FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — This barrier island on the southwestern coast of Florida sustained extensive damage when Hurricane Ian made landfall on Wednesday just 22 miles to the north.

Debris littered the beaches, boats washed ashore and some buildings vanished completely. Smaller buildings were carried away by floodwaters and deposited elsewhere. Some buildings remained standing, but their entire first floors were destroyed.

In a survey of photographs and videos from the northern half of the island, The Times identified nearly 400 buildings, shown on the map below, that were visibly destroyed or severely damaged.


A map of Fort Myers Beach showing visibly destroyed or severely damaged structures after Hurricane Ian struck the island.

Buildings visibly destroyed or severely damaged





Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida

Ian’s

path

Fort Myers

Beach

ESTERO BLVD.

Matanzas

Pass

Matanzas

Court

Shops and

restaurants

swept away.

Shopping

center with

damaged roof.

Beachfront shops

and homes

destroyed.

FORT MYERS BEACH

GULF OF

MEXICO

ESTERO BLVD.

Mobile homes

strewn in heaps.

Beachfront

homes swept

away.

Matanzas

Pass

Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 1

Ian’s

path

Fort Myers

Beach

ESTERO BLVD.

Matanzas

Pass

Matanzas

Court

SAN CARLOS

ISLAND

Shops and

restaurants

swept away.

Shopping

center with

damaged roof.

Beachfront shops

and homes

destroyed.

FORT MYERS BEACH

GULF OF

MEXICO

ESTERO BLVD.

Mobile homes

strewn in heaps.

Beachfront

homes swept

away.

Matanzas

Pass

Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 2

SAN CARLOS

ISLAND

Ian’s

path

ESTERO BAY PRESERVE

STATE PARK

Fort Myers

Beach

Shopping

center with

damaged roof.

FORT MYERS BEACH

Matanzas

Pass

Matanzas

Pass

Matanzas

Court

ESTERO BLVD.

ESTERO BLVD.

GULF OF

MEXICO

Beachfront shops

and homes

destroyed.

Shops and

restaurants

swept away.

Mobile homes

strewn in heaps.

Beachfront

homes swept

away.

Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 3

SAN CARLOS

ISLAND

Ian’s

path

ESTERO BAY PRESERVE

STATE PARK

Fort Myers Beach

Shopping

center with

damaged roof.

Matanzas

Pass

FORT MYERS BEACH

Matanzas

Pass

Bowditch

Point Park

ESTERO BLVD.

ESTERO BLVD.

Mobile homes

strewn in heaps.

Shops and

restaurants

swept away.

Beachfront shops

and homes

destroyed.

Beachfront

homes swept

away.

GULF OF

MEXICO


Sources: Damage assessments were based on a survey of available photos and video as of Friday and are not comprehensive. Building footprints from Lee County GIS department. The New York Times

The damage identified above is just a fraction of the destruction wrought by the storm across all of Fort Myers Beach and the swath of the central Florida coast that was ripped apart by Hurricane Ian. But it provides a window into the devastating power of the storm.

Ray Murphy, the mayor of Fort Myers Beach, shared a video message on Friday from the beach amid the wreckage: “We took a real bad shot. A real hard hit. There’s a lot of devastation down here.”

Many of the bayside homes north of Estero Boulevard, the island’s main thoroughfare, appeared mostly intact, but at least two mobile home communities had been wiped out.






Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida

northern half of

Fort Myers Beach








Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 4

Gulf of Mexico

Larger buildings were

still standing.

ESTERO BLVD.

Smaller buildings

were swept away.

MATANZAS CT.

Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 5

Gulf of Mexico

Larger buildings

were still standing.

ESTERO BLVD.

Smaller buildings

were swept away.

MATANZAS CT.


Shannon Stapleton/Reuters






Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 6

Gulf of Mexico

ESTERO BLVD.

Trailers from a mobile home community were uprooted.

Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 7

Gulf of Mexico

ESTERO BLVD.

Trailers from a mobile home community were uprooted.


Ricardo Arduengo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The main commercial area, nicknamed “Times Square”, a bustling plaza of restaurants, bars and shops, was almost completely leveled. The first floors of buildings that remained standing were gutted.

Across the street, the new 254-room Margaritaville Beach Resort had been scheduled to open in 2023. In a Facebook post on Thursday evening, the team building the resort said it would “not be deterred by this catastrophe of biblical proportions.”

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Next to the Lani Kai Island Resort, the bright blue building shown in the video above, all that remained of Shucker’s, a seafood restaurant, and the Cottage Bar, an old local hangout, were bare foundations covered in muck. Other nearby buildings had been demolished.

Christina Thomaison, front desk manager of the Lani Kai, said she saw water from the storm surge rise as high as two stories. After evacuating guests, she and about 30 other employees and family members braved the storm from the second floor of the building – technically the third story because the resort stands on stilts. “We saw everything get swept away,” she said.






Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 2

northern half of

Fort Myers Beach








Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 8

Palermo Circle

ESTERO BLVD.

Shucker’s and the

Cottage Bar

Lani Kai

Island Resort

Gulf of Mexico

Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 9

ESTERO BLVD.

Shucker’s and the

Cottage Bar

Lani Kai

Island Resort


The New York Times; aerial image by Nearmap from April 12

Before






Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 10

Palermo Circle

Roads were covered in debris and sand.

ESTERO BLVD.

Gulf of Mexico

Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 11

Roads were covered in debris and sand.

ESTERO BLVD.


The New York Times; aerial image by Nearmap from Sept. 29

After

Farther from the beach on the other side of Estero Boulevard, most buildings appeared to remain standing. The structure of a 7-Eleven was still intact, but the interior had been swept away.

The Whale, the colorful blue-and-orange seafood restaurant shown below, had crumpled and fallen over. It had been a popular place for both the ocean view and its homemade food.

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Along the beachfront, most smaller houses and the structures closest to the water had been swept away entirely, leaving only foundations or pilings behind. Larger, more solidly built buildings had been more likely to survive.

“Older homes, that just aren’t as strongly built, they got washed into the sea,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a press conference. “That is something that I think would be very difficult to be survivable.”






Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida

northern half of

Fort Myers Beach








Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 12

ESTERO BLVD.

All that remains of this

multimillion-dollar

house is the pool.

Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 13

ESTERO BLVD.

All that remains of this

multimillion-dollar

house is the pool.


Ricardo Arduengo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images






Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 14

ESTERO BLVD.

Sandpiper Gulf Resort

… and deposited

across the street.

These buildings were

swept off their

foundations …

Mapping The Damage From Hurricane Ian In Fort Myers Beach Florida 15

ESTERO BLVD.

Sandpiper Gulf Resort

These buildings were

swept off their

foundations …

… and deposited

across the street.


Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

The Silver Witch, a jewelry and gift shop that was located on the street in the video below, had been in business there for more than 40 years. After Hurricane Ian hit, the entire building had washed away.

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Original Source