Response Updates

Hurricane Ian Strikes Florida & Convoy Is Responding

USA Reported by Convoy of Hope

Historically, Ian has been the name of eight tropical cyclones worldwide — two in the Atlantic Ocean, two in the Western Pacific Ocean, and four in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean. The most recent was the worst. In 2022, the Atlantic’s Hurricane Ian grew into an extremely destructive Category 5 storm.

Hurricane Ian Facts

What Category was Hurricane Ian?

As Ian came closer to Southwest Florida, it reached peak intensity as a Category 5 storm with a peak wind speed of 160 mph. By landfall, those speeds had only slowed to 150 mph, making Ian the first Category 4 to impact the region since Charley in 2004.

Hurricane Ian Path

The weather system’s journey had been long and varied. Ian originated off West Africa from a tropical wave producing large showers and thunderstorms September 14-15.

By September 24, with wind speeds reaching 40 mph, Tropical Storm Ian was moving across the Caribbean. It quickly progressed through each hurricane category as it crossed over Cuba into the Gulf of Mexico and slammed into Florida on September 28.

Hurricane Ian Damage

Ian became the third-costliest weather disaster on record at $112 billion in damage. Responsible for more than 150 deaths in Florida alone, it was the deadliest hurricane to strike the state since 1935.

Convoy of Hope organized a sustained response to assist communities impacted by Ian. The following updates report on the trajectory of that disaster relief.

November 4, 2022 | 10:26 a.m.

It’s been more than five weeks since Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida, and Convoy of Hope has been there from the start. As needs in the aftermath of the storm change, Convoy is planning and implementing long-term, sustainable assistance.

“Just like with [Hurricane] Ida last year, we’ll be spending the next 6 to 12 months identifying and helping families who are underinsured and in need of assistance to recover from Hurricane Ian,” said Convoy’s Vice President of Disaster Services Stacy Lamb.

Convoy will continue distributing food and relief supplies to survivors through localized strategies. Other examples of long-term assistance include helping with home repairs and providing building materials and homewares.

So far, Convoy of Hope has helped more than 115,000 people in dozens of communities around Fort Myers recover from Hurricane Ian, and has mobilized more than 1,500 volunteers across the state of Florida.

October 21, 2022 | 9:31 a.m.

Convoy of Hope is entering the fourth week of its response to Hurricane Ian. So far, teams have served more than 92,000 survivors. Relief supply distributions continue in outlying areas as residents do their best to rebuild their lives.

The spirit of the local volunteers is undwindling and is a large part of why Convoy has been able to serve so many people in a short amount of time. Individuals from across the state continue to show up with an eagerness to help their neighbors.

“Convoy of Hope, they paid us a favor back in 2017 after Hurricane Irma,” said Robert, a volunteer from Sarasota, Florida. “I felt like it was my duty to pay the favor back.”

That “pay it forward” mentality is prevalent throughout Florida, as many residents have weathered large hurricanes in recent years. For those rebuilding from Ian, the help is deeply appreciated.

Convoy of Hope Ian Response
Convoy of Hope volunteers distribute food and relief supplies in a hard-hit Florida neighborhood.

“You’re the first ones to come by,” said Joan, a survivor served by Convoy of Hope. “It’s just nice when somebody comes in and they’re smiling, and they wish you well and bring you some cold water.”

Convoy is honored to come alongside people affected by natural disasters and to partner with amazing volunteers and organizations. Together, we are responding with tangible aid and compassion.

October 18, 2022 | 4:45 p.m.

Convoy of Hope has distributed 1.5 million pounds worth of food, water, and relief supplies to more than 80,000 Hurricane Ian survivors. To date, more than 1,200 volunteers have served 21 communities alongside our Disaster Services team. Convoy is also assisting residents with debris removal.

One of the most devastating effects of a hurricane is the damage that saltwater does to structures. Ian caused 14 feet of storm surge, which means structures were inundated with water 14 feet high for hours on end. “The wind is doing damage, but the nail in the coffin is storm surge,” said David Lagomasino, a coastal geomorphologist at East Carolina University.

Salt alters the composition of nearly all the building materials in a manmade environment. 

  • • “Salt can be better than a jackhammer for taking out concrete,” said Colin Lecher, a writer for “Popular Science.”
  • Excess salt and water chokes roots, breaks down soil, and kills vegetation.
  • • Within days, exposed metals can rust and the metal in electrical components can corrode.
  • • Wet building materials, such as wood, plaster, drywall, and gypsum board, will start dissolving rapidly and growing mold.

As part of the Hurricane Ian response, teams have distributed cleanup kits and materials to those going through distribution lines. The hope is that the materials in these kits will help families recover quickly from storm surge and salvage as much of their homes as possible. 

October 14, 2022 | 10 a.m.

Even though the tragedy of disaster is heavy, kind and friendly faces lighten the load at distribution events. Noe (pronounced “Noah”) is one of these people. He saw his town of Cape Coral rocked by Category 4 Hurricane Ian, which destroyed the vast majority of his roof and left his home exposed.

Noe has been a longtime member of First Assembly Spanish in Fort Myers. Despite living 20 minutes away, it’s become his home church. He loves sermons from Pastor Tito, who flows from English to Spanish in his prayers.

Convoy of Hope Ian Response Team

The church has gone through hardships like the pandemic, which lowered attendance rates. But it’s events like these where Noe sees the whole church come together.

“This storm is number five for me,” said Noe. “It’s a life change for many people. Many homes have been destroyed, many have died. I try to help … helping others helps me.”

When asked where his positive spirit comes from, Noe points to his faith and how he’s seen people in Florida work together to recover from past hurricanes. He knows First Assembly reaches many communities — from Cape Coral to Lehigh Acres and Dunbar — and will come alongside those who need help.

At First Assembly’s second distribution with Convoy, Noe waved and directed cars to receive necessary goods. He’s one of the first friendly faces people see after going through a life-altering event. His joy is contagious.

“I have water, I have family. I don’t have power,” Noe says. He triumphantly pats his chest, “But I have life.”

October 12, 2022 | 4 p.m.

Convoy of Hope has served tens of thousands of survivors in communities affected by Hurricane Ian. Along with dozens of local partners and nearly 1,000 volunteers, hope is being found in the aftermath of this deadly disaster.

One of the hardest-hit places was Sanibel Island, Florida. Major sections of the Sanibel Causeway were destroyed by Ian, leaving residents stranded from the mainland. Many needed to be rescued by local first responders or the U.S. Coast Guard.

Ross and Marian Hauser were among those forced on top of their home to be flown off the island. “They clearly risked their lives for us,” Ross said, “so we are overwhelmed with gratitude.”

The Hauser’s are longtime residents of Florida and have experienced their fair share of extreme weather. Their house was destroyed in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew struck, and when they rebuilt, they used stricter building codes to withstand future storms. Until this year, their house had weathered every other storm.

But as Hurricane Ian came ashore and flooded all of Sanibel Island with 14 feet of water, their hearts sank.

“We literally saw the water rising up our house,” Marian recalls. “At some point, it blew out the garage door and water came rushing in the bottom floor.”

Convoy of Hope Ian Flooding

Water immediately filled the first 12 feet of their house, covered their cars, and slowly climbed up the stairway to their main level. With one bar of cell service, they reached out to loved ones to let them know they needed to be rescued. “Every time any plane, helicopter, Coast Guard, anybody would go by, we would all yell and start waving and just to try and let them see us,” said Marian.

Finally, a Coast Guard helicopter saw them and hovered over their house. The helicopter was running low on fuel, but the Hausers were prepared and ready to leave right away. But that meant each could only take one backpack. Everything else they owned would have to be left behind.

Once they made it to safety, acts of kindness from others immediately began pouring in.

One of the Hauser’s employees literally gave them the shirt off their back. The pastors at one of Convoy’s partner churches gave them a duffle bag filled with their own clothes so the Hauser’s wouldn’t have to worry about finding something to wear.

Convoy of Hope Ian Response Hug

With tears in her eyes, Marian said, “Every time you see someone who you know loves you and is praying for you … the tears come flowing. The reality of it … that you almost lost your life … and these people were begging God to save you … it’s an overwhelming experience. Normally, we’re the people helping other people. So it’s been so overwhelming. Like, who does that?”

Convoy of Hope’s network of partners and volunteers are showing that kindness makes a difference in the lives of people who are suffering.

“We always knew about Convoy of Hope,” Marian said, “but when you’re actually in it? You need food, you need cleaning supplies, you need a shirt. Don’t ever underestimate what you’re doing. It’s so important and so appreciated. We’re so grateful that you’re here.”

October 10, 2022 | 4:35 p.m.

It will take eastern Florida months, if not years, to recover from Hurricane Ian. Convoy of Hope will be there to help them as they do. 

Even for a place that is familiar with big storms, Ian took many by surprise. “This was one of the worst storms I’ve ever been through. This is my third one,” said Randy, a survivor and someone Convoy served at a distribution in Fort Myers.

The sheer force of the storm was devastating. “My wife’s daughter lost two cars in 7 feet of water,” said Bob, another survivor. “They had a 38-foot motor home — blew over on its side, sitting in 9 feet of water. 

Despite it all, the eagerness of other Floridians to help their neighbors is inspiring. Jill, a volunteer who helped pack groceries for a recent distribution, lived through Hurricane Wilma. “We came through it … but we’re gonna help out, just like they helped us during Wilma.”

Here is footage from a Convoy of Hope distribution that occurred over the weekend.

October 8, 2022 | 11:47 a.m.

Drive-thru distributions continue today in Fort Myers as Convoy of Hope delivers on its promise to help survivors of Hurricane Ian. 

Yesterday, Convoy made more supply deliveries to partners. In addition, teams loaded UTVs and pickup trucks with supplies and returned to Pine Island, Florida. Convoy was one of the first disaster response teams to serve Pine Island residents after roads finally opened. In all, more than 1,800 people received help in just one day.

“The hardest part — to take a shower and get cleaned up!” said Jackie, a survivor Convoy served at a Fort Myers distribution. “But thank you, Convoy of Hope, for being here. You’ve been all over the place for many years. You’re a godsend.”

October 7, 2022 | 1:05 p.m.

Convoy of Hope served another 600 Floridians yesterday as teams continue to respond to Hurricane Ian. Tragically, Hurricane Ian now has the distinction of being the second-deadliest hurricane to hit the U.S. this century, coming in only behind 2006’s Hurricane Katrina.

Today, teams will be walking door-to-door in Pine Island, Florida, to help residents who just recently were reconnected to the mainland. Until yesterday, the only way to access the island had been by boat.

Convoy of Hope Ian Response

Distributions will continue throughout the weekend and into the foreseeable future.

“We’re bringing hope to our community by giving out all sorts of supplies,” said Candice Carter, a pastor at Skyline Church in Cape Coral. “We’re distributing baby food, diapers … we have ice, we have water, we’re giving hot meals out. Supplies, tarps … it’s just an incredible witness of what God can do when we come together.”

While the damage seems insurmountable, Convoy of Hope is doing everything possible to bring people together, move forward, and rebuild.

October 6, 2022 | 1:11 p.m.

Convoy of Hope has served more than 17,000 survivors in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. More than 20 partners and nearly 500 volunteers have served 11 of the hardest-hit communities. 

Hurricane Ian Response

The volunteer response to Ian has been overwhelmingly positive. People are driving hours, just so they can greet guests as they arrive and pack groceries into cars. 

A volunteer named Katherine said, “Right now is the best time to show that there is hope out there in the world, that they’re not alone, and that there are people out there looking out for them. Even though we may not know them ourselves.”

Here’s a glimpse of what it’s like to be a volunteer at one of Convoy’s points of distribution.

October 5, 2022 | 2:23 p.m.

“It was 8-foot-deep ocean here,” Ben Carlson recounts as he drives through what is left of a neighborhood on Pine Island, Florida. “We were picking up fish in the storm drain.” 

“To know the number of dead may take a while,” said his father, Randy Carlson. “To know who’s missing. Who’s here.”

Pine Island is a large, residential island just off the coast. Hurricane Ian barreled directly over the top of it, destroying or flooding every structure in sight. Now, the island is inaccessible except by boat.

Randy, a local pastor, helped lead a door-to-door distribution with Convoy of Hope. Along with food and water, they handed out tarps and other relief supplies.

“We’ve got to go to them,” said Randy. “Knock on their door, see if they’re home, and try to give them good news.”

October 4, 2022 | 9:22 a.m.

Convoy of Hope team members and volunteers from all over Florida served more than 9,500 people yesterday at a distribution that served the Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Pine Island Center, and Bokeelia communities. 

Florida Senator Rick Scott joined the distribution while in Fort Myers and surveyed the damage. “Many people have lost their homes. Unfortunately, many have lost their loved ones,” he said. “But what this group is doing is providing hope to others. There’s a great group of volunteers here. That’s exactly what we need right now, and that’s exactly what’s happening in the great state of Florida.”

More than 350 volunteers bagged groceries, loaded them into cars, and greeted every person who attended the distribution.

“I’m from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It’s about two and a half hours away,” said Veronica, a volunteer. “We came here because I’ve been in situations where I’ve needed help and people have shown up.”
At least 78 people have died from the storm. Search and rescue efforts are still ongoing in Florida, and 440,000 homes and businesses in Florida are without electricity. In Cuba, electricity returned to those living in Havana, but most of the country is still without power.

October 3, 2022 | 12:17 p.m.

Convoy of Hope is distributing more food, water, and relief supplies to survivors of Hurricane Ian. As the death toll rises and hundreds of people are rescued from their homes, Convoy and its partners are there to provide tangible expressions of hope as people start rebuilding their lives.

The need for bottled water is still high, as there is a boil order in the Fort Myers area. Nonperishable food and roof repair kits are also in high demand. Convoy is helping meet all of those needs today at a distribution in Fort Myers. Convoy teams will continue to work in southwest Florida post-Ian and will provide long-term support to hurting communities.

October 2, 2022 | 5:56 p.m.

Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team will tell you that seeing a disaster is unlike anything else. Trees leaning at a 45 degree angle, cars wrapped around telephone poles, the smell of sea water and molding wood, a general stillness from the grief of what was lost …

Convoy has been responding this week in Fort Myers, Florida — an area that suffered a 12-foot storm surge from Category 4 Hurricane Ian. Convoy’s media team captured the damage from Fort Myers and reported on what remains.

The area, which is about 3 feet above sea level, was hit by the eye of the storm and seems to have suffered the most damage in Florida. Homes there are either flattened or blown through. Cars and motorhomes have washed up into yards. One man said his neighbor’s boat washed into the yard across the street.

There are remnants of daily life caked in mud on the ground: deodorant, a book on accounting, old VHS tapes, Christmas decorations, old clothes, and keepsakes. A pile of around 25 pairs of shoes sit at the end of a driveway, ranging from adult swim shoes to children’s sandals — evidence of a family’s memories spanning years.

There were some residents at their houses, cleaning up debris and putting what they could find in bags. Some yell to each other when they find something in the mud. Folks pass out water on the corner of the neighborhood, holding up cardboard signs reading “Water + Food” on the side of the road to advertise.

Convoy of Hope continues to provide relief for these families through local partnerships in Fort Myers, supplying them with food, water, relief supplies. On top of the physical needs, Convoy strives to bring hope to survivors in what feels like an impossible recovery.

October 2, 2022 | 9:47 a.m.

The tragedy of Hurricane Ian continues to unfold. State officials have confirmed that 47 people have died in Florida because of the storm. Four more have died in North Carolina, and three deaths are confirmed in Cuba. More than 850,000 are without power, and roads to some islands and outlying areas are still completely destroyed. More than 1,000 people have been rescued from flooded areas. 

Hurricane Ian Response

In the midst of the suffering and sadness, Convoy of Hope served more than 850 families yesterday in Fort Myers. More than 192 Floridians also volunteered at the event, a testament to the love that residents have for their community. 

Guest after guest said the same things: the storm was terrifying to witness, utilities were still out afterward, lines for gasoline were hours long, but they were hopeful for the future.

“Everyone is trying to get together and work with each other as a community,” said local Eli Cruz. “Everyone gets together like a family.”

October 1, 2022 | 5:15 p.m.

Guests sharing that they see helicopters rescuing people every 15 minutes.

A man in a car that has smoke rising up from under the hood telling volunteers, “Don’t open the back! Everything I own is in the back.”

Volunteers getting emotional because they, too, are struggling with the weight of living through a massive hurricane. 

These are just a few of the scenes that played out today at Convoy of Hope’s disaster relief point of distribution at First Assembly of God in Fort Myers, Florida. More than 100 volunteers joined Convoy’s team to distribute food, water, and relief supplies to survivors of Hurricane Ian.

Volunteers made today’s event a powerful expression of kindness. From those who shared words of encouragement as they served — “We love you,” “We gotchu,” “It’s going to get better.” — to those that cheered “You made it, you survived!” and “Deus te abencoe!” (Portuguese for “God bless you”), these individuals made everyone Convoy served today feel seen and loved.

“It was an emotional day,” said Ethan Forhetz, Convoy’s National Spokesperson, who was at the event. “Everyone who was here was still reeling from the devastation. The volunteers’ ability to serve, despite their personal circumstances, was truly inspiring.”

Rosie was one of the people Convoy served today. She started crying as she saw one of her coworkers volunteering. “I was afraid to come the distribution,” she said, “… but my heart kept saying ‘Come, Rosie, come.’”

Mike, one of the youth leaders from the church, said, “Last night, I was telling my wife ‘Let’s go, anything we can do.’ We’re going to be helping out. I really do think this is what the [global] church has been needing to do. I’m so grateful you guys could be here — getting to partner with y’all.”

As the distribution came to an end, team members heard someone in the carline summarize the day perfectly: “Everything beautiful about this area is destroyed … except the spirit.”

Convoy of Hope will continue to serve survivors in Florida in the coming days and weeks. Thank you for your support as we continue to share hope with those suffering in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

October 1, 2022 | 9:37 a.m.

Convoy of Hope has begun distributing food, water, and relief supplies to those affected by Hurricane Ian. Lines of cars showed up Saturday morning to receive desperately needed essentials.

Convoy of Hope is currently distributing relief supplies in the city of Fort Myers and will expand into nearby areas as quickly as possible.

At least 30 people have died because of Hurricane Ian, 27 of which lived in Florida. As survivors struggle to put their lives back together, Convoy of Hope will continue to distribute relief.

It’s projected that some Foridians will be out of power for the coming weeks. Without power, grocery stores and other places distributing essential supplies will remain closed. Convoy is there to provide help during what is some people’s darkest hour.

Here are images of what Convoy teams witnessed as they entered the most heavily hit areas.

September 30, 2022 | 6:46 p.m.

Hurricane Ian made landfall for the last time this afternoon as a Category 1 storm in South Carolina. Currently, more than 400,000 people are without power in the area. 

Despite its comparatively low wind speeds, Ian once again brought widespread rain and flooding to an area that hasn’t seen a hurricane in six years.

In Florida, Convoy of Hope teams have arrived in the disaster zone and will be setting up for distribution soon. More images and information about those distributions will be posted as soon as they are available.

September 30, 2022 | 9:41 a.m.

State officials are saying at least 21 deaths have been caused by Hurricane Ian. And everyone who is witnessing the damage caused by the storm is saying the same thing: It will take months to recover.

Convoy of Hope is in Florida and working with local officials on the best place to set up PODs. Convoy will work with local church, civic, and nonprofit groups to distribute as much relief as possible.

At this point, more than 2 million households in Florida are without power. Fort Myers is devastated, with houses being washed away completely. Estimates for the cost of the storm are between $40 billion and $50 billion. In Cuba, where Ian hit as a Category 3 storm, 11 million people still don’t have electricity days after the hurricane made landfall.

Ian is once again a hurricane and is forecast to hit the South Carolina coast later today. It looks like it will make landfall near low-lying Charleston around 2 p.m. local time. Major flooding is a serious concern.

September 29, 2022 | 3:06 p.m.

Ian, now a tropical storm, is forecast to become a hurricane once again. After crossing the entirety of Florida, weather experts anticipate that it will gain strength over the Atlantic Ocean before making a second landfall in South Carolina. Hurricane warnings have been issued for the state’s entire coast.

Hurricane Ian Response
This aerial photo shows damaged homes and debris in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Fort Myers, Florida. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Unfortunately, a storm like Ian causing massive damage days after its original landfall is not a rare occurrence. “Just last year, the remnants of Hurricane Ida went all the way up into the Northeast,” said Convoy’s Stacy Lamb. “While Convoy was responding down south in Louisiana, we were also resourcing partners in the Northeast. So it wouldn’t be unheard of if the same thing happened again.”

Convoy is still en route to Florida. Partners in and around Fort Myers are sending word about the devastation they are experiencing. Flooding, wind damage, and debris have brought everyday life to a standstill. Once Convoy arrives in those communities, teams plan to start helping survivors immediately.

September 29, 2022 | 8:57 a.m.

Ian downgraded to a Category 3 storm as it crossed Florida last night. By early morning, it had traversed the state entirely and diminished to a tropical storm. Roughly 2.5 million residents are without power, and the enormous storm surge has kept law enforcement from rescuing those trapped in their homes.

Hurricane Ian Response
Vehicles sit in flood water at the Palm Isle apartments in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Orlando, Florida. Hurricane Ian carved a path of destruction across Florida on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Convoy of Hope’s caravan of response vehicles are en route to Florida. Once Ian is no longer a threat to the area, Convoy team members will set up points of distribution (POD) and begin assisting survivors.

Ian’s threat isn’t gone. The storm will bring strong winds, heavy rains, and storm surge to areas of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas over the coming days. Convoy of Hope will do as much as possible for as long as possible to make sure survivors have what they need.

September 28, 2022 | 3:01 p.m.

Convoy of Hope’s disaster response fleet has officially departed the World Distribution Center for Florida. Although the team still has a lengthy drive ahead of them, relief supplies are packed and ready for distribution to survivors of the storm.

Hurricane Ian is pummeling Florida with sustained winds of 150 mph. It is tied as the fifth-strongest hurricane on record to strike the United States. Electric providers have reported an estimated 800,000 customers without power so far. According to CNN, Ian could maintain hurricane strength for the next 24 hours as it barrels across Florida.

September 28, 2022 | 1:46 p.m.

As Hurricane Ian moves across central Florida, Convoy of Hope is reaching out to partners in the area to make sure they are safe and get firsthand reports on the storm. Here is an update from Russ Hurst, pastor of First Assembly of God in Fort Myers and friend of Convoy.

September 28, 2022 | 11:15 a.m.

The eyewall of Hurricane Ian is already rolling ashore near Fort Myers, Florida, several hours ahead of schedule. Numerous watches and warnings have been issued for Florida and up into South Carolina pertaining to storm surge and hurricane-force winds.

According to CNN, tidal surge is washing over roads in Lee County, Florida. Law enforcement in Sarasota, Florida, was withdrawn after the mayor deemed the sustained wind pressure too hazardous. Meanwhile, parts of Cuba sustained 5 to 8 feet of storm surge in Ian’s wake. At least two people have lost their lives.

Convoy of Hope is launching a full-scale response. Relief teams and truckloads of supplies are prepared to arrive in the hardest-hit areas as soon as it is safe to do so.

Donate to Convoy’s response to Hurricane Ian here.

September 28, 2022 | 7:23 a.m.

All of Cuba is in the dark, and Florida will face a Category 4 hurricane this evening as Hurricane Ian barrels toward the Florida coast. Convoy of Hope is responding and will deploy a relief team to the area later today.

Ian struck Cuba yesterday as a Category 3 storm. The sustained winds of 125 mph completely knocked out the country’s power grid. Eleven million people are without electricity.

Ian quickly regained strength after it passed over Cuba. At 5 a.m. this morning, Ian officially crossed the sustained-winds threshold necessary to name it a Category 4 hurricane. Its current sustained wind speed is 140 mph. To put that into perspective, the top speed of many passenger trains is 150 mph. The damage will be catastrophic.

Ian is expected to make landfall this evening near Fort Myers, Florida, and remain a Category 4 hurricane throughout that time. Storm surge could be as high as 12 feet. While Tampa Bay will narrowly avoid a direct hit, the city is still under a Hurricane Warning and will experience extremely high winds and storm surge.

Convoy trucks, response vehicles, and disaster response personnel are making final preparations for their departure to Florida. Volunteers have packed thousands of pounds of relief supplies ahead of time, making a quick departure possible. Once teams are en route, they will pre-position themselves in a safe zone outside the storm’s path and wait until it is safe to proceed. Once the storm has passed, they will immediately move in and begin assisting survivors.

September 27, 2022 | 9:27 a.m.

Hurricane Ian plowed into Cuba early this morning as a major Category 3 hurricane. The almost-certain forecast is that the storm will continue to grow before making landfall near Tampa Bay late Wednesday or early Thursday.

The last major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. was last year’s Hurricane Ida (Category 4). The last major hurricane to make landfall specifically in Florida was Category 5 Hurricane Michael in 2018.

Convoy of Hope responded in full force to both storms and continues to do the same for Hurricane Ian. Convoy teams and volunteers have bagged and loaded thousands of pounds of relief supplies, which are ready to depart for Florida as soon as it is safe to do so.

Hurricane Ian Response

NOAA is predicting life-threatening storm surge, flash flooding, mudslides, and devastating wind damage in Cuba today. Florida will begin to see the first signs of the storm by late today. Dangerous storm surge and hurricane-force winds could arrive by Wednesday morning. 

As Ian approaches, more than 8 million people in Florida will be subjected to forceful winds of 74 mph or greater. Nearly 7 million people — those residing between Fort Myers and Clearwater, which includes Tampa Bay — are in immediate danger of experiencing 5 to 10 feet of storm surge.

September 26, 2022 | 4:34 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center is expecting Hurricane Ian to remain a major hurricane — with potential wind speeds of 140 mph — as it approaches Florida on Wednesday evening.

Ian is on course to strike western Cuba, possibly as a major hurricane. When it enters the eastern Gulf of Mexico, those living anywhere along Florida’s coast are at risk. Parts of Tampa Bay could see tide levels 5 to 8 feet higher than normal. The last time Tampa Bay was hit by a storm this size was more than 100 years ago.

“The current forecasts have Hurricane Ian hitting the Florida coast sometime late Wednesday, early Thursday,” said Convoy of Hope’s Stacy Lamb. “One of the things we’re hearing from Florida management officials is that this is going to be a very widespread flooding event. With that, we know the need for cleanup supplies is going to be big.”

Convoy of Hope is preparing its response to Ian by pre-bagging groceries and readying response vehicles. Ian will be Convoy’s first U.S. hurricane response of 2022. Check back here for more updates.

September 24, 2022 | 5:25 p.m.

Tropical Storm Ian is forecast to become a major Category 4 hurricane as it crosses the Caribbean Sea. Weather experts expect Ian to eventually slam into Florida and the southeast Gulf of Mexico later this week. 

Convoy of Hope is already preparing its response. Volunteers are scheduled to bag groceries ahead of deployment, and teams are preparing response vehicles and supplies. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) anticipates that Tropical Storm Ian will become a hurricane early Monday morning and a major hurricane by the same time on Tuesday. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has already declared a state of emergency for numerous counties. 

If Ian grows as expected, Cuba could be hit with 110 mph winds. Florida could experience winds of 130 mph. And while high wind speed can cause significant damage, most of the deaths and damage attributed to hurricanes are due to storm surge and flooding

Hurricane Season Speeds Up

This year’s Atlantic hurricane season has been uncharacteristically slow. There were no named storms in the month of August, which hasn’t happened since 1997. Tropical Storm Danielle, which formed on September 1, was the first named storm since early July. It was also this year’s first official hurricane. 

However, a late start does not mean that storms will not develop at all. Tropical Storm Ian comes directly on the heels of Hurricane Fiona, which inundated Puerto Rico with up to 30 inches of rain on parts of the island. Read more about Convoy’s response to Hurricane Fiona here

About Convoy’s Disaster Services

Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team is consistently among the first to respond to disasters at home and around the world. This team is highly regarded for its scalable response and distribution model, which utilizes several warehouses, a specialized disaster response fleet, and a highly trained team of staff and volunteers to respond to disasters quickly and effectively.


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