The notion that a single photograph can carry the power of 1,000 words is an old and even clichéd idea. But it comes to mind when Mother Nature wreaks its havoc, as it has been doing since Wednesday in Florida – and before that in Cuba – in the form of Hurricane Ian. The storm landed at Category 4 strength on Florida’s southwest coast; it has caused what Gov. Ron DeSantis called “historic” damage, left millions without power, and millions worried about their next moves. And as we have come to learn, while those “category” levels refer to wind strength, it is often the case that the rain that follows can be just as damaging — or deadly. .
In these photos, views of the storm from a range of perspectives, beginning in Cuba, where Ian did its initial damage. In Fort Myers, Florida, an aerial view tells one story; a boat and a homeowner another; and one tree, one car and two people tell a third. Thursday morning revealed the devastation along one street in Punta Gorda, Florida; and a little north in Sarasota, photographers captured the moment when a huge tree fell, and another when a man raced for shelter.
There is more here, and of course Ian is nowhere near finished. As we write and lay out these images, the storm is moving to the northeast; its winds will blow and rains will pour for days to come. In the meantime, back to that adage about pictures and words, what follows with the images here is the equivalent of a 16,000-word story.