After Hurricane Ian, a low-lying Florida city starts to rebuild. Should it?
A week after Hurricane Ian destroyed many homes in St. Petersburg, the city slowly starts to rebuild.
When Hurricane Michelle hit St. Petersburg last January, the city was still trying to make sense of it all. In less than nine months, the area had already seen three devastating storms.
The death count from the year before, when Michelle hit, had been 58 before the second storm even hit, and 30 after. The city’s population was nearly 2,100 and its infrastructure was already in serious disrepair.
Now, a week after Hurricane Ian struck Friday night, a local newspaper editor and photographer is on the ground in St. Petersburg to document what’s been seen and heard so far.
And he’s not alone. There’s been hundreds of local residents — from the city itself down to the county level — willing to share stories, thoughts and photos to help tell the story of an area now in the midst of a rebuilding process.
“It’s like walking through a house that has been hit by a hurricane,” said Mike Lichtman, a reporter for The St. Petersburg Times who has been in the city all week.
But for now, he said, “just staying inside.”
‘It’s almost like walking through a house that has been hit by a hurricane’
The first sign that St. Pete had hit something of a rough spot came in October when three different storms — Michelle, Ian and then a nor’easter that also hit up on October 19 — caused the city to evacuate more than 3,000 residents, or roughly a quarter of it’s population.
For now, the city is still waiting on the city manager to approve a list of projects that will move forward. Lichtman said that’s important because it’s the first step in building back up.
Meanwhile, the city is starting to see the work begin to restore things to normalcy.
“It’s almost like walking through a house that