Hurricane Ian severs section of Sanibel Causeway

Hurricane Ian

A section of the causeway leading to Sanibel, Fla., in Lee County was knocked out by Hurricane Ian Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. Hurricane Ian has left a path of destruction in southwest Florida, trapping people in flooded homes, damaging the roof of a hospital intensive care unit and knocking out power to 2.5 million people. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

(NewsNation) — Hurricane Ian left a path of destruction in southwest Florida, trapping people in flooded homes, knocking out power and destroying the only bridge to Sanibel Island.

A chunk of the Sanibel Causeway fell into the sea, cutting off access to the barrier island where 6,300 people normally live. It was unknown how many heeded orders to evacuate, but Charlotte County Emergency Management Director Patrick Fuller expressed cautious optimism that worst-case scenarios might not have been realized.

No deaths or injuries have been confirmed in the county, and flyovers of barrier islands show “the integrity of the homes is far better than we anticipated,” Fuller said.

South of Sanibel, towering waves destroyed the historic beachfront pier in Naples, tearing out even the pilings underneath. “Right now, there is no pier,” said Penny Taylor, a commissioner in Collier County, which includes Naples.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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