After Irma in South Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Captiva 9/16/2017
Posted September 19, 2017
I want to give you a quick update from South Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Captiva.
We survived Irma and were so very lucky to have been spared. With all the devastation Irma left in its path, we had comparatively little damage. Except in the Island Park area, which was already flooded from previous massive rainfalls.
Irma plowed into the Florida mainland from the Gulf of Mexico, at Marco Island and Naples, on Sunday, September 10, at 3:30 PM. Wind in Naples was measured at 140 mph. Irma stayed inland, moving north, following the US41 corridor, devastating many areas. South Fort Myers, Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach and Captiva miraculously escaped its wraths and experienced little damage. What a relief when compared to hurricane Charley which hit these locations directly from the Gulf, in August 2004. This time, hurricane Irma winds steadily pushed east coast rain water and river water from the Caloosahatchee and other rivers, to the west and into the Gulf, flooding areas and nearly emptying the rivers. The winds also created a "negative surge" for Gulf waters, pushing them far away from our barrier islands. The Fort Myers Beach Pier was no longer standing in water on Sunday. No one could remember this happening before. The water eventually returned.
When Irma arrived in South Fort Myers on Sunday at 7 PM, she had packed a 130 mph wind in the outer bands of the Hurricane’s eye, which was right over US41. It was unbelievable that we had so little damage. Of course, power went out, lakes overflowed and gas stations were out of gas. But we were very, very lucky compared to other areas. From the Gulf to I75, the damage consisted mostly of downed trees and power outages. Communities in this area were largely spared. Many of these are newer and well built. We never experienced the water surge which had been predicted as high as 15ft, and had scared so many Floridians. Prompting many to leave their homes, often to unknown destinations, to escape Irma.
East of I75 and near our rivers, the damage caused by flooding is horrendous. Hurricane rain waters keep flowing south from the north, taking the way of least resistance. They are flooding our rivers and neighborhoods. Currently, Lake Okeechobee will only be drained to Florida's east coast rivers.
With the help from everyone and from everywhere, Florida is slowly starting to heal.
Waters are again drained from Lake Okeechobee into our Caloosahatchee River.
Sabina September 16, 2017
September 19, 2017 11:13 AM