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How One Florida City Stayed Standing Even Through the Worst of Hurricane Ian

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Resilient Construction

How One Florida City Stayed Standing Even Through the Worst of Hurricane Ian

Punta Gorda was hit hard by triple-digit wind gusts and devastating flooding when Hurricane Ian made landfall last week, but most of its updated infrastructure remains intact


October 3, 2022
Punta Gorda coastline at sunset
Image: Stock.adobe.com

When Hurricane Ian reached the coastline of Punta Gorda on Wednesday, it pummeled the surrounding area with a torrential downpour, inland flooding, and wind gusts reaching 135 miles per hour. But despite Ian’s ferocity, Punta Gorda’s infrastructure remained largely intact. The resilience of Punta Gorda’s homes is likely thanks to updated building codes ensuring that newly constructed houses are better equipped to handle extreme weather than older homes, The Washington Post reports.

After the destruction of Hurricane Charley in 2004, Punta Gorda homes were reconstructed to modernized building codes that were improved again in 2007, and the majority of those updated properties were still standing even as Hurricane Ian destroyed many others in its wake. 

“Charley was almost like a spring cleaning event,” said Joe Schortz, a resident of Punta Gorda and owner of a local construction and remodeling business. “Charley destroyed a lot of the older homes with the winds.”

Many of the homes and buildings were reconstructed to modernized building codes that were improved again in 2007, Schortz said. And in the aftermath of Ian, the buildings left still standing seemed to have at least one thing in common, he said: “Everything with a 2007 code and beyond pretty much was fine.”

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