TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — As crews work around the clock to clear debris, survey damage, and continue search and rescue operations around Fort Myers Beach, experts will begin to piece together the factors that led to the catastrophic flooding that washed away roads, homes, and entire communities throughout Hurricane Ian impact zones.
“Notice how the coastline comes to a right angle there,” Berardelli said as he pointed to the right angle formed at the vertex of Sanibel Island and Fort Myers beach. “That’s what really funneled the water in.”
“If you look at a map it makes a lot of sense. The water was funneled into that right angle,” he added. “That’s exactly what happened with Hurricane Sandy in New York City where Long Island and New Jersey make a right angle.”
Berardelli said that Fort Myers Beach was perfectly positioned at the apex of the right angle.
Parts of the Sanibel Causeway, the only road to and from Sanibel Island, were completely wiped out by the storm earlier this week.
Aerial views showed massive gaps formed between the remaining parts of the causeway where raging flood waters washed away the sand underneath the causeway.
“We had seven feet of storm surge in Naples,” Berardelli said. “We don’t have a sensor to tell you how much storm surge we had in Fort Myers. They’ll do a post-mordem on it but looking at this you have to imagine it was nearly double the seven-foot storm surge that we had far south of this in Naples.”
“So it is the contour of the coastline that really made it so much worse for Fort Myers Beach,” he added.