Hurricane Ian Slowly Battering Florida with Storm Surge, Winds, and Flooding

Storm surge along Vanderbilt Beach Road in Naples as Hurricane Ian comes ashore, September 28, 2022. Photo by Warren Faidley @stormchaser via Twitter

September 28, 2022, PM Update – Hurricane Warnings fly tonight along Florida’s northeast coast as Hurricane Ian remains a powerful Category 3 storm, forecast to slowly churn its way across a wide swatch of South Central Florida tonight and tomorrow.  “It seems like over the last 12 to 24 hours, every time you look at this storm, it’s just bad news. It gets stronger, it gets larger…and it will be one of the storms people always remember when they think about Southwest Florida, it will probably be the big one they always remember,” said Governor DeSantis earlier today, who also commented on insurance companies’ claims paying ability.

Moving at a mere 8 mph as of 8pm tonight and packing 115 mph winds, it’s going to take Ian overnight and most of tomorrow to make its way to the east coast of Florida, exiting near Daytona Beach and then hugging the Florida coast as it heads into Georgia on Friday.   And all along the way, it’s going to be dumping rainfall amounts of 12-20 inches with local maximums up to 30 inches.  No wonder the Governor labelled it “incredibly dangerous.”  As it moves off the coast of Daytona Beach on Thursday evening, communities in Northeast Florida, such as Jacksonville, will see similar effects as other parts of the state have.  Evacuations are underway tonight in vulnerable areas of Northeast Florida. 

Ian made landfall as a strong Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds around 2:30pm today on North Captiva Island, a barrier beach just west of Fort Myers in Lee County in Southwest Florida – well short of its forecast mark of the Sarasota area. 

We’ll focus on the insurance impacts of the storm first, then the latest from NOAA on Ian’s conditions as of 8 pm this evening and the forecast, and how you can help the relief effort.

Insurance Impacts:

Infrastructure: State Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie reported tonight there are 1.1 million people without power at last count with the number expected to grow as the storm makes its way across Florida tonight and up the northeast coast of the state tomorrow.  “There’s now over 42,000 linemen and another personnel ready to restore power in 30 different areas across the state, and those linemen and other associated personnel hail from Florida and from 27 different states,” said the Governor.  “They’re ready to start restoring power as soon as the storm has passed.”  However he warned that some areas with severe storm impacts will take longer because infrastructure will need to be rebuilt instead of simply reconnecting downed power lines.   A power company representative said today, “Don’t be surprised if you lose power more than once.  The next 36 hours will be critical.“

Communications are key, too.  The Governor said tonight that more than 100 portable cell phone towers are ready to be deployed into the Southwest Florida once it is safe to enter.

The readiness and recovery operation behind the scenes is massive.  “We have 42,000 restoration personnel.  We literally have, with first responders across the state and additional ones coming in, well over 10,000 responders statewide ready to do what’s needed,” Guthrie said tonight.  The Governor said it’s a significant mobilization effort that exceeds what we saw with Hurricane Dorian three years ago, which took a turn at the last minute and avoided a Florida landfall.  Efforts will be underway once the storm passes to get airports, seaports, and rail terminals back open as well as roadways. The Florida DOT has 1,200 personnel on standby ready to get the state roads cleared of debris and to test bridges for structural worthiness before reopening.

Insurance Claims: In response to concerns about the insurance industry and state-backed Citizens Insurance Corporation’s ability to pay Hurricane Ian claims, the Governor tonight said he talked with Citizens’ earlier today.  “I think right now they’re between 6 and 7 billion dollars of surplus.  Their modeling, based on paying out a lot of money in claims for this, was that they would still have between 4 and 5 billion in surplus and so Citizens sees themselves as being able to weather this,” the Governor said.

Citizens President & CEO Barry Gilway told inside P&C  that Citizens’ expected losses are around $3.8 billion with 225,000 claims from Hurricane Ian.  The article reports that Citizens has an 11% market share in Charlotte County and 7% share in Lee County where Ian came ashore.  “We do not expect this to be a significant reinsurance event for Citizens.  It will be a Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund event,” Gilway said, with no assessments on policyholders likely at this point.

Governor DeSantis tonight also commented on Florida’s private property insurance market, which has struggled with insolvencies and unprofitability.  “Individual carriers, they have to go through a stress test to be able to have their policies approved and so this year, they had tested under a direct impact on Tampa Bay and then what would happen.  And so you know, they have policies, they have reinsurance, we have our RAP program, and of course, the Cat Fund,” the Governor said.

Flood Insurance: The Governor tonight acknowledged flood damage caused by Hurricane Ian will likely be suffered by many who didn’t purchase flood insurance.  “I think the issue is significant in the sense that these are not people that necessarily live in a – quote – flood zone. They asked and the Realtor says you’re not in a flood zone.  Well, they’re not going to get the flood insurance and totally understand why people don’t do that.  But just because you’re not in a – quote – flood zone does not mean that you’re not at risk of a catastrophic event like this,” the Governor said. 

While FEMA provides some help to those with uninsured damage, the Governor said it’s the same as having a flood policy.   “The flood policy covers probably the most significant risk for most homeowners in Florida, given the risk of flooding that we have in so many different parts of our state.  So we’re sensitive to that.  There’s obviously going to be some folks in need of support and relief, and we’re obviously going to work it as best we can,” he added.

Ian’s strange irony: the storm created a backflow out of Hillsborough Bay as seen along Bayshore Boulevard, as two people in the distance stand in what should be deep water. Photo by one of our readers


Adjusters: The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) Emergency Public Adjuster portal is performing well and adjusters are expected to answer the call.  The portal allows licensed out-of-state adjusters to assist consumers with insurance claims following the storm.  For adjusters and others, the statewide private sector re-entry program delineates what documents you will need to present to local officials when seeking re-entry into an impacted area.  Click here to learn more.  Please let us know if you encounter difficulties from skeptical local authorities.

Disaster Recovery: The Governor confirmed tonight that he submitted a disaster declaration for all 67 counties today, requesting the federal government provide 100% of the upfront costs for the first 60 days “to ensure that we can quickly recover and move forward into the response and recovery part,” said the Governor.  He said President Biden in their conversation last night “committed to have ‘all hands on deck’ to help, so hopefully we’ll get a favorable response on that.”

Regulation: The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has issued an Emergency Order in response to Hurricane Ian.  It temporarily suspends for two months planned policy cancellations or non-renewals by insurance companies.  For those homeowners with damage, it similarly protects their policies for at least 90 days after the properties are repaired.  Similar orders were issued after Hurricanes Michael and Irma.  The Order also covers Deemers on property damage and limitations on Use and File filings.

OIR today also sent an industry notice requiring insurance companies report catastrophic claims data using the Simplified 2022 Catastrophe Reporting Form (CRF) submitted through the Insurance Regulation Filing System (IRFS) beginning Friday (September 1) through October 7.  The CRF provides valuable information to OIR and the state of Florida regarding the impact of a hurricane or other event.  OIR said it will notify insurers if additional reporting deadlines are required.  The information culled will eventually be posted on OIR’s Catastrophe Claims Data and Reporting webpage.

Current Warnings/Watches as of 8pm tonight:

Hurricane Warning from Chokoloskee in the lower Everglades to Anclote River in Tarpon Springs, including Tampa Bay; and from the Sebastian Inlet in Indian River County north to the Flagler/Volusia County Line.
Hurricane Watch for Lake Okeechobee and from the Flagler/Volusia County Line to the South Santee River in South Carolina. 
Tropical Storm Warning from the Anclote River north to Indian Pass in Wakulla County; Flamingo to the Sebastian Inlet; the Flagler/Volusia County Line to Surf City, South Carolina; Flamingo to Chokoloskee; Lake Okeechobee; and Bimini and Grand Bahama Islands. 
Tropical Storm Watch from North of Surf City, South Carolina to Cape Lookout, North Carolina.
Storm Surge Warning from the Suwannee River southward on Florida’s Gulf Coast to Flamingo in the lower Everglades; Tampa Bay; Flagler/Volusia County line to the mouth of the South Santee River in South Carolina; and all of the St. Johns River.
Storm Surge Watch for Florida Bay and from North of South Santee River in South Carolina to the Little River Inlet.


Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 115 mph with higher gusts.  Ian remains a Cat 3 storm.  Further weakening is expected for the next day or so, but Ian could be near hurricane strength when it moves over the Florida East coast tomorrow, and when it approaches the northeastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts on Friday.  Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 50 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles.


Ian is expected to produce total storm rainfall of 6-8 inches of rain in the Florida Keys and South Florida, with local maximums up to 12 inches.  Central and Northeast Florida will receive totals of 12-20 inches with local maximums up to 30 inches.  Coastal Georgia and Lowcountry of South Carolina will see 4-8 inches, with local maximums up to 12 inches.

Widespread, life-threatening catastrophic flash and urban flooding, with major to record flooding along rivers, is expected to continue across central Florida.  Widespread considerable flash, urban, and river flooding is expected across portions of northeast Florida, southeastern Georgia, and eastern South Carolina later this week through the weekend.

Storm Surge:

The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause flooding along the coast and moving inland.  Englewood to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor could see water reach heights of 12-18 feet above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.  Middle of Longboat Key to Englewood could see heights of 6-10 feet.  Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee…8-12 ft; Chokoloskee to East Cape Sable…5-8 ft; Anclote River to Middle of Longboat Key, including Tampa Bay…4-6 ft; Flagler/Volusia County Line to Altamaha Sound…4-6 ft; Altamaha Sound to South Santee River…3-5 ft; Suwannee River to Anclote River…3-5 ft; St. Johns River north of Julington…3-5 ft; St. Johns River south of Julington…2-4 ft; East Cape Sable to Card Sound Bridge…2-4 ft; South Santee River to Little River Inlet…2-4 ft; Patrick Air Force Base to Flagler/Volusia County Line…1-3 ft; East of Little River Inlet to Cape Lookout…1-3 ft;  and the Dry Tortugas and Florida Keys…1-3 ft.


State Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said tonight that well over 200 shelters are open in affected areas.   The shelter population was 10,600 earlier today but the number is fluid.   The state has the capacity to provide 374,000 hot meals a day if needed. 

An estimated 2.5 million people were ordered to evacuate southwest Florida but were not forced to leave.  The Governor said today that he talked with the Charlotte County Sheriff who reported that the vast majority of people in Flood Zone A did evacuate.  “There was an island community of 31 people who were offered and chose to stay and shelter in place,” said the Governor.  “We’ve told people that they are potentially risking their lives by staying.  Nevertheless, if there are people who need help, we’re going to help them and there are lots of resources that have been brought to bear.”

State Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie made a last pitch Tuesday night for people to evacuate.  “If they heed the evacuation order, I have a 100% guarantee that they will not die from storm surge, a 100% guarantee they won’t have to be rescued from their rooftop,” he said.  

For those who fled, the Governor tonight urged them that there’s no rush to get back, as responders need to get into affected areas to help those who remained behind, to clear roadways, restore power, and clear debris. 

In total, emergency managers have amassed nearly 250 aircraft, more than 1,600 high water vehicles and more than 300 boats of all drafts and sizes, including 250 already in the major impacted areas and nearly 50 that are staged and ready to come in as needed.  These will bring in supplies as well as perform rescue functions.

Here’s the list of evacuation orders and the list of open shelters

Florida has a long road to recovery ahead, a sentiment acknowledged by Governor DeSantis this afternoon.  “We understand a storm of this magnitude is going to require an effort over an extended period of time…and we’re going to step up.  We’re going to be there for folks.  We’re going to make sure that folks get back on their feet and southwest Florida comes back better than ever,” said the Governor.

How can you help?  Volunteer Florida has opened the Florida Disaster Fund.  You can visit or text DISASTER to 20222 to make a donation.  Officials say that cash, rather than a donation of goods, provides the best help.  Donations to the Florida Disaster Fund are made to the Volunteer Florida Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and are tax-deductible.  Want to get personally involved?  They also have a statewide platform for individual volunteer opportunities.  Visit  to learn more.

Click here for the full National Hurricane Center briefing with maps.   You can also review our past Hurricane Updates

Please know that we at Lisa Miller & Associates are here 24/7 for you …don’t forget it.  It may sound trite but we are all in this together, my friends and colleagues. 

Lisa & the LMA team

(Here’s the latest News from the Governor’s Office of specific state preparedness actions:)

Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM)

  • FDEM has compiled a Shelter in Place Survey to provide critical information to first responders during and after the anticipated landfall of Hurricane Ian. We are asking all individuals in the impact area of Hurricane Ian that made the decision to shelter in place to complete the survey. Please visit to find the Shelter in Place Survey.
  • FDEM has activated the State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) to provide an additional resource for Floridians to receive up-to-date information regarding Hurricane Ian. Residents and visitors can call this toll-free hotline at 1-800-342-3557.
  • FDEM Liaisons have been identified and deployed to counties to provide on-site response assistance and to conduct damage assessments after the storm.
  • At the direction of FDEM Director and State Coordinating Officer Kevin Guthrie, Incident Management Teams (IMT) from Ohio and Colorado are on-scene to ensure additional support for response and recovery efforts after the storm.
  • FDEM is deploying several hundred shelter support staff to address staffing needs in counties that have opened their Special Needs hurricane shelters. Currently, more than 200 public shelters are open and available to impacted residents, with more than 50 of these being Special Needs Shelters.
  • FDEM is leading the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) for the Hurricane Ian response, with more than 350 SERT members staffing the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC).
  • FDEM has received more than 1,100 resource requests for Hurricane Ian and fulfilled. Over 900 of these requests are currently being processed and are either en route or being mobilized. This includes the coordination of resources such as: trucks of food and water, generators and water pumps.
  • FDEM has loaded 360 trailers with over 3.5 million meals and over 1.8 million gallons of bottled water in preparation for distribution to impacted areas.
  • Several hundred generators and pumps, in addition to debris equipment, have been staged for response and recovery efforts.
  • 100,000 tarps to protect homes and allow more residents to stay at home rather than in a public shelter.
  • Five Florida Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Teams are activated and will be prepared to deploy to impacted areas. Federal USAR Teams from Virginia, Texas, Ohio and Indiana are on-scene and stand ready to assist in response and recovery efforts.
    • FDEM is currently coordinating the provision of meals for first responders staged in Orange County.
  • FDEM is in constant communication with all 67 county emergency management offices and state agencies to coordinate protective actions and needed resources ahead of potential storm impacts.
  • FDEM is coordinating with utilities to ensure crews are prepared to respond and restore power. As of 3 p.m., the Division has received reports of 756,450 outages due to Hurricane Ian. Utility providers have more than 42,000 linemen staged and prepared for power restoration efforts as soon as conditions are safe to do so. 

Florida National Guard

  • A total of 5,000 Florida Guardsmen are being activated to State Active Duty and pre-positioned at armories across the state for Tropical Storm Ian response operations. Up to 2,000 Guardsmen from Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina are also being activated to assist.
  • In addition, the Florida Guard has mobilized and is on standby with five Route Clearance Teams and aviation assets.
  • The Florida National Guard is well-equipped, with assets including high-wheeled vehicles, helicopters, boats, generators and more.
  • Ten rotary wing assets positioned to respond immediately after the storm makes landfall including three CH-47 Chinook helicopters. The number of aircraft available is expected to increase to support operations in the next 24 hours, to include several from other states, as well as other assets available from Department of Defense agencies.  

Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)

  • FDLE regional support and logistics teams throughout the state are preparing to deploy personnel and equipment for a ready response to the aftermath of the storm. FDLE has started pre-staging equipment and mobile command posts at strategic locations. Teams with chainsaws, tarps, and other supplies are assembling. 

Florida Department of Health (DOH)

  • The State Surgeon General signed Emergency Order 22-004 authorizing licensed health care professionals in good standing from out of state to practice in Florida for the duration of the EO. These professionals include: Physicians, Osteopathic Physicians, Physician Assistants, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, Paramedics, and Emergency Medical Technicians. In addition, the following licensed health care professionals are authorized to practice in Florida via Telehealth: Physicians, Osteopathic Physicians, Physician Assistants, and Advanced Practice Nurses. The EO can be found here.
  • DOH and Agency for Health Care Administration have initiated Patient Movement Mission to support medical transport and evacuations of health care facilities. 
    • This mission is evacuating 15 hospitals in areas of anticipated landfall. DOH continues to assess and support any additional necessary evacuations.
    • This mission also supports the evacuation of over 100 health care facilities. 
  • Over 400 ambulances, paratransit busses, and support vehicles are responding to areas of Ian’s path.
  • DOH has prepared for Special Needs Shelter operations to begin in areas of Ian’s path. A press release has been deployed statewide for additional information on special needs shelters.
  • The State Surgeon General has signed Emergency Order 22-001 waiving statutory procurement requirements to ensure DOH is able to deploy necessary action due to Hurricane Ian. This can be found here.
  • The State Surgeon General has signed a letter to allow staff of the Department and Agency for Health Care Administration to travel past curfews across state lines to conduct any necessary health and safety actions. 
  • DOH has coordinated with the Office of Insurance Regulation to distribute an alert regarding permitted early prescription refills during a State of Emergency. This alert was sent to health insurers, managed care organizations, health entities, and licensed health care providers. The alert can be found here.
  • DOH has coordinated with Federal partners to support the deployment of nearly 100 individuals through various health and medical teams. These teams stand ready in Orlando, Atlanta, and Warner Robbins Air Force Base in Georgia. 
  • DOH continues to coordinate across 67 county health departments on any necessary preparation resources, in coordination with county emergency managers.   

Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)

  • AHCA has activated reporting in the Health Facility Reporting System (HFRS) and is requesting all health care providers report their census, available beds, evacuation status and generator status information. This information allows AHCA to assist health care providers in transferring patients if needed and ensure health care providers in impacted areas have the necessary resources and adequate power.
  • Patient Movement Mission (DOH 4052) is activated. This mission is a combined effort by AHCA along with FHA, FHCA, LeadingAge, Florida Senior Living and Florida Assisted Living Associations.
  • This mission also supports the evacuation of nearly 8,000 patients and residents from more than 180 health care facilities. 
  • AHCA sent a Medicaid Provider Alert outlining Key Medicaid Information for Fee-For-Service and Managed Care Providers during Hurricane Ian, this can be found here.
  • AHCA has activated the Emergency Patient Look-Up System (E-PLUS).  Special needs shelters for 16 counties are able to utilize the system to retrieve patient medical records. E-PLUS is also available to assist medical providers and emergency response personnel with locating missing or displaced persons after the storm.
  • 84.25% of all facilities have reported into the Health Facility Reporting System.
  • AHCA has completed 355 onsite visits in Nursing Homes and ALFs that were previously identified as out of compliance with generator requirements.
  • AHCA has identified Home Medical Equipment providers that can assist with supplying oxygen supplies to Special Needs Shelters.
  • AHCA partnered with Florida Health Care Association and Florida Hospital Association to initiate statewide calls with long term care facilities and hospitals.

100% of operating long-term care facilities have a generator on-site. The Generator Status Map for long-term care facilities is available here

Hurricane Ian Update of September 28, 2022, PM Update