After wreaking havoc on Naples, Fort Meyers, and other cities on Florida’s west coast Wednesday evening, Hurricane Ian tore a path of destruction across the state on its way to Orlando Thursday. The Category 4 storm weakened to a tropical storm early Thursday. However, forecasters predict the historic natural disaster will strengthen into a hurricane as it heads northeast toward South Carolina. Before leaving off devastating FL entirely though, Hurricane Ian also completely decimated a Jurrasic Park ride in Universal Orlando.
Overall, Hurricane Ian didn’t exactly sink FL’s east coast Thursday like it did its west coast on Wednesday. Nevertheless, a video from the New York Post shows the current tropical storm still managed to tear a “hole” in the side of one of the Jurassic theme park’s attractions.
According to the outlet, the affected attraction is Universal’s Jurassic Park River Adventure ride. Photos better capture the destruction, showing entire pieces of the attraction’s walls gone thanks to Hurricane Ian’s stinging winds.
Fortunately, Disney World and Orlando Universal were proactive about Hurricane Ian’s approach. Both parks closed their attractions on Tuesday as the hurricane nearly achieved Category 5 conditions. Still, both parks’ hotels and resorts are at or near full capacity, with officials insisting occupants shelter in place. Taking to Twitter Wednesday, Universal said, “Our hotels will remain operational as they focus on taking care of our guests.”
Orlando Universal represents just one of the numerous locations across Orange County that have been affected by the extreme weather conditions brought on by Hurricane Ian. In another region of Orange County, first responders evacuated residents of an Avante nursing home as floodwaters deepened.
Coast Guard Kept Busy as Rescues Ensue in Aftermath of Hurricane Ian
First responders knew that before Hurricane Ian even impacted FL’s west coast that maritime and roof rescues would be abundant. However, after the storm lightened up enough early Thursday morning to allow rescue crews to deploy, active Coast Guard members in the region had already been called out on 28 maritime and roof rescues.
Most of the major rescues performed early Thursday occurred between Fort Meyers and St. Petersburg. Addressing the ongoing rescues into Thursday afternoon, Rear Adm. Brendan McPherson spoke out about what rescue teams have seen so far.
“Right now,” he said at the time of his statement, “we’re responding to a distress call in Lakeland, Florida, which is between St. Petersburg and Orlando…they’ve had a lot of rain and flooding in that area. We’ve sent a helicopter up there to respond to a report of six people on a roof that need rescuing.”
Footage from one of the Coast Guard’s rescue crafts shows that, while the storm has moved on in certain ways, dense cloud cover and murky conditions drastically hinder vision. The footage also takes in waterlogged streets winding through a lashed FL neighborhood.