Punta Gorda residents waiting for relief after Hurricane Ian rips through city

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. – With many people in the Florida Gulf Coast area still without power, residents in Punta Gorda were working to rebuild the city after homes were badly damaged and boats were pushed by the storm surge of Hurricane Ian.

On Friday, Local 10′s Jenise Fernandez spoke with Charlotte County resident Nicki Allen who says she’s been trying to contact FEMA after having her roof blown off.

Allen said she tried calling FEMA but was told the wait time was 118 minutes.

“Nobody’s coming around to say anything,” said Allen. “Unless you have a battery radio, that’s the only way you can hear anything.”

Local 10 spotted a seawall in Punta Gorda that was ripped off from the eye of the hurricane and hanging by a thread in Punta Gorda.

“The back side came through the wall -- it made the front side look like it was nothing,” said one resident. “I figured about 130 to 140 mph winds when it impacted on the other side of the house, when it came through here.”

Since the power has not been restored in many areas in Collier County, city officials have set a curfew for midnight and it will remain in place until power is restored completely. Curfew in Charlotte County takes effect at 9 p.m.

Insurance adjusters are already making rounds on the damages to the homes but neighbors in Collier County are working to help each other through the aftermath of the storm.

Law enforcement agencies in Miami-Dade County announced that they are heading to Punta Gorda to help the victims of Hurricane Ian in any way they can, and that includes a team from the Homestead Police Department, which left Friday morning.

The team is taking ATVs and other equipment with them, and is also bringing along two K9s to help with the search and rescue operations.


About the Authors:

Jenise Fernandez joined the Local 10 News team in November 2014. She is thrilled to be back home reporting for the station she grew up watching. Jenise, who is from Miami and graduated from Florida International University, also interned at Local 10 while she was in college.

Ryan Mackey is our newest digital journalist at WPLG. He is New York born and South Florida raised.