After Hurricane Ian, a low-lying Florida city starts to rebuild. Should it?
Hurricane Ian was a punishing eye-hurler of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season; its Category 2 and 3 winds battered the region, killing 12 people. The hurricane caused $300 million in damage (about $500 million today) in Florida, though the state was not as hard hit as neighboring states. While it was not as devastating in Florida as it was in Atlantic Canada and Louisiana, it was still a big blow to the region.
The city of Stuart, Florida, was not too far from the eye of the storm, only 12 miles from the eye. The city has been rebuilding after a serious hurricane of their own, Hurricane Ivan, and has been trying to figure out what to do when a third hurricane, Hurricane Jeanne, struck in 2011. Stuart was not affected as badly by Ivan as it was by Ian, but it is not immune to tropical cyclones either.
After the storm, the city of St. Petersburg, Florida, was hardest hit. The storm knocked out all power, and the city of 2.8 million residents saw more than 100,000 homes and businesses without power. In addition to the power outages, the hurricane also killed at least 4 people and took an additional $100 million in damage to the area.
Today, Stuart has about 40,000 people, while St. Petersburg has about 55,000 residents and is still rebuilding. Hurricane Jeanne took down much of downtown St. Petersburg, leaving the city of 13,000 residents without power.
After Jeanne, Stuart is still trying to recover—even as a Category 2 hurricane, its winds were still stronger than Katrina’s on August 28, 2005, and it didn’t do any damage that year.
St. Petersburg is still trying to recover.
St. Petersburg still has a long way to go.
On June 28, 2009, Hurricane Wilma, in the Atlantic, hit the city of St. Petersburg. Wilma, a Category 1 hurricane, caused $2.1 billion in damage (about $3 billion today), killed two people, and cut off power to most of the city.
St. Petersburg was not as hard hit by Hurricane Wilma as the city was by Hurricane Ivan. In St. Petersburg, there were 1,500 fewer deaths than in Ivan—and Ivan caused $3.4 billion in damage to the city—but the damage was more severe