Beach Evacuates as Irma Approaches

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Update #4  September 8, 2017, 1pm

Fort Myers Beach is under a mandatory evacuation order as of this morning just as the projected storm track shifted even further west toward Lee County. Lee County announced mandatory evacuations for all barrier islands and all mobile/manufactured homes at 9am Friday, September 8, 2017. They also opened several shelters.

Mandatory evacuations mean that public safety officials believe it is unsafe to stay. No one will be forced to leave. However, all emergency services – fire, sheriff & ambulance – will be suspended when the wind speed reaches 30-40mph according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO)

Open shelters as of noon Friday include:

-South Fort Myers High School, 14020 Plantation Rd, Fort Myers

-Estero Rec Center, 9200 Corkscrew Palms Rd, Estero

-Oak Hammock Middle School, 5321 Tice St., Fort Myers

-Island Coast High School, 2125 DeNavarra Parkway, Cape Coral

-Varsity Lakes HS, 801 Gunnery Rd, North, Lehigh Acres

-Harns Marsh Elementary, 1800 Unice Ave. North, Lehigh Acres

-East Lee County HS, 715 Thomas Sherwin, Ave, Lehigh Acres

East Lee County HS and South Fort Myers HS are the primary pet-friendly shelters, but all shelters have some pet capacity.

Those going to shelters should bring their own supplies, bedding and food. Those in shelters are free to come and go as long as weather conditions make it safe to do so. Weapons, smoking and alcoholic beverages are prohibited at all shelters.

Bridges are generally considered unsafe to travel once sustained wind speeds reach 40mph.

LeeTran busses and trolleys will transport people to open evacuation shelters. All fares are suspended. To be transported to a shelter, board the bus at any stop, and exit at a designated Shelter Transfer location. From the Shelter Transfer location, another dedicated bus will take passengers to the closest open evacuation shelter. Regular bus service will continue to run until wind speeds reach 30mph.

Warnings & Watches

A Storm Surge Warning and Hurricane Watch now include Fort Myers Beach. A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours. This is a life-threatening situation. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and follow evacuation instructions.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

Trash Collection

Trash, yard waste and recycling collections will be suspended after Friday collections. Nothing should be at the curb after Friday afternoon.

Sand Bags

As of 1pm Friday, there was sand available at Town Hall. Bring your own bags and shovel. Plastic grocery store bags work well, as do trash bags.

Island Re-Entry

Once it is safe for public safety teams to be outside, an initial assessment of the island by Fire Chief Matthew Love, Town Manager Roger Hernstadt and Mayor Boback will take place to determine safe re-entry. Once completed, only Island residents and business owners will be able to return to inspect their property. Anyone wishing to re-enter the town MUST have a Town-issued Re-Entry Pass.

Boil Water Notice

If, during or after a storm, the water system loses power and pressure, a precautionary boil water notice will be issued. Under a boil water notice, water used for consumption can be disinfected by any one of the following methods: 1) Bring water to a rolling boil for one minute; 2) Use unscented bleach – put 8 drops (1/8 teaspoon) into a gallon of tap water, shake and let stand of 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy, use 16 drops (1/4 teaspoon) and let stand for 30 minutes. There should be a slight chlorine odor; 3) use water purification tablets or iodine and follow instructions. Bottled water for consumption is also an option.

Consumption includes teeth brushing, washing foods and making ice. Tap water may be used for bathing, shaving and washing. Contact FMB Water at 239-274-2200 for more information.

 Flood Water Safety

The Department of Health/Lee County urges all residents and visitors to avoid floodwater. Do not swim or wade in floodwater. Floodwater may contain fecal matter from sewage systems, lawn run off and septic tanks as well as other contaminants. Wash well after coming in contact with floodwater. Keep any open sore covered and see a doctor if redness develops.

Sanibel has suspended all liquor sales as of 9am Friday. Cape Coral announced that it is suspending the sale of alcohol, with the exception of beer, as of 2am Saturday morning. There is no ban on liquor sales on Fort Myers Beach.

Helpful Links

Lee Emergency app:  LeeAlert app

Red Cross app

Emergency Operations Center: www.LeeEOC.com

Town of Fort Myers Beach:  www.fmbgov.com

Florida Power & Light: www.fpl.com

FEMA:  www.fema.gov

United Way Help Line: Dial 211 on your phone

Florida Emergency Management: www.FloridaDisaster.org

Island Sand Paper: FortMyersBeach.news

 

Missy Layfield