(NewsNation) — Hurricane Ian left a path of death and destruction across southwest Florida. The Category 4 storm destroyed the Sanibel Causeway, cutting off access to the barrier island that is now nearly unrecognizable.
Despite the many images of hurricane-ravaged Sanibel, Mayor Holly Smith told NewsNation’s Leland Vittert on Thursday that, “Unless you’re on the ground, you really cannot see the magnitude of what’s happening on our island.”
She said when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited the island, he agreed with her.
“He said the same thing. Unless you’re on the ground, you cannot see the impact that (the hurricane) had on the island and what we’re going to have to be going through to rebuild our wonderful city,” Smith said.
Smith also spoke with President Joe Biden about infrastructure and how Sanibel will need both the federal and state governments to work together on Hurricane Ian recovery efforts.
“It’s my understanding this is probably in the top three weather events that’s hit our United States in recorded history, so the magnitude of this is different than the other ones,” Smith said.
Smith said the process of rebuilding will likely be lengthy, but she is hopeful people will be able to enjoy the beauty of Sanibel Island again.