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Roofs Blown Off, Trees Mangled: Floridians Pick Up After Ian

Residents of Venice tell of close escapes, limited options

Venice, Florida, after Hurricane Ian.

Venice, Florida, after Hurricane Ian.

Photographer: Tristan Wheelock/Bloomberg

Lance Haenel began doubting his decision to ignore evacuation orders and hunker down at home when Hurricane Ian's furious winds tore the aluminum roof off a neighbor's patio and sent it slicing through a stout palm tree just feet from his front door.

The 61-year-old housepainter's one-story, cinderblock house narrowly escaped a direct hit from the fallen tree, but evidence of the storm's wrath was strewn everywhere in Venice, Florida, a small coastal community favored by retirees and snowbirds an hour south of Tampa: roof tiles, tree limbs and the brackish line of foamy scum on houses and fences that marks the high-water line of the storm surge.