Was Florida Prepared for Hurricane Ian?

And what were the worst storms in the state’s history?

Shefali O'Hara
3 min readSep 30, 2022


Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Yesterday while sitting in the waiting room before my chemo treatment, I noticed all eyes were fixed on the TV monitor, which was set to the Weather Channel. The devastation in Florida was astonishing. There was an 18 foot sea surge in Port Charlotte. Fort Meyers was devastated. A friend of mine knows someone who works in Fort Meyers. His boss, who lives there, lost his house and his car to Hurricane Ian.

While President Biden thinks this could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history, Governor DeSantis disputes that. He pointed out that so far the deadliest hurricane in the state’s history occurred in 1928. It hit Palm Beach County and killed over 2,500 people.

So far, according to DeSantis, more than 700 people have been rescued. Police and rescue crews are going door-to-door to check on those who are visibly in need, yet most residents are just waving and saying thank you but they’re fine and not leaving. Many people had prepared and stabilized their homes thanks to advance warning.

Florida’s most intense storm to date was the Category 5 Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.

There were 423 deaths during that disaster, and many of the ones who died were WWI veterans that the U.S. government settled in the Florida Keys the year before.

The deaths of the veterans hit author Ernest Hemingway hard. He was living on Key West and was given enough advance warning so he could secure his boat. But apparently the veterans, who were on Islamorada, just a few Keys up, were not warned and they died.

The government’s disregard for their lives by FDR’s government disillusioned Hemingway who never again trusted the New Deal.

Has Governor DeSantis done enough to keep Floridians safe?

It’s hard to tell until the headcounts have been done, but the state has published a comprehensive list for people to prepare and Governor DeSantis’ office has published a list of what the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the Florida National Guard, etc., are doing along with emergency numbers to call. Apparently 5000 Florida National Guard have been joined by 2000 from Tennessee, North…



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.