Florida towns still rebuilding as hurricane season looms

  • Some Florida residents have struggled to rebuild after Hurricane Ian
  • They face an increasing challenge as storms become more destructive
  • Scientists: There may be up to four deadly hurricanes this season

FORT MEYERS, Florida (NewsNation) — Florida residents hit hard by last year’s storms are racing the clock to repair as hurricane season begins again. 

Bruiser Jungworth, who lost his Fort Myers home and vacation rental business in last year’s storms, says he’s barely been able to get money for repairs. 

The “bank (is) not being very cooperative,” he said, adding that he and his wife have been living in a trailer since last hurricane season. “It’s really been hard on her.” 

As storms have become more frequent and destructive, it has become harder and harder for coastal residents to rebuild. 

NewsNation was in southwest Florida as Hurricane Ian caused widespread devastation last year. More than 150 people died in the storm, which brought with it ferocious winds and a storm surge as high as 15 feet. 

Rebuilding has been slow. 

The state Office of Insurance Regulation estimated the total insured loss from Ian was almost $14 billion. As of March 9, more than 143,000 claims were still open.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting between five and nine hurricanes this season, which begins on June 1. Up to four may turn into major hurricanes, the scientists predict. 

Jungworth and his wife hope to be in a new home by next month, as they know a trailer can be a dangerous shelter when strong winds come. 

“Right now, it’s the anxiety of making something happen before the next hurricane season comes up,” he said.


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