This is a live news blog with information about the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers and Lee County.
Our reporters and photographers are spread out across Southwest Florida covering our communities and providing the latest developments on the recovery.
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12:02 pm|Imperial River Receding
It appears the Imperial River has stopped rising and will hopefully drain soon as the river is within inches of the lowest homes there.
Homes along the Imperial were flooded by storm surges when Hurricane Ian hit.
Days later rain that had fallen over the 60,000 acre Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed to the northeast drained mostly toward Bonita Springs.
“It came up during the storm, then dropped and then ended up going to 12.3 feet,” said Phil Flood, spokesman for the South Florida Water Management District. “And water starts to go into people’s houses at 12.5.”
Flood said the situation would have been even worse has rain continued to fall in the wake of Ian.
“But right now the river looks level,” Flood said. “And we hope it will start to recede.”
Flood said the district is working with the City of Bonita Springs and Lee County to remove debris from the river in order to improve drainage
11:50 a.m. | FPL paints promising picture for power restoration
Florida Power & Light CEO Eric Silagy offered a promising outlook for customers who remain without power in Lee and Collier counties.
Silagy provided a Monday morning update from the Imperial Club, close to Vedado Way Beach in Naples, nearly 96 hours after Hurricane Ian slammed into Southwest Florida.
FPL has managed to restore power to 1.8 million customers. Approximately 83 percent of the company’s customers that were impacted, now have power. There are several hundred thousand people who remain without power, as the one-week mark since Ian made landfall inches closer.
11:16 a.m. | Warning from Dept. of Health
The Florida Department of Health in Lee County is cautioning Southwest Floridians when it comes to coming into contact with potentially contaminated stormwater.
More than a foot of rain fell in some locations of the county, and more than 8 foot of storm surge slammed into some areas.
Sewage systems and pump lifts failed during Hurricane Irma (2017).
“Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that usually lives in warm, brackish sea water,” a DOH email reads. “These bacteria typically grow faster during warmer months. Sewage spills in coastal waters, like those caused by Hurricane Ian, may increase bacteria levels.
“People with open wounds, cuts, or scratches can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with sea water or brackish water,” the email continues. “Vibrio vulnificus has the potential to cause severe illness or death.”
DOH recommends that people try not to come into contact stormwater and brackish water.
If you do, immediately clean and monitor wounds and cuts. Seek medical attention if the wound develops redness or if there are other signs of infection.
11:09 a.m. | Portable cell site delivered to Pine Island via helicopter
AT&T’s network continues to perform extremely well following Hurricane Ian, and crews have been working in the hardest hit storm areas to make repairs and keep customers, their families and first responders connected.
Working with local and government agencies, FirstNet loaded a portable cell site onto a helicopter help with communications on Pine Island, where residents were stranded. This CRD (compact rapid deployable) is providing wireless service for first responders and Wi-Fi for the residents. Within minutes of setting up, residents were able to call family to let them know they were safe.
10:54 a.m. | banking news
To assist those impacted by Hurricane Ian, Truist has deployed a Disaster Recovery Mobile Branch in the North Fort Myers area with 24/7 accessible ATMs to dispense much-needed cash.
The mobile branch consists of two ATMs available to Truist customers as well as non-Truist customers.
Open 24 hours
9:50 a.m. | LCEC’s estimated times for power restoration
Following are LCEC estimated times of restoration for most affected areas. The timeframes provided are based on worst-case scenarios, and it is possible power will be restored sooner to the locations able to receive power:
- Lee County (excluding Pine Island and Sanibel / Captiva Islands) – estimated to be 95 percent restored by end of day Saturday, October 8.
- pine island estimated restoration time will be determined once access to the island is established.
- Sanibel and Captiva Islands estimated restoration time will be determined once access to the island is established.
- Collier County (excluding Marco Island) – estimated to be 95 percent restored by end of day Saturday, October 8.
- Marco Island is currently 40 percent restored with specific areas still being assessed for restoration alternatives. It is estimated to be 95 percent restored by end of day Tuesday, October 4.
9:34 a.m. | Here is info on community food assistance in SWFL
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9:08 a.m. | Here’s the latest on curfews in Lee County
READ FULL STORY HERE
8:34 a.m. | Stunning video of flooding in downtown Fort Myers during Ian
SEE THE VIDEO HERE
7:30 am. | Sanibel Lighthouse standing, but damaged
It was one of the first of what became a swarm of Hurricane Ian rumours: The Sanibel Lighthouse has toppled.
Turns out, it was a half-truth: The house part is gone, but the light remains. Hurricane Ian barged onto the island a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds and an 8-to-15-foot storm surges Wednesday.
READ THE FULL STORY
6:58 a.m. | LCEC power restoration update
“LCEC will add additional crews toward efforts to restore electric service in devastated SWFL communities,” according to a news release.
“The LCEC plan is to restore members’ power as quickly as possible given the conditions of our service territory. We continue to work closely with Governor DeSantis and appreciate the resources being devoted to this monumental effort.”
Current restoration numbers are as follows:
Ian coverage from Sept. 28-Oct. 3:From rescues to damages, The News-Press is providing in-depth coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Ian
More:How to help: Where to donate, volunteer to assist victims in Fort Myers area in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian
Resources for Fort Myers, Lee County
Flooded car?:Here’s what to do (and what NOT to do)
Craving a hot meal?:Lee County restaurants open in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita, Estero
Mobile phones:Mobile phone carriers offer free talk, text and data to residents impacted by Hurricane Ian
SMS alerts:Sign up to a special texting group for updates on Hurricane Ian and its aftermath
Supplies:What’s open and where to get what you need after Hurricane Ian
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism