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Hurricane Ian devastates Florida; AccuWeather warned early about its track and intensity

hurricane damage in fort myers


Hurricane Ian slammed into Southwest Florida as a Category 4 storm; AccuWeather provided early warning to clients.

Key Highlights

AccuWeather began issuing track forecasts for the storm 3 days earlier than other sources allowing customers to be better prepared

Ahead of other sources, our meteorologists began warning of a life-threatening storm surge up to 12 feet and catastrophic impacts in the Fort Myers area

AccuWeather for Business customers got alerted early and prepared for impacts and business disruptions.


Hurricane Ian hit the Southwest coast of Florida on September 28 as a Category 4 storm packing winds of up to 156 mph, heavy rainfall, massive storm surges, and coastal flooding. In the hardest hit areas, nearly 4,000 people were rescued days after the storm, and dozens lost their lives. Barriers islands, including Sanibel, Captiva, and Pine Island, were cut off from the rest of the state when roads connecting them to the mainland were destroyed and submerged by Ian. Hurricane Ian leveled buildings, homes, and businesses. Extreme winds downed trees and power lines. Ian knocked out power to more than 1.8 million people in Florida and up the East Coast. Power is slowly returning, but some businesses in the impacted areas will be left in the dark for weeks. 

AccuWeather provided clients with early warnings not only about the development of a tropical system in the western Caribbean but that a major hurricane would be moving into the eastern Gulf of Mexico with a live interactive webinar and email alerts. AccuWeather also warned about the threat of Ian's rapid strengthening.


AccuWeather began issuing track forecasts for the storm on September 20, three days earlier than other sources allowing customers to be better prepared for potential impacts and make the best decisions. Our meteorologists began warning of a life-threatening storm surge of up to 12 feet that could impact the Fort Myers area, which AccuWeather meteorologists later upgraded to up to 20 feet in that same area and described other catastrophic impacts as a “potential worse-case hurricane scenario” for the Fort Myers, Naples, Punta Gorda and surrounding communities.  AccuWeather’s forecast for storm surge in these areas was the highest forecast available from any source.

Ian Track-1

AccuWeather issued its first Eye Path® on the system, which correctly showed a Category 3 hurricane crossing the western tip of Cuba, providing six days of warning. AccuWeather's RealImpact prediction of a five before landfall and AccuWeather's Superior AccuracyTM provided invaluable information and time on Hurricane Ian as it moved toward Florida. Because of Ian's wobble and quickly changing track, one customer told us they relied upon AccuWeather to determine when they needed to get to an evacuation point. By using AccuWeather's track, they avoided leaving east too early, which would have put them directly into Ian's path with no options. Over the course of the storm, AccuWeather’s wind intensity forecast was 13% more accurate than other sources and 8 miles more accurate when comparing the 2-day forecast.


AccuWeather's experts held a live interactive webinar days before Ian hit landfall to discuss its path, impacts, and possible business disruptions. The information provided during the webinar provided advance notice and warnings giving much-needed time to prepare and plan for Ian's landfall. 

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The total damage and economic loss of Hurricane Ian will be between $180 billion and $210 billion according to AccuWeather Founder and CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers.

AccuWeather For Business customers with AssetReport™ were able to use this innovative tool combined with our superior hurricane forecast track to automatically identify specific company assets at risk, how much storm surge, wind, and rainfall was expected over a specific timeframe.

Hurricanes are not just a problem along the coast; they can also impact businesses several hundred miles inland. Don't wait for an imminent hurricane or tropical storm to prepare your business for one. The message is clear: Start planning now. AccuWeather for business has several tools to help you prepare for tropical storms and hurricanes.


Partner with us to weather the storm and prepare your business for tropical impacts.