Florida sen. says Fort Myers Beach 'no longer EXISTS' after hurricane

Florida Senator Marco Rubio says Fort Myers Beach ‘no longer EXISTS’ after Hurricane Ian – and the ‘classic’ Sunshine State town ‘will have to be rebuilt as something else’ as death toll hits 81

  • The stark declaration from the Florida official came as officials continue to assess the damage wrought by the hurricane, which made landfall last week
  • Fort Myers Beach, a coastal city that bore the brunt of the storm, was hit particularly hard by Ian, with homes leveled and ships swept on to land in feet of floodwater
  • The scale of destruction has since left the city’s beloved pair unrecognizable – and at least 81 confirmed dead, many from the the small Florida city
  • Speaking on This Week Sunday, Rubio, 51, detailed the extent of this destruction, saying there’s no ‘comparison’ between the hurricane and previous storms 

Senator Marco Rubio on Sunday asserted that Fort Myers Beach has sustained irreversible damage from Hurricane Ian after the ‘superstorm’ ripped its beloved pier from its hinges, saying the historic town ‘no longer exists.’

The stark declaration from the Florida official came as officials continue to assess the damage wrought by the hurricane, which made landfall last week in Southwest Florida before sweeping across the middle and upper regions of the state.

Fort Myers Beach, a Gulf Coast town that bore the brunt of the storm, was hit particularly hard by Ian, with homes leveled and ships swept on to land in feet of overflowed floodwater, leaving dozens of residents stranded awaiting for rescue – or worse.

The scale of destruction has since left the town’s beloved pair unrecognizable –  and at least 81 confirmed dead, many from the the small Florida city.

Speaking on ABC’s This Week Sunday morning, Rubio, 51, detailed the extent of this destruction, saying there’s no ‘comparison’ between the deadly hurricane and past storms.

Meanwhile two more weather fronts whipped up concern as they moved westward across the Atlantic and threatened to turn into tropical storms.

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Speaking on ABC’s This Week Sunday morning, Sen. Marco Rubio, 51, detailed the extent of this destruction, saying there’s no ‘comparison’ between the deadly hurricane and past storms

‘I don’t think it has a comparison, not in Florida,’ Rubio, R-Fla., told co-anchor Jonathan Karl of the recent storm in comparison to its predecessors

‘I don’t think it has a comparison, not in Florida,’ Rubio, R-Fla., told co-anchor Jonathan Karl of the recent storm in comparison to its predecessors. 

The former presidential candidate would also add that despite being in close talks with Governor Ron DeSantis and federal officials about recovery efforts, Fort Myers’ beloved beach will likely never be the same again. 

 ‘Fort Myers Beach no longer exists,’ said Rubio, who has served as senator of the Sunshine State since 2011. 

‘It’ll have to be rebuilt,’ he continued in regards to what he asserted was irreparable damage to the once scenic city.

 ‘It’ll be something different. It was a slice of old Florida that you can’t recapture.’


Fort Myers Beach, a coastal town that bore the brunt of the storm, was hit particularly hard by Ian, with homes leveled and ships swept on to land in feet of overflowed floodwater, leaving dozens of residents stranded awaiting for rescue – or worse 

FORT MYERS BEACH: Jake Moses, 19, left, and Heather Jones, 18, of Fort Myers, explore a section of destroyed businesses following Hurricane Ian

The remote interview saw the senator joined by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell, who is playing a crucial role in the government’s cleanup and rescue efforts.

Criswell added of the lasting effects of the then-Category 4 storm: ‘There is a lot of devastation. Significant damage in the point of impact on the west coast of Florida.’ 

Search-and-rescue operations in Fort Myers – as well as other stricken cities such as Naples, Naples, and Orlando, are still ongoing, Rubio noted in the interview, before emphasizing that federal officials have been working closely with Gov. DeSantis due to the direness of the situation.

Those efforts, Rubio said on Sunday, have so far been successful – but both the Senator and head FEMA official said there was still an enormous amount of work to be done before the city even starts to resemble a semblance of its former self. 

‘FEMA has — they’ve all been great,’ Rubio said of the recovery campaign, which he conceded will take a long time. ‘The federal response from day one is very positive,’ the politico added. ‘And we’re grateful for that.’ 

Criswell, a former emergency management chief of New York City and the first woman to head FEMA after assuming the title last year, reiterated that both her in Rubio were in direct contact with DeSantis as the cleanup continues.

The scale of destruction has since left the city’s beloved pair unrecognizable – and at least 81 confirmed dead, with many from the the small Florida city

‘I spent the whole day with Gov. DeSantis on Friday and wanted to really hear what his concerns were and what resources he might need to help support this,’ Criswell told Karl. 

‘I committed to him that we would continue to bring in resources to meet the needs, not just for this response and the stabilization but as they go into the recovery efforts.’

When asked if the agency had been off-target with forecast models ahead of the storm or if local officials should have called for evacuations sooner, Criswell asserted state staffers were not to blame for what will likely be billions of dollars in damages, saying the storm had been ‘unpredictable in the days leading up to landfall.’

The storm would then burgeon in the span of a day to become the deadliest hurricane in state history in 60 years.

‘This is going to be a long road to recovery,’ Criswell acknowledged, as Rubio shook his head in agreement.

She added that officials are currently ‘accounting for everybody that was in the storm’s path and that we go through every home to make sure that we don’t leave anybody behind.’

An array of houses on Fort Myer’s southwest coast are pictured hopelessly marred following the hurricane, which saw storm surges of up to 18 feet barrage the city’s beloved beach

More than 2.6 million Florida homes and businesses were left without electricity amid six foot floodwaters and pelting, 155 mph winds, with most of the homes and businesses in 12 counties without power, and many ripped from their foundation

The hurricane made landfall near Cayo Costa, a barrier island just west of the heavily populated city, with water draining from Tampa Bay as it approached.

More than 2.6 million Florida homes and businesses were left without electricity amid six foot floodwaters and pelting, 155 mph winds, with most of the homes and businesses in 12 counties without power, and many ripped from their foundation.

Streets were turned into rivers, with the storm surge flooding homes, hospitals, schools, and obliterating the city’s beachside.  

The impacts of Ian, which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane but dissipated after passing over the central part of the state and then the Atlantic,, has left officials to scrambling to address infrastructure damage and deaths – with the state already carrying out more than confirmed rescues of citizens stranded in still-flooded areas.

The chaos has also sparked looting, officials in Lee County revealed, resulting in the activation of a county-wide curfew that will affect more than 413,000 citizens.

The reported incidents brazenly defied warnings from lawmen across the county that ‘looting and violence’ in the aftermath would ‘not be tolerated’ as flooding died down Thursday.

The impacts of Ian, which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane but dissipated after passing over the central part of the state and then the Atlantic, has left officials to scrambling to address infrastructure damage and deaths

Officials continue to assess the damage and loss of life brought on by the natural disaster

Officials continue to assess the damage and loss of life brought on by the now passed natural disaster.

Residents have been asked to conserve water and be wary of any neighbors – especially older residents who may be in need.

The president meanwhile, along with the First Lady, will travel this week to Puerto Rico to survey the damage left by Hurricane Fiona two weeks ago, as well as Ian, which made its first landfall in the country before budding from a tropical storm to a hurricane when striking the US Wednesday.

They will then head to Florida to assess recovery efforts there. 

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