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Gulf of Mexico rose 15 feet in southwest Florida during Ian

The Gulf of Mexico rose 15 feet in part of Florida as Ian drowned residents, carried away cars and left a trail of rubble, analysis finds

Preliminary analysis of Hurricane Ian’s deadly storm surge suggests the Gulf of Mexico pushed as high as 15 feet above the normally dry ground on Fort Myers Beach, Florida, as it made landfall, the National Hurricane Center said Thursday.

That’s the peak estimate reported by a team of experts with the National Weather Service and other agencies who searched flooded homes and structures in the devastated area for high water marks this week.

The 10-15 feet peak high water levels at Fort Myers Beach puts Ian among some of the higher storm surges in history in the Atlantic basin but well below peak water levels reported in some of the most legendary storms on the northern Gulf Coast.

“Pictures don’t do the destruction justice,” tweeted Jeffry Evans, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service field office in Houston, also a member of the survey team. “Complete and deadly inundation of the island.”