CAPE CORAL, Fla. — FOX 4's Chris Earl takes us through "our world", one year after Hurricane Ian changed parts of Southwest Florida forever:
It's been a week.
But it hasn't been that week of one year ago, when Hurricane Ian hit.
All week, FOX 4 - and every other media outlet, it seems — have been going through the stories, the experiences, the sorrow of loss and the endurance of surviving it.
Regardless of what outlet reports on Ian, this is good for all of us.
It's important to remember the historic storm and here's why.
I want to come out here and report that we see everything going back to normal. But we know that isn't the case in most places.
But the stories of people who survived Hurricane Ian captured our hearts. FOX 4's Nadeen Yanes went back to catch up with Ken and Kerry Frietzsche, who survived the storm... barely.
If you haven't seen her story, highest recommendation.
Kaitlin Knapp was back in North Port because this wasn't just on the coast line but also inland, as the water came up. A mother, with a newborn, trapped inside of their home because of the force of the water.
We had the honor - the privilege, really - to tell these stories. I got to return to Coral Harbor Apartments, on Gladiolus by Summerlin. The storm surge forced most of the first-floor tenants out. But I heard from Don Barrett, who talked of the cars destroyed from the surge. How people on the second floor were helping the people on the first floor, all flooded out.
We even anchored the news because of all of the damage that we saw driving by, from Iowa to McGregor, to Fort Myers Shores to the Peace River.
This doesn't even get into all the wind damage. Roofs taken out from the force of Hurricane Ian. It turned out to be a winter and spring of blue tarps and roofing nails everywhere.
I'm a six punctured tires so far.
But we got the beautiful scenery shots as well.
It is our story, our collective experience. We remember the gas lines the day after the storm. No power. Having to drive over from Cape Coral to Fort Myers because that's where our cell phones would work.
Our neighborhood didn't have power for 11 days. I only knew the power was back on because the neighborhood kids had all gone back inside to their phones and electronics and weren't outside playing kickball and soccer any more.
As so much is back on, let's keep on being our best selves here in Southwest Florida. Maybe in a year, we'll all come back at two years to mark all of the progress that we've made.