Wang, P.; Royer, E.L.; Jackson, K., and Gutierrez, S., 0000. Impacts of Hurricane Ian along the low-lying southwest Florida coast (USA) in 2022: Lessons learned.

Hurricane Ian made landfall in the low-lying, densely populated, and developed southwestern Florida coast on 28 September 2022 as a large and slow-moving category 4 hurricane. Various U.S. federal and state agencies collected a large and comprehensive data set, including pre- and poststorm airborne LIDAR topography, in situ water level and wave measurements at numerous locations before, during, and after the storm, and poststorm high-water marks over a large area. This study reports results from a series of poststorm field investigations including ground observations of beach-dune erosion and deposition, catastrophic damage to various infrastructure, and widespread distribution of non-biodegradable materials washed into the estuary and numerous mangrove islands. Hurricane Ian induced large-scale inundation in low-lying southwest Florida, submerging all the barrier islands bordering Charlotte Harbor estuary, all the islands within the estuary, and up to 5 km into the mainland. Dense tree-type vegetation limited the landward penetration of beach-dune erosion and overwash deposition along the barrier islands. Net sand-volume loss from the beach-dune system ranged 10–25 m3/m and was controlled by the deep submergence of the system during the peak of the storm. The extremely high storm surge of up to 5.2 m above mean sea level generated by Hurricane Ian caused severe damage to the built environments over a large area. High storm waves superimposed on the elevated water level, reaching 1.2 m at the seaward edge of vegetated dunes, contributed to the destruction along the barrier islands. Hurricane Ian distributed a tremendous amount of non-biodegradable artificial debris over a large area and into sensitive natural environments, including numerous mangrove islands, barrier-island interior wetlands, and the estuary waterbody. Measures to prevent materials such as single-use plastics, insulation fibers, and household appliances from being washed into sensitive environments should be a significant part of prestorm preparation.

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