An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Seminole County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

How Hurricane Ian swamped Florida rivers: Before-and-after photos show record floods

State water managers are now grappling with widespread, unprecedented flooding after the powerful storm.

“A 500-year flood event.”

That’s how scientists and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are referring to the record amount of water left stirring in Hurricane Ian’s wake.

A look at new satellite imagery before and after the storm shows why: Rivers, lakes and streams on both sides of the state were overflowing after the historic hurricane, with some areas seeing up to 20 inches of rain in just one day.

Now, state water managers tasked with overseeing water resources for millions of Floridians are facing the aftermath of unprecedented flooding. Some of the state’s most iconic rivers — and the communities surrounding them — were inundated: The Peace River in Arcadia, the St. Johns River on the Atlantic Coast and the Kissimmee River feeding into Lake Okeechobee.

“Hurricane Ian’s intense flooding across Florida is indicative of what we’ll see more of in the future,” said Ken Graham, director of the National Weather Service, in a statement.

“Climate change is fueling more intense rainfall at the coast and inland, and with sea level rise, higher storm surge associated with hurricanes and tropical storms,” Graham said.

Visit the link below to see before-and-after aerial imagery showing the extent of flooding in the storm's wake.