Hurricane Ian: Snook Inn, dome homes destroyed on Marco Island, reports say

Two icons of the Marco Island region did not survive Hurricane Ian, reports say.

The Snook Inn said Friday on its Instagram that the powerful storm destroyed the dome homes off the island. "The iconic dome homes at Cape Romano sadly didn’t make it through this storm. If you were lucky enough to visit while they were still standing share your pics and be sure to tag us," the restaurant said.

The Snook Inn on Marco Island reports damages

As for The Snook Inn, the restaurant did not confirm it was destroyed, saying:

"Yes, there was damage but we will come back stronger."

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TV journalist Ryan Clarke Arbogast reported on Twitter that the Snook Inn was gone and provided photos.

Hurricane Ian roared along the Gulf coast of Florida on Wednesday, causing storm surges, flooding, and leaving a wide swath of destruction.

This waterfront restaurant along the Marco River had been a landmark for more than 30 years. Diners have traveled to the place by car and boat, with a laid-back atmosphere and a prime spot for savoring sunsets and watching dolphins.

Whether you come by boat or car, Snook Inn's tables are seat-yourself. An upstairs observation deck serves as a waiting area, as well as a prime spot to catch the sunset and watch dolphins at play.

Views from the observation deck at Snook Inn on Marco Island.

Hurricane Ian destroys Cape Romano dome homes

And just off Cape Romano Island and south of Marco Island, the dome homes endured for 40 years. Built in 1982 by a retired oil producer, Bob Lee, the homes survived the battering from Gulf of Mexico storms for decades.

Initial damage began in 1992, when Hurricane Andrew slammed into South Florida and tore a path west across the southern part of the peninsula that includes the Everglades.

They made it through Hurricane Charley in 2005, Wilma a year later — when it actually made U.S. landfall at Cape Romano — and Irma in 2017.

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News-Press environmental journalist Chad Gillis a week ago wrote about the dome homes, interviewing a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for his take on the unique aquatic structures.

Mark Danaher said islands from Cape Romano and to the south and east are more impacted by winds, tides and even tropical storms and hurricanes.

"An important thing to keep in mind is that barrier islands are dynamic environments, and most in the Ten Thousand Islands (with the exception of those built up by Calusa Native Americans) are only usually a few feet above sea level," Danaher told Gills in the Sept. 23 piece in The News-Press.

"They have and will always change as they are highly dependent upon and impacted by wave energy, winds, tides and currents, and most importantly, storms."

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Gillis was prophetic in summing up the dome homes in his article, when he wrote how large, powerful hurricanes like Irma are expected to become more common in the future, meteorologists say, as the planet, overall, continues to warm.

"More heat means more energy to whip mild hurricanes into massive ones," he wrote.

"So the shifting sands of the Ten Thousand Islands will continue to move in the future; that movement will be exacerbated by higher sea levels and stronger storms.

"For now, the sand is washing away from some areas and building in others."

This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: Dome homes near Marco Island, Florida did not survive Hurricane Ian