TCU families affected by Hurricane Ian assess damage



Damaged homes and debris are shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

By Hope Crockett

TCU students with Florida ties are contacting family and assessing the damage from Hurricane Ian, which plowed across a swath of the Sunshine state Wednesday dumping nearly 20 inches of rain.

“My mom is currently staying with me here in Fort Worth, but my stepdad was unable to get out and is currently in Naples with no electricity or running water,” said Katie Anne Eastus, a senior criminal justice major. 

Eastus is among the 157 TCU students who are from Florida.

Ian is the largest storm to hit the U.S. mainland this season. At its peak, it had sustained winds of 150 mph, which were strong enough to destroy wood framed houses. As of Thursday morning, an estimated 2.7 million people were without power.

At least one man was confirmed dead.

“We’ve never seen storm surge of this magnitude,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news conference. “The amount of water that’s been rising, and will likely continue to rise today even as the storm is passing, is basically a 500-year flooding event.”

The National Hurricane Center said storm surge and flooding rains remained a threat as Ian crept across the Florida peninsula and emerged in the Atlantic Ocean. Forecasters predicted a northward turn toward South Carolina, and a hurricane warning was issued for the state’s coastline.

View from the Eastus home on Wednesday. (Courtesy of Katie Anne Eastus.)

Sisters Audrey Johnson, senior communications major, and Maddie Johnson, junior nursing major, are from Houston, but their family has property in Boca Grande located on Gasparilla Island in southwest Florida. 

“We boarded up and packed up all the valuables and moved them off the island to a safe place,” said Audrey Johnson when discussing what preparations the family had taken to combat the storm. “All the furniture is now one the second floor and the windows have been boarded up. Sandbags are surrounding the house and the pool has drained in case of a storm surge.”

Gasparilla Marina was destroyed by Hurricane Ian, (Courtesy of Maddie Johnson.)

While the Johnson family was able to evacuate, airlines canceled over 2,000 flights out of Florida before Ian hit. 

“We’re very worried about the families down there that maybe couldn’t evacuate but we are hopeful that our house will withstand this,” said Maddie Johnson. 

Hurricane Ian has downgraded to a tropical storm, but the impact and destruction it has caused leaves Florida and millions of its residents underwater and without power. 

The Associated Press contributed to the report