How Many People Died in Ian?

February 26, 2024

How many people died in ian depends on who you ask, because different agencies—including medical examiners and the National Hurricane Center—count deaths in different ways. But even a conservative estimate of 148 deaths from Hurricane Ian is devastating for residents in southwest Florida who were left to pick up the pieces after a storm that caused more than $113 billion in damage.

Several of the dead were seniors who refused to heed evacuation orders, despite having had weeks' notice and being reassured by local officials that they would not be affected by storm surge flooding. In some cases, such as that of Mitch Pacyna, 74, the decision was taken after his wife died and he feared she would have to stay behind in their Fort Myers Beach home to care for him if he fled during the storm.

In addition to the drownings, others were killed by falling debris and building collapses; by carbon monoxide poisoning from generator use; and by exacerbated heart conditions that developed during or after the storm. Some were also swept away in the flood waters, which can reach as high as 12 feet.

The death toll will likely go up as more bodies are found, but a number of people who were directly killed by the hurricane have already been buried. That's because the earliest deaths reported to the state by medical examiners occurred before the storm, while most of the other victims died after the storm.


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