitively four years ago, in Fort Myers, on the east coast of the peninsula. When Hurricane Ian announced, the two retirees did not evacuate. They went to take refuge with their daughter. A house on the edge of the lagoon, but in concrete, isolated with anti-oraragan and raised windows. No danger, they thought, when the eye of the cyclone touched earth. “We did not even hear the wind inside,” explains Keith Wucholtz, sitting on his steps, by 24 degrees and a fall sun again.
The house did not move, but it was counting without the rise of waters, in this fatal Wednesday, September 28. The water rises, by almost two meters, until touching the first floor. Tinka Buchholtz does not know if the waters will continue to go up. “Of course I thought I was going to die. We have time to gamber in these moments. This hurricane made me take ten years. I will never come back to live in Florida,” says the septuagenarian. The couple’s house, unlike that of their daughter, is destroyed. It’s decided, they will return to their native Michigan, north of Grand Rapids.
In this hurricane, it was not the wind that surprised. He sowed desolation in his path, but in an expected manner: by dint of strengthening his anti-oraragan standards, the strictest in the country, Florida has built works of art that resist better and better. Admittedly, the bridges that lead to the neighboring islands of Sanibel and Pine Island were carried away. But the houses built with Florida standards have resisted that worth it, while the miserable wooden bicoques and the motorhomes flew away, that the coconut palms were torn off and the uprooted trees.
By the sea
No, the unexpected phenomenon relates to the rise of waters, created by cyclonic depression, amplified by a high tide, the winds and the shallow depth of the bay. Thus, Keith Cunnigham, 74, retired entrepreneur from Delaware, did not really be afraid for his life: his solid house has two floors, and he also stayed there during the storm. Suddenly, while the hurricane reaches his peak, he receives the phone call from his neighbors, a couple of septuagenarians: they have only one floor and ask to take refuge at home. He sees them, crossing the street invaded by the sea, beaten by winds greater than 100 km/h, water up to the belt. “I thought they wouldn’t do it,” he said in his garage, a cap defending the right to carry weapons on the head.
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