The destruction of Florida by Hurricane Ian, as perceived by the coronapanicked

Most of my friends are from the Northeast or California. As such, they’ve been near the maximum panic level for coronapanic since March 2020. Knowing that we’d moved to southeast Florida, these folks contacted us to make sure that a hurricane in southwest Florida hadn’t destroyed our house and killed us. The ensuing phone, email, and text conversations provided a good window into how those who are most fearful of COVID-19 (and most supportive of lockdowns, school closures, forced vaccinations, and forced masking) process news about an unfortunate event.

Let’s start with the official newspaper of the coronapanicked. The New York Times ran stories with “Fort Myers, Fla.” in the dateline, implying that the article was about the mainland city. The photos, however, showed politically distinct towns on barrier islands, such as Fort Myers Beach. They also showed the damaged causeway to Sanibel, another barrier island. Next to some text about damage to houses, the newspaper ran photos of wrecked mobile homes (i.e., trailers) in trailer parks. A lady who has lived in Florida for 50 years said “Why do you think they call them barrier islands?” Example from the NYT combining these two methods:

On Friday afternoon (September 30), a Manhattan-based friend wrote to me about the destruction of Orlando by floods. He had seen it on TV so it must be real. I pointed out that MCO was receiving commercial airline flights, that people were getting off those airliners into rental cars and driving the rental cars to Disney (all four parks were open on Friday, September 30), Universal (park opened evening of September 30), and Sea World (opened Saturday, October 1). The awesome Dezerland was open. All of these places had electric power. Maybe there were a few neighborhoods in Orlando, whose metro population is 2.5 million, that remained flooded, but if the airport and all of the theme parks were opened, did that qualify as catastrophic damage?

Another Manhattan-based mask Karen posted on Twitter about “hundreds” of Floridians having died from Hurricane Ian. That sounds bad, but more than 3,000 out of the 22 million Floridians die each year in car accidents and, in fact, some of the deaths attributed to Hurricane Ian are actually car accidents. Our Karen had never been motivated to express any concern about these deaths and how to reduce them (see my pet idea!). A day after he posted about “hundreds” of deaths, the official tally was in the 20s and ABC was estimating in the 30s. (i.e., more people are killed by car accidents every week in Florida than the number of confirmed deaths from this hurricane) It is sad when people die directly or indirectly from a hurricane, of course, but obesity kills more Americans every day than all hurricanes put together kill in a year.

(This raises the ghoulish question of whether Hurricane Ian might actually reduce the number of deaths among Floridians for 2022. When roads are closed and things are shut down, people don’t drive as much. This cuts into the traffic accident rate and might cut car-related deaths by more than the number killed by the hurricane. A similar phenomenon was observed when the U.S. military went to Saudi Arabia before our first Gulf War. Despite some soldiers killed in combat, lives in the military were saved overall compared to if we hadn’t fought the war. Soldiers couldn’t drink and had almost nowhere to drive, so deaths by car accident were cut almost to zero.)

Our neighbors, most of whom are physicians with low levels of coronapanic, considered the media coverage fake news. “You know that they’re lying to you when you keep seeing the same damaged house from different angles,” was one observation. One neighbor is sheltering a refugee from Fort Myers. As with my friend’s dad, her house was undamaged, but she drove across the state to our sanctuary neighborhood in order to enjoy the luxuries of electric power and Internet.

David Hogg, the survivor-turned-activist, implied that “half” of Florida has been destroyed and will need to be rebuilt:

A year into COVID-19, he wanted all of us to pay each other to stay home:

Despite being decades too young to get a shot in Denmark, he was a vaccine enthusiast:

Has “half” of Florida truly been destroyed? Here’s NOAA’s map of where the agency thinks Hurricane Ian did significant damage. The photos were taken on Thursday, a day after the hurricane.

The NOAA imagery shows that the destruction of Fort Myers Beach might not be complete. Here’s a typical part of the barrier island that is not a trailer park:

There is a lot of debris, but nearly all of the houses appear to be standing. Here’s what it looked like before (from Google Maps):


18 thoughts on “The destruction of Florida by Hurricane Ian, as perceived by the coronapanicked

  1. I doubt that Twitter Eminence David Hogg is going to take a stand against the Internet as the primary learning resource for deeply troubled people who commit mass shootings.

    “Cruz told Dr. Charles Scott during a March jailhouse interview that five years before he murdered 17 at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, he read about the 1999 murder of 13 at Colorado’s Columbine High School, which first sparked the idea of his own mass killing. Cruz told Scott how Columbine, the 2007 murder of 32 at Virginia Tech University and the 2012 killing of 12 at a Colorado movie theater all played a part in his own preparation….I studied mass murderers and how they did it,” Cruz told Scott. “How they planned, what they got and what they used.”

  2. Disaster porn sells. To top that the left wants to tarnish Ron DeSantis as an incompetent in time of a disaster.

    Now, these are exactly the same people who told us about “safe and effective” vaccines, and now sell Ukrainian war porn. No relation to any truth is required.

    Takes a special kind of retarded to believe anything American mass media says.

  3. What do you make of friend who care enough to check in on your but not enough to check the blog?

    (I checked your blog specifically to see if you were affected.)

    “As long as I can continue shit-posting about Hunter Biden and gold-diggers, you know I’m alright”

    Btw, it seems like you’re understating who was affected. Wasn’t there 2+M people without power? That’s like 15% the state.

    • Why don’t they read this blog? My friends don’t want to be exposed to misinformation about cloth masks and school closures and other proven-by-science measures that end pandemics.

      As noted in the power restoration tracking post, it was probably about 5 million without power (2.7 million “customers”). Thanks to the amazing prep, however, that’s now mostly cleaned up. See

      So it was roughly a quarter of the state that needed to be plugged back in!

  4. I am sure Putin did this in retaliation for the United States blowing up 2 of his pipelines.

  5. The need to sensationalize every news worthy event is far more damaging than I would think most realize. For me personally, issues like the statistics from Ian be exaggerated have led me to completely stop watching the news. I listen only to music on SiriusXM radio, and I haven’t had cable TV in nearly two years. And while I wish I could say that the calm that absence from mainstream media brainwashing has been worth it, that is only partially true, as I have become a far less well informed citizen without it. At 59 year of age just needed some peace. Watching the “spin contest” between both sides of the isle in our federal govt had simply become too much. I had found myself yelling at the television and realizing more and more each day that NEITHER party truly has the interests of the common citizen in mind when making decisions (or fighting and NOT making them) that affect us all. I have started trying to find more neutral internet sources for news but most eventually still wind up spinning facts to one side or the other. I find it highly ironic that in the time of my life when I have the MOST information available at my fingertips, far too much of it regarding current events simply cannot be trusted and must be fact checked against many sources before I feel even remotely comfortable accepting it as factual. How do we get ourselves out of this? I feel like more and more people are coming to this same realization, but what are we do if we all “opt out”? That isn’t good either. We seem to be at a point where spin is expected (by anyone really paying attention) and that those who publish spin are hoping to sway voters too stupid or just plain gullible to buy in and vote their way without validating anything they see online. The war to gain the votes of the stupid sure does seem to be the way of the future. I’m honestly getting to the point where I’m glad I won’t be here to see where all this lands us.

    • Well said. The “same damage from different angles” is part of the problem, but these monster surge storms simply defy complete coverage.
      Political news is another thing entirely. Campaigns know it is easier to invoke a negative vote than a positive one, so they always go negative first and last.
      Joe Biden (hear me out) has a much more effective policy record, so the spin is “old and demented” (half true) before “can’t get anything done”(false, but many don’t like what’s done).
      Trump is easier to attack directly and so personally flawed as to be dangerous.
      The two party system often presents two less-than-wholesome choices, so both parties have plenty of negative attack space and use money (advertising, and public funds for incumbents) to amplify these negatives.
      The voter’s only choice is to vote for the”least worst”, NOT stay home.

  6. I don’t know if we’ll ever get an accurate count of uninhabitable homes. After a 4+ foot flood, a drywall home must be gutted to avoid mold and repair wiring. It is uninhabitable but looks ok in an aerial photo. My house was totaled by wind driven rain after three trees knocked down several rafters and opened the attic to 12-18 inches of rain.

    • Donald: It looks as though the roofs were intact (everything reasonably new is built to withstand enormously powerful winds). So what we’re talking about is a flooded ground floor. How much does it cost to replace drywall and otherwise rehab the ground floor of a concrete block house? I don’t see why you’d want to bulldoze it unless the goal was to build a new house starting 5′ higher above sea level.

      This page says $30/sf is the maximum: (i.e., a 2000 sf one-level house would cost at most $60,000 to fix, which is somewhat more than the FEMA grant limit)

      That’s consistent with UK costs, adjusted to Biden-era prices, in

    • Drywall is the cheapest and most pliable separation wall material there is. To cut and install drywall is second skill after cutting plywood that homeowners who maintain their homes learn. You got lucky with your insurance company. Or maybe they had more houses in your neighborhood and they wanted raised their valuation by improving your house.

  7. If we spent the entire value of the policy, we probably could have made it livable, but it would still be 40 years old for the insurance rating. I have probably gone on too much, but ours was not a concrete block house; it was brick veneer and the trees that hit the end gable “racked” the whole frame inside the veneer, and crumpled the longitudinal rigid fiberglass a/c duct. Half the brick work was condemned by detachment from the frame. One tree scored a direct hit on the electric meter, and another took out a small bathroom. After a certain degree of damage, the repairs must be to the latest codes, so all the windows had to go and the rafters needed reinforced clips to the wall plates.
    Roofers (especially crooked ones) were plentiful, but reputable full-service contractors either declined or quoted start dates a year out. The insurance company also was obligated to substantial offsite living expenses. After about four months of mounting costs, the insurer offered the face value, half the living expense allowance and furnishings, and we settled. They had already paid for several tree removals and we had paid for 41 stumps to be ground. We managed to get the non-insured trees to the curb for county removal and we still had a dozen or so damaged or fallen trees to deal with. After settling, we sold the ruins to a contractor who could put the roof on and live there while piece-mealing the repairs.
    The construction market is VERY distorted in a storm zone, and contractors are not looking for finesse restoration when they are overwhelmed with demolition and replacement.
    Itinerant roofers and adjusters are famously sketchy and the insurers are engaged with them auditing work and charges.
    Hurricane Ian homeowners will be wrangling all this for years after the relief agencies and media are gone. We have (a few) friends still not in their homes after four years, and many owners short or without insurance just left. Lots of vacant lots.

    • D: Very interesting. Thank you! I guess it makes sense that a 40-year-old house could be totaled by a medium amount of damage given that, at least in Jupiter, a 30-year-old house is often considered a candidate for gut rehab or teardown. I am sure you’re right that the fights with insurance companies, exacerbated by the roofers and independent adjusters, will consume a huge amount of what would have been human productivity.

    • philg, thanks for listening.

      Are you following the blog from Europe? Thought I saw you somewhere on an A380. Thought about you while flying on CR900 from KPWM Portland ME to LGA. We approached from Connecticut instead of the grand tour of Manhattan.

      Anyway, that will be my last “inside the hurricane” post unless somebody has a question.

    • @Donald — yes, Philip’s in London, headed via Chunnel to Paris in a few days to give his two boys their first “grand tour” of the continent. Philip, if you’re following comments, forgot to mention — go with Olga & the boys to “Le Train Bleu” — iconic restaurant inside La Gare de Lyon. Cuisine traditionelle, very affordable thx feeble euro (Philip’s incurable Francophile sister here)

    • Donald: I am following casually from here in the new poster child of malgovernance (UK, having replaced Sweden as the universal target of condemnation; the idea of cutting tax rates is unacceptably radical and “an experiment”).

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