Mother shares videos of Ian’s storm surge after staying in apartment near Naples beach

Mother holding her toddler says staying near the beach on second-floor apartment as storm surge took over her neighborhood was "horrible." She shares videos.

NAPLES, Fla. – Hurricane Ian’s storm surge in Naples was so high a mother who was with her son, as her police officer husband worked, was prepared to break into a third-floor laundry room in her apartment building.

Katie Harmling didn’t have to evacuate her second-floor apartment, or her building, which she said had endured other hurricanes before, so she wasn’t too concerned about the 140 mph winds.

Harmling held Michael, her toddler, on Thursday as she inspected the eroded beach she has visited regularly for nearly 13 years near Gulfshore Boulevard. She was still shaken up.

“It was horrible. Now I am getting all choked up ... It was scary. It was terrifying. The water got up to about 10 feet. I saw cars floating down the street,” Harmling said.

There was extensive property damage in areas of Naples, south of where the Category 4 hurricane made landfall. Harmling said all of the first-floor apartments in her area suffered damage.

“Their beds are overturned. Their fridges are overturned ... it’s terrible. It’s absolutely terrible,” Harmling said.

Officials reported the hurricane’s 20-foot waves from the Gulf of Mexico destroyed the historic Naples Pier. The Naples Airport remained closed to the public.

Without working traffic lights, police officers asked drivers to treat intersections as four-way stop signs. The storm’s destruction disrupted communications, electricity, water supply, and other services.

Workers were setting up temporary cell phone towers and crews were working to restore power in the area. Naples remains under a citywide 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

COLLIER COUNTY NOTICES

  • The water division issued a boil-water order.
  • The public utility department asked residents to keep storm debris separate from regular household garbage.
  • The sheriff’s office reported the inability to respond to every 911 call will improve due to mutual aid units. Deputies prioritized life-threatening medical emergencies in deep water.
  • The Collier Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization, was asking for donations.

This is a developing story.

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Local 10 News Reporter Andrew Perez contributed to this report from Naples. Torres contributed to this report from Miami.


About the Authors:

Reporter Rosh Lowe has been covering news for nearly two decades in South Florida. He joined Local 10 in 2021.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.