In Marco Island, was direct-hit Irma worse than Ian? It depends on who you ask

Marco Island has experienced more prosperous times.

On other Saturday mornings, it seemed like Ian was saving the neat piles of vegetation along the streets, as the occasional fallen tree and power restoring truck were there, just like in the days after Hurricane Pike.

A digital communication board notified drivers that emergency services were unavailable and that the act of boating was not allowed.

In other areas, residents hauled surge-soaked mattress, chairs, appliances, dressers, and more to the curb.

Carl Johnannes, right, and son Raymond carry a chair damaged by Hurricane Ian

Depending on who you ask, Ian has been to a city island hit directly by Hurricane Irma, like Johannes Carl and others, most experienced about five years ago.

“I would say Ian was more severe. This is just-“.

“This is disastrous,” his son, Raymond, interrupted.

The pair of father and son transported toppled palm leaves and a crimson cushioned seat to the road, placing it onto the heap of beds and sofas. A six-inch water stain traced along his yellow residence in a dead-end street on Fifth Avenue.

He said, “There was a surge. It didn’t come inland high like this. Irma caused more structural damage to trees and houses, I think.” Irma caused more structural damage to trees and houses, I think.

He wasn’t expecting it. Many residents weren’t. The lack of Irma-like winds made him feel like the storm wouldn’t be as dangerous.

Within a span of 20 minutes, the water rapidly surged from the street and reached a height of 6 inches inside his house. The water level was increasing at an accelerated pace. As Ian approached with the dog, his daughter hurriedly emerged from the house. However,

He stated, “We hurried indoors. We needed to retrieve whatever we could from the floor,” expressing his gratitude for being back home to rescue items such as his university diploma and photographs.

Those who were displaced and experienced flooding likely suffered greater losses, he stated.

Snook Inn employees sort through gift shop T-shirts that got wet from Hurricane Ian

Snook Inn will rebuild

Megan Criser, the senior manager, said that the employees who lost everything in the storm will be sent to Fort Myers to rest. After they are washed, they will need to take the clothes they need. A portion of the parking lot of Snook Inn was overtaken by wet T-shirts, as employees laid them out on the pavement. This happened at the northern end of the island.

The hut and the bar underneath it were completely destroyed. Megan Criser, the senior manager, stated on Saturday morning that the cherished restaurant suffered significant destruction due to the nearly 5-foot storm surge, which also ruined the products in the gift shop.

Criser mentioned, “We are grateful for having a fixed building. We have a larger extent of water impairment compared to wind impairment.”

Also, the power will come back on tonight as they work through the night. The issue becomes the ability to track down resources, but since Thursday they have been planning to rebuild with the starting process.

Criser expressed, “Prior to the season, ideally, we will return and successfully complete a more comprehensive renovation than anticipated, but we are certainly committed to doing so.”

Martina Smith, right, takes stock in how Hurricane Ian

Boardroom Tavern, Smith House

Down the block on Palm Street, Martina Smith was inspecting the damage at Boardroom Tavern and her Smith House restaurant and bakery.

Smith said, “We are fortunate, however, despite that, we can reopen within a month at the very least, resulting in the loss of all items in our kitchen, including our refrigeration.”

The preparation before and clean-up after when Irma struck Tigertail Beach were significantly distinct and easier. At that time, she managed a restaurant and a business of renting out beach equipment.

“It seemed inconsequential to us,” she remarked about the direct-hit tempest. “This was considerably more intense.”

Equipment from the Boardroom Tavern in Marco Island sits out in the courtyard on Oct. 1 after getting hit with Hurricane Ian

Her devices function properly if she is still unaware. Rather than a dining establishment, it had the aroma reminiscent of a mangrove forest inside Smith House on Royal Palm Drive, standing tall. Following the departure of the storm, shattered windows and waterlogged hardwood floors welcomed them this time.

She stated, “we possess a plethora of exceptional, outstanding personnel and all our family members are secure. I experience optimism because I perceive numerous individuals endured significantly more challenging situations, yet I sense there is a considerable amount of work to be accomplished.”

According to her, her landlord is still insisting on her eviction. She is unable to locate any available hotels, despite the fact that they were scheduled to vacate the previous day. Prior to the flooding, she and her husband had already departed from their residence, resulting in the loss of her Jeep. Athena Mangan, the pastry chef employed at Smith’s bakery, was actively assisting in the post-disaster cleanup operations.

“We’re essentially without a home, so we’re here assisting. I have to,” she expressed.

According to her, she was acquainted with acquaintances throughout Southwest Florida — including Port Charlotte, North Port, and Fort Myers — who were directly affected by the storm. She mentioned that all of them will have to deal with significant emotional distress caused by Ian.

She expressed, “Seemed akin to a jet turbine.” It was utterly frightening. The gusts of wind were what unsettled me. It will be intolerable for numerous individuals.

Wellness for Eternity owner Karolina Dolecki points to where she believes Hurricane Ian

Prior to the storm, Smith had no concerns about the wind or the surge.

Smith remarked, “At some point, you have to realize that your time will come. You may feel the urge to reprimand yourself. Having grown up in this area, I believe it’s easy to become somewhat careless. I genuinely anticipated a tropical storm, as we have experienced numerous ones before.”

Wellness for Eternity Spa

Karolina Dolecki’s wrist was wrapped in a brace after slipping on the wet garage floor. To keep it clean, she took the necessary precautions and covered the marble tiles on the floor of her store with a dozen people coming in from the water all day. The smell of the storm surge was masked by scented products inside Eternity for Wellness Spa, as she made her way down the brick path to a few neighboring businesses.

Two years prior, Dolecki relocated to Marco Island from Chicago. Her inaugural hurricane encounter was with Ian. During her time in the Midwest, she had observed news reports on hurricanes, yet failed to fully grasp the immense power and devastation that a storm could unleash.

She exclaimed, “It was awful. ‘How terrible could it possibly be?’ I was shocked when I heard that Marco had a compulsory evacuation.” “I never imagined I would witness this level of destruction, even in my worst nightmares.”

She should take precaution and trust her intuition next time. She still thinks she might have incurred damage worth $20,000, but she took the most expensive equipment from the spa.

“This is all unfamiliar to me. I’ll be more ready, that’s for sure,” she stated.

Fred Steiner, Tony Costantino and Sal Soldano gather in the parking lot of Marco Lutheran Church on Oct. 1 for their weekly muscle car meet-up. The enthusiasts say for them, direct-hit Hurricane Irma was worse than Ian.

Car enthusiasts gather, reflect

Even Ian couldn’t be deterred by that. A group of six muscle car enthusiasts, who met every week under the expansive shade of oak trees in the parking lot of Marco Lutheran Church, proudly displayed Mustangs and Corvettes at their gathering.

Tony Constantino stated, “We took a risk, and we emerged victorious. Therefore, if the storm had veered slightly, we would currently find ourselves in the identical predicament as Fort Myers Beach. I genuinely had no idea of the extent of the risk. The individuals who chose to remain here, myself included, took a gamble.”

When asked if he would take the chance again in the future, Constantino expressed uncertainty about his decision.

Ian quickly sliced through the items he needed with his knives, placing each one carefully. For the past two years, Graham Randy has been living on his 50-foot Hattaras, where he frequently goes out riding.

“It was acceptable,” he stated. Amidst Irma, he resided in Golden Gate Estates, expressing, “It was more severe than this.”

If the hurricane of 2017 taught anything, it was that they might have to evacuate their homes, potentially leaving that place they hit harder.

From left to right, Fred Steiner, Larry Drozd, Tony Costantino, Al Librandi and Sal Soldano pose with a Mustang and Corvette at their weekly muscle car meet-up at Marco Lutheran Church on Oct. 1. Not even Hurricane Ian could delay their gathering.

Despite the strong winds of Hurricane Irma, which were felt by the enthusiasts, overall, some homes on Marco Island are built higher than others, whether on natural or artificial elevated land.

“I suppose we were at a sufficient altitude to avoid drowning,” one of the enthusiasts remarked.

In Goodland, neighbors help neighbors

Similar to others, Angela Loduca was taken by surprise by the storm surge.

“She definitely would have left if she had known it was going to be like that,” she said, while staying at her home with her 17-month-old child, where the floodwater engulfed the floor. “If it had seemed that way, I wouldn’t have gone,” she added.

Prior to the arrival of Hurricane Irma, Goodland resembled a deserted town. Residents evacuated in anticipation of a potential direct impact.

Loduca expressed, “We were unable to escape. It was inundated with wreckage, and when Wednesday morning arrived, the city of Marco Island issued an evacuation order on Tuesday, leaving us stranded.”

“According to resident James Allen, whom Loduca was visiting on Saturday afternoon, it was already too late to depart. There was no possible escape.”

Strewn across the road were remnants from his own yard, his neighbor’s yard, and even his neighbor’s neighbor’s yard. He claimed that had the water risen just an inch more, Allen’s house would have been flooded. The flood carried away boats, dining room furniture, and picnic tables, all flowing down the street with the force of the water.

“Ian was a fierce lion while Irma was a timid kitten,” Allen remarked, drawing a comparison between the two.

James Allen stands in front of his home in Goodland on Oct. 1. When comparing Hurricane Ian to direct-hit Irma, he said: "This was a roaring lion and that was a pussy cat."

If he required anything, they conveyed their fortune and approached Allen as he stood outside his residence, another occupant in a white pickup truck.

Loduca, in comparison to other residents in Southwest Florida, feels exceptionally fortunate after the incident and does not hold officials responsible for the timing of the evacuation.

She stated, “‘Oh, let’s deceive Marco and Goodland and abandon them there,’ it’s not like anyone mentioned. I understand. It’s simply the manner in which it changed.”