In the end on paper it was an "average" season: 14 named storms, eight of those becoming hurricanes and two which intensified to major status with winds reaching 111 mph or greater. But for millions of Floridians, it was a season we will never forget.
Just a few days into the start of June 2022, Potential Tropical Cyclone One, which later became Tropical Storm Alex in the Atlantic, dropped between 5 to 9 inches of rainfall in southwest Florida, leading to flooding in some areas, including Collier county.
Tropical Storms Bonnie and short-lived Colin off South Carolina developed in July. Then, there was no development for weeks, including the entire month of August. Things changed quickly in September. Hurricanes Danielle, Earl and Fiona developed. Fiona struck Puerto Rico as a category 1, then Tropical Storms Gaston and Hermine developed. But, no hurricane threatened the continental U.S., until Ian.
Ian began as a Tropical Depression in the Caribbean Sea on Friday, September 23. It then pummeled Cuba as a category 3 hurricane. Once it emerged into the warm Gulf of Mexico waters, it continued to strengthen. Though its surge began hours earlier, Hurricane Ian officially made landfall at 3:05pm on Wednesday, September 28 in Cayo Costa, a barrier island of Lee County. Its maximum sustained winds, according to Hurricane Hunters, reached 150 mph at landfall.
One of the strongest storms to ever hit the U.S., Ian left southwest Florida devastated, causing at least 75-billion dollars in damage. Ian took 148 lives, mostly in Lee county from drowning.
The season and destruction weren't over yet. Several more storms formed off-shore, then six weeks following Hurricane Ian, Nicole struck Florida’s east coast in early November. Nicole made landfall just south of Vero Beach, as a weak category one hurricane. Though its winds weren't as strong, its waves were fierce, washing away foundations and causing damage to dozens of homes and businesses near Daytona Beach.
Nicole was the 14th and final named storm of the 2022 hurricane season. Based upon the past 30-years, the average for any year is 14 named systems, 7 hurricanes of which 3 become major hurricanes with winds in excess of 111 mph.