As Hurricane Ian pushes up the US East Coast, the first glimpses of the storm’s catastrophic strike on southwestern Florida are starting to come into view. A row of beachfront houses destroyed. An apartment floor covered in water and dirt. A utility pole snapped in half. A washed-out highway. Boats littering the sidewalk.
Officials warn that it will take days, if not longer, to assess the full magnitude of damage left behind. That's especially true in places inland with heavy rainfall, where water is less likely to quickly recede, making them difficult to reach. Even a preliminary scan of impacts along the coast, which experienced the brunt of Ian’s storm surge and Category 4 winds, reveals the storm to be a climate disaster.