Updated Data From Hurricane Ian Indicate That It Reached the Maximum, Category 5

A street in Cuba with the damage left by the passage of Hurricane Ian, last September. (EFE/Yander Zamora/Archivo)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Miami, 3 April 2023 — Ian, the devastating hurricane of 2022, briefly reached category 5, the maximum, with winds of up to 160 mph near the west coast of Florida. It caused the death of 156 people and damage of more than 112 billion dollars in the United States alone, according to data updated on Monday.

A new report from the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) indicates that Ian reached category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale in the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall in Florida last September as a category 4 hurricane.

Hurricanes of the highest category are rare in the Atlantic basin, but Ian’s maximum sustained winds reached 160 mph in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, near where it made landfall in the Fort Myers area, on the southwest coast of Florida.

Ian thus became the 38th hurricane since 1924 that reached this maximum intensity of wind, even briefly, about seven hours before its impact on U.S. territory.

In addition to Ian, the four category 5 hurricanes computed in recent years were Lorenzo (2019), Dorian (2019), Michael (2018) and María (2017).

The NHC report also says this system left at least 156 direct or indirect deaths in the United States, making it one of the deadliest hurricanes to hit the country since 1980.

Also, the damage caused by Ian amounted to almost $113 billion, which places it as the third most expensive hurricane in the United States, only behind Katrina ($19 billion) and Harvey ($151billion), and the most expensive in Florida’s history.

Of the almost $113 billion in damages, most of it ($199 billion) occurred in Florida.

The fourth hurricane of 2022 in the Atlantic basin formed in the central Caribbean and passed through Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba before entering the Gulf of Mexico and making landfall in Fort Myers, on the west coast of Florida and, later, in South Carolina.

The system made landfall in southwest Florida as a Category 4 hurricane on September 28, crossed the state, entered Atlantic waters and, two days later, hit South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane.

Of the 66 direct deaths attributed to Ian, all in Florida, 41 were due to the storm surge that occurred in the area where it made landfall.

In central Florida, 12 direct deaths were recorded from the floods, according to the NHC report, which blames the hurricane for another 90 indirect deaths in the United States, including 84 in Florida, five in North Carolina and one in Virginia.

The main cause of death in those cases was lack of access to timely medical care, hurricane-related accidents and heart problems.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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