How Bakers Are Navigating The Havoc Caused By Hurricane Ian

When Hurricane Ian struck Florida head-on last Wednesday, it made history as one of the most catastrophic hurricanes to ever hit the U.S. (per The Washington Post). The storm landed as Category 4, which, according to the National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center is the second highest a hurricane can be ranked in terms of destructive power. And the 150 mph sustained winds Hurricane Ian produced at landfall has put it in a tie with eight other hurricanes for the fifth most powerful storm to hit the U.S. in terms of sustained wind power.

Reuters reported that 83 deaths across Florida and the Carolinas have been caused by Hurricane Ian, a count that could increase as the event continues. The outlet noted the number of residents affected by the storm that have been rescued from destroyed homes is in the hundreds, and the process of rebuilding the cities hit by the hurricane is expected to cost "tens of billions of dollars."

With these harrowing numbers in mind, countless people affected by Hurricane Ian are now starting to look towards rebuilding the lives the storm uprooted from them. And bakers, as well as the food industry in general, are among those who are working to navigate the aftermath of this historic disaster. A tale of building community and overcoming obstacles, here's how bakeries are tackling the destruction of Hurricane Ian head-on.

Inside and outside of the disaster zone, bakers across the U.S. are facing new challenges

"We lost everything in our kitchen, all of our refrigeration, so we'll definitely be at least a month before we're able to reopen," Martina Smith, the owner of Marco Island, Florida, restaurant and bakery Smith House told Naples Daily News. Smith reported that when she returned to her restaurant she found the building had sustained extensive flood and wind damage. But that has not stopped Smith from hoping to get her bakery and her other business, a hotel called Boardroom Tavern, running again as soon as possible. As Smith noted, she felt positive about cleaning up and reopening her companies due to feeling many others had to deal with much worse damage.

However, even bakers outside of the storm-damaged areas are having to overcome challenges presented by Hurricane Ian's destruction. As reported by Baking Business, companies like Flowers Food, Inc. have been facing delivery setbacks. At the moment, drivers are unable to deliver baked goods to certain Florida locations due to the dangers flood waters pose to their trucks. The outlet also noted several companies are working on figuring out the best way to manage their businesses amidst Florida's power outages and damaged cell phone towers.

One Florida bakery is helping where it can

Bakers and non-bakers alike have been faced with unprecedented tragedy in the wake of Hurricane Ian. However, Honeycomb Bread Bakers, a bakery based in Winter Haven, Florida, is still set on bringing comfort to its community in its time of need. Although one of the walls of the bakery's building endured significant storm damage, the business made a post on Facebook declaring that it would be open to serve hot breakfast, coffee, and lunch to customers a mere two days after Hurricane Ian hit.

The small, local bakery had even prepared to provide support to its town before the storm. Honeycomb Bread Bakers revealed on Facebook they'd be giving out filtered water to their community. And after the hurricane passed, they continued to provide customers with filtered water, and offered residents the chance to charge their phones and order a convenient, warm meal, making Honeycomb Bread Bakers a sanctuary in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian for residents who are unsure of what the future holds.