ST. LOUIS – On the departures board at Terminal 2 at St. Louis Lambert International Airport Thursday afternoon, there were four canceled flights to Florida. Those canceled included flights to Fort Myers, Orlando, and Tampa.
Hurricane Ian’s wrath over these areas in the last 36 hours has resulted in a lot of damage to the region. One of the hardest hit areas is Lee County, which includes Fort Myers.
Ann Wyatt Little, a reporter from FOX 2’s sister station in Charlotte, had a prime example of the intensity and power of the storm surge.
“What you’re hearing behind me is a fire alarm that’s been going off for hours now. And this boat, the force of the storm surge pushed it into these apartment buildings here and one lady told me it sounded like a gunshot every time the boat would bang into the stairwell,” Little said.
The Lee County Sheriff fears hundreds are dead. A task force will be looking for people who tried to ride out the storm in their homes.
One woman gave a firsthand look at the destruction of homes in Fort Myers.
“Somebody’s RV came in our backyard. That’s our pool. That’s our deck. That was my house. My house is gone,” said @malsmarie via Storyful. “So, for everyone wondering, it’s not livable.”
The causeway connecting Sanibel Island to mainland Florida crumbled into the ocean. The winds were almost 150 mph and the storm surge was over 6 feet.
Up the coast in Sarasota, the airport has substantial damage and remains closed Thursday to everyone except those bringing emergency relief.
The Tampa airport will be open Friday at 10 a.m. The Orlando airport is still closed to commercial flights, as officials say all roads leading into the airport are closed due to flooding.
The airport in Fort Myers remains closed as well, except to emergency personnel. As soon as water and power are restored, they’ll reopen for commercial flights.