Hurricane Irma officially made landfall at Marco Island near Naples at 3:35 p.m. Sunday afternoon, Sept. 10. Irma’s eye quickly fell apart and the storm weakened to category 2 by the time it reached Lee County. Fort Myers & Cape Coral has down trees and branches but was not impacted directly of a well-formed eye wall.
Lee County did not see the catastrophic storm surge that officials were bracing for.
“We were blessed,” Emergency Management Director Lee Mayfield said in a morning news briefing. “The wind was destructive but that 15 feet of storm surge would have been catastrophic.”
Emergency management started assessing the damage early Monday and officials will have a better idea about specific neighborhoods later this afternoon. But there is considerable damage – property damage, flooding from rainfall, and trees and power lines are down.
There’s no power or running water at this time on Pine Island. The Circle K was closed for gas and the Winn-Dixie was closed for food. Most of Matlacha kept its power, however.
The Lee County Department of Transportation announced Matlacha Bridge to Pine Island has been checked and is clear for motorists to cross.
And the big things – lives and homes – were mostly intact.
Southwest Florida International Airport
Outside of tree damage, Southwest Florida International Airport held up well to Hurricane Irma.
A number of palm trees ended up being casualties as well as trees on Ben Hill Griffin Boulevard, which turned into the airport.
Cape Coral’s Callan Reinke, whose husband John works at the airport, were invited with other employees to stay.
“It’s been wonderful, really great,” she said. “A shelter with a Starbucks. We had lattes and bacon, gouda sandwiches. Very cool, very nice.”
Reinke, who has multiple sclerosis, said the bathrooms were clean and all people who stayed at the hotel formed a “real sense of community.
“Everyone has been good and the leaders have gone out of their way to make us feel good,” she said. “Sunday was crazy. Things were flying. The weather was really bad but there was no hysteria.
Cape Coral Update
Cape Coral emergency services have resumed and are operating normally.
There is also no city-wide boil water notice in Cape Coral.
Midpoint Bridge and Cape Coral Bridge are cleared for traffic.
Fort Myers Beach
Fort Myers Beach residents have been told by Town of Fort Myers Beach officials they can return at noon.
Sanibel & Captiva Island
Sanibel & Captiva survived the storm without structural damage of any significance. Sanibel Causeway Re-Opens at 3 p.m. Today.
The Lee County Department of Transportation cleared the Big Carlos Pass Bridge between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Beach.
Big Hickory Pass Bridge in the Bonita Springs area was cleared for travel by the Lee County DOT.
Roads of Lehigh Acres are closed off by high flood waters caused as the heavy rains of Hurricane Irma overwhelmed the canal system used to drain water away from roads and land.
From Lee Boulevard, about a quarter-mile in from its junction with State Road 82, running to the east, the flooding is deep. Only drivers of vehicles high enough to navigate six inches or more of water are taking the risk that they could get stuck.
Much of the flooding is coming from drainage canals from which water is free-flowing into roads.
We have teams of reporters hitting key places throughout Lee County this morning as the aftermath of Hurricane Irma