Florida businesses close as Hurricane Ian strengthens to Category 4 storm

Yahoo Finance Live anchors discuss the impact of Hurricane Ian on Florida businesses.

Video Transcript


BRIAN SOZZI: Let's stay on another story here. Hurricane Ian is bearing down on Southwest Florida, now strengthened into what the National Hurricane Center is calling an extremely dangerous category 4 storm. A large part of Florida's Gulf Coast is in harm's way after the storm already knocked out Cuba's power grid. Many attractions and businesses in the state have announced closures.

And a couple of those companies, just public companies, have announced closures. Of course, Disney. You've also had the cruise lines, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line, those shares are getting hit or were getting hit in the pre-market. But they have announced cancellations of tours for them as well, so of course, this is having ripple effect as well.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, if you look at the various industries this affects-- and by the way, this is a live picture of what we're seeing at one spot in Tampa. The forecast did change a little bit as of 5:00 AM this morning. Initially, it was supposed to be a direct hit to Tampa. Now it's supposed to go southward of that. So the damage estimates are changing a little bit. The latest damage estimate I saw was about $45 billion in damage. That's according to NP Research and a disaster modeler there.

But if you look across the sectors that this could affect, it's a lot of different sectors, right? You think about the citrus industry in Florida, where most of the citrus groves are in the South of the state. Natural gas platform, Chevron is among those that has already shut production out in the Gulf of Mexico.

Fertilizer-- I didn't realize this-- Mosaic, a major fertilizer producer, a lot of its phosphate production is in the state of Florida. Travel and tourism obviously from cruise lines to hotels to airlines. Restaurants as well that have to shut down, and then utilities as well, power companies that get things disrupted.

BRAD SMITH: Yeah, one of the power companies there, Florida Power and Light actually the biggest operator, largest power utility in Florida. It's operated by Next Era Energy, ticker symbol NEE. And that's been down over the past couple of days as we've been tracking what's playing out in the region. And I've also been tracking some of the updates that Florida Power and Light are putting out because these are really just some of the outer bands that are starting to hit the region.

And so they are continuing to post some of the updates, the feeder bands, I should clarify, that are hitting the region. And then also, you think about some of the pharmacy care companies, too. Walgreens has been posting some updates also, taking some of their proactive measures to offer more of the prescription drug preparedness in this time, where they know there are going to be some closures and outages for customers that need their subscription-- or their prescriptions the most right now, too.

BRIAN SOZZI: And just another little fun fact here-- or sad fact, if you think about it-- CoreLogic saying that Hurricane Ian can threaten as many as 1.1 million single family multifamily homes along the Florida Gulf Coast. Could lead to almost $260 billion in rebuilding demand. So of course, you want to think about Home Depot and Lowe's. Home Depot, biggest home improvement retailer in Florida. 156 stores, Lowe's is about 125, 126 stores.

JULIE HYMAN: I mean, think about how often we've had this conversation over the past several years. And they keep rebuilding in these areas that keep getting hit. So obviously, this is a function, in part, of climate change. You've got warmer seas. You've got stronger storms. And particular the risk with a storm of the Gulf of Mexico is that you get storm surges that are more severe. When you have a storm over the Atlantic, the ocean is deeper. It sucks up some of the power. The water has a place to go that's not just on land.

BRIAN SOZZI: Long Island's safe, though, right?

JULIE HYMAN: And Gulf of Mexico.


JULIE HYMAN: For right now. For right now. You never know when the next one--

BRIAN SOZZI: OK. Good thing I'm on the second story.

JULIE HYMAN: --when the next ones come in there. I've checked in with my relatives in Naples and Tampa. They still have power and they're still doing OK.

BRIAN SOZZI: I gotta call my dad.

JULIE HYMAN: Thankfully.

BRAD SMITH: Yeah, place those calls, folks. And don't go out there taking selfie sticks out there like we saw.

JULIE HYMAN: Oh, my gosh.

BRIAN SOZZI: No, come on. No.

BRAD SMITH: We just saw that on screen a moment ago. Yes, there was a person holding up a selfie-- oh, I appreciate that. But yeah, be safe out--