Investigation of Geotechnical Impacts in Response to 2022 Hurricane Ian

Elliot Nichols, Aaron Gallant, Saba Molaei, Danrong Zhang, Tugce Baser, David Frost

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian made landfall near the city of Fort Myers, Florida, as a category 4 hurricane, which brought sustained winds of 150 mph, observed storm surge heights of up to 12 ft, and rainfall totals up to 20 in. Coastal communities around Fort Myers were the most heavily impacted, including 148 deaths and an estimated 113 billion dollars’ worth of damage. The inflation-adjusted economic impact is projected to make Hurricane Ian the third most costly hurricane in United States history. Three weeks after the storm impact, from October 18 to 22, a five-member NSF-sponsored Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association team was deployed to Fort Myers and the surrounding areas to study the geotechnical impacts resulting from Hurricane Ian. Primary technologies used to study impacts included a terrestrial light detection and ranging (LiDAR) system, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), soil sampling equipment, and mobile phone cameras. Additionally, two team members returned during November 29–30 to study the recovery progress and implement a multispectral imaging workflow to further investigate impacted structures. Primary surveyed locations include the city of Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Pine Island, Port Charlotte, and the Peace and Caloosahatchee Rivers. Primary observations include a rail bridge failure, sea wall failures, varying degrees of foundation performance, and high degrees of scour and erosion along coastal sites. This GEER deployment allowed for rapid and high-fidelity data collection on impacts related to geotechnical assets following a major hurricane. The dataset and subsequent GEER report from this deployment will allow for improved study of hydraulic and erosional processes related to soil-structure interactions, which will in time improve flood and storm design practices in coastal communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeotechnical Special Publication
EditorsT. Matthew Evans, Nina Stark, Susan Chang
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers
Number of pages9
EditionGSP 353
ISBN (Electronic)9780784485309, 9780784485316, 9780784485323, 9780784485330, 9780784485347, 9780784485354
StatePublished - 2024
EventGeo-Congress 2024: Geotechnical Systems - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: Feb 25 2024Feb 28 2024

Publication series

NameGeotechnical Special Publication
NumberGSP 353
ISSN (Print)0895-0563


ConferenceGeo-Congress 2024: Geotechnical Systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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