We still don’t know the full extent of the damage that Ian caused as it swept through Florida, but it is extensive.

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — A hurricane Ian was over southwest Florida for just a few hours.

It will take months to repair all the damage. Maybe longer. And some destruction cannot be cleaned at all.

From trees uprooting to signs being ripped off, traffic lights crashing into the roadway and some buildings just collapsing, the impact was everywhere and almost nothing was spared. The only difference between one place and the next was seriousness from problems.

“We’re going to get through this,” said Vice Mayor Richard Johnson of Sanibel, Florida. “And we’ll come out the other side better than we came in.”

Maybe, but it’s going to be a massive task, from the cosmetic to the essential and everything in between.

Fort Myers Beach is just devastated. Businesses have disappeared. The job is obviously lost, at least temporarily. The cleanup will take several weeks and will almost certainly precede any recovery efforts.

“All of our staff are safe and although the restaurant sustained incredible damage, the structure of the building is intact,” the owner of Nervous Nellie’s, a beachfront seafood restaurant, said in a statement. “We hope to work our way through this and come back stronger than ever.”

Around the region — Naples, Fort Myers, Sanibel — the extent of the damage cannot be ignored. Along US 41, the region’s main thoroughfare, countless signs outside businesses are damaged, torn or simply gone. The steel poles that hold the street signs in the ground are bent back, no match for the wind and the power of Yan. The doors in the garages of the storage rooms were wrenched open, causing items in some rooms to fly into the air. Most of the traffic lights are not working, in some cases the wires are hanging down to the road.

And in one case, a metal road sign directing drivers toward Interstate 75 was smashed by an electronic road sign warning drivers of a lane closure.

“I’ve seen some things,” said Clark Manchin, construction project manager, assessing the mess. “I’ve never seen that.”

Patience quickly ran out. A 7-Eleven employee asked people who filled her store: No $20, please. Only small bills. “When my shift is over, we have to close,” she pleaded. There was no gas, no hot food, no coffee, no bathrooms as there was no running water.

“I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have,” said Mark Crowe of Naples. “I didn’t stock up. I didn’t sit down. It’s a mess, man. That’s bad.”

Most of the damage was just cosmetic, thankfully. The 150-foot (50-meter) high, 250-yard (220-meter) deep netting covering Fort Myers’ Top Golf Club was ripped open as it swayed in the afternoon wind, not far from where a severed American flag remained on top . pillar in the office complex. At Florida Gulf Coast University, the bleachers — once on the sideline of the football field — moved half the field and broke one of the field goals.

Other injuries were much worse. At an RV park in Fort Myers, the wreckage of a wrecked golf cart floated in deep standing water Thursday, long after the storm had passed. Downed power lines and collapsed poles to which they were attached blocked the entrance. And down the street was a barn style building. Its walls collapsed, the roof was pressed to the ground by a split beam.

Damage assessment and cleanup are just beginning.

“We have to be patient,” said Sanibel Councilman John Henshaw. – We have to start looking for where we are going to stay and live for a significant period of time. I don’t know exactly what it is. We will know more as we go through this process.”