Hurricane Ian uproots Dali Museum’s Wish Tree
Yet another casualty of Hurricane Ian.

The museum's staff and artwork are all safe.

The St. Petersburg Dali Museum’s beloved Wish Tree has fallen victim to the powerful winds brought by Hurricane Ian on Wednesday.

The tree, woven with over 20,000 handwritten wishes, has stood in the museum’s Avant-garden for nearly 11 years. The tree holds wishes among visitors of the museum, written by guests on wristbands tied to the branches.

Although Hurricane Ian was the ultimate force behind the tree’s uprooting, the museum had already been planning on replacing it, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Hurricane Irma also took its toll on the tree in 2017, leaving it reliant on support crutches and anchors.

While mother nature took back the tree, the museum’s staff and artwork are all safe.

The Wish Tree joined numerous other downed trees reported this morning by St. Petersburg officials, who have been working to clear debris and restore power throughout the day. The city is asking residents to stay off the roads as crews clear power lines and trees and until power is restored to traffic signals.

Hurricane Ian rapidly intensified and made landfall on Florida’s Southwest coast as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday, pummeling areas just south of Tampa Bay. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor told reporters Wednesday morning she spoke with Mayors of Fort Myers, Sarasota, Punta Gorda and Naples to offer resources for communities impacted by the storm, which was previously expected to directly hit the Tampa Bay area earlier this week.

Damaging winds and rain lashed the state’s heavily populated Gulf Coast, with the Naples to Sarasota region at “highest risk” of a devastating storm surge. But the storm continued to impact Central Florida overnight, maintaining hurricane strength most of the way as it crossed the state.

U.S. Air Force hurricane hunters confirmed Ian gained strength over warm Gulf of Mexico water after battering Cuba, bringing down the country’s electricity grid and leaving the entire island without power. Ian was centered about 65 miles (105 kilometers) west-southwest of Naples at 7 a.m., swirling toward the coast at 10 mph.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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