After weeks of warnings from meteorologists, Hurricane Ian touched down in Florida on Wednesday. The hurricane brought winds of up to 150 miles per hour and significant destruction. Experts expect it to have a significant impact on the Southeast as it moves northward. Hurricane Ian will result in deaths, power outages, and supply chain disruptions.
Hurricane Ian’s Human Impact
The hurricane reached southwestern Florida at around 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Officials called it a Category 4 hurricane, which means its strongest sustained winds were up to 156 miles per hour. There is only one higher class of hurricane: Category 5, which the US has only seen four times in its history. The last Category 5 hurricane in the US was Hurricane Michael in 2018.
Florida officials have begun to report deaths already. Charlotte and Lee counties each reported around five deaths on Thursday, and those numbers will rise as more search and rescue missions take place. Of course, these numbers will probably go up when Ian reaches the South Carolina coast on Friday.
Ian will cause many deaths directly, but the Southeast will also have to worry about indirect deaths. The hurricane ripped through homes, businesses, and major highways, leaving many lives in shambles. On top of that, around 2 million Floridians currently do not have power, which can be deadly over time. Hurricane Ian’s human toll is likely to be huge.
The US Supply Chain May Suffer for Weeks Thanks to Ian
Beyond the devastating impacts for people living in the Southeast, Hurricane Ian will cause major supply chain disruptions for a while. In an already fragile freight market, Ian’s destruction of roads will cause backups for weeks. According to some experts, the US won’t return to pre-Ian supply chain volumes until nine weeks have passed.
Florida is a major distribution hub for the US, especially the Southeast. As a result, even those whose lives are spared from Ian’s worst will feel its effects. From retail to aerospace manufacturing, Ian will slow down industry in the area for some time. Experts estimate the eventual cost of the hurricane to industry to be will in billions of dollars.
Even though officials downgraded Ian from a hurricane to a tropical storm on Thursday, there are fears it could get stronger again. For live updates on Ian’s path, click here.