MARCO ISLAND, Fla. — Southwest Florida homeowners are dealing with devastating damage after Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday. On Marco Island, recovery efforts have already begun.
“It was really eye opening to see how quickly that water came up and rose,” said Jill and Chris Thayer, who live on Marco Island. “We kind of just wanted to see how the beach did. We were curious to see how the rest of the island faired as we had a lot of water.”
People were out assessing the damage on Winterberry Beach Thursday. Lines from storm surge flooding can be seen outlined on the walls of one condominium complex.
Eleven floors up, Sharon Oehler and her son Lewis were in the middle of renovating their condo.
“When it actually started to get intense, I thought, ‘What did I get myself into? Why didn’t I stay in Chicago?’” said Oehler, who moved to the island from West Dundee, Illinois. “From our balcony we could see the pool across the street was completely underground. Water rose and covered the pier, came on to the edge of the land, and then kept rising and covered the pool. It was flowing, I mean, pretty powerfully.”
Across the bay from them, one boat is half submerged underwater, another stranded on land. This damage just one indication of how long it will take the area to recover.
“We’ve got until the first of November to get construction done here as a whole. It’s been a push to do that and, definitely with this, hopefully it doesn’t slow things down,” said Lewis Oehler.
But where there are people willing to help, there’s hope.
“I think a crisis brings out the most beautiful side in people and causes them to work together,” said Oehler. “To forget the differences and focus on helping each other out, no matter if they have differences. Which, we all know, we need in today’s world.”