After the storm
Tuesday afternoon the Cape Coral Police Department modified the curfew imposed by county law enforcement within city limits to 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
“Due to the re-opening of several area grocery stores and to allow the public longer hours and greater access, the curfew for the City of Cape Coral is modified until further notice,” according to a CCPD posting on its website.
A county-wide curfew remains in effect from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. for the rest of Lee County. Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott issued the order Sunday when Hurricane Irma’s force was being felt in Lee County.
The curfew is meant to protect residents from dangers that may not be evident during the daytime. It decreases the likelihood of accidents that might divert emergency response resources. There remains standing water in many communities. This water can be contaminated by sewage, chemicals, dead animals and sharp objects, so don’t play in it.
Workers are actively clearing debris from main roadways first before moving on to neighborhoods, so be patient and allow extra travel time in case your usual route is blocked.
Both the Midpoint Bridge and Cape Coral Bridge are clear and open to traffic.
There is no city-wide boil water notice in effect for Cape Coral residents, except for a few localized notices due to water main breaks.
Cape Coral City Hall will open for regular business Wednesday. Lee County government offices are closed today and Wednesday. City Charter Schools will resume classes on Monday.
“The governor granted the city a 30-day extension to hold its two mandatory public hearings to adopt the budget for Fiscal Year 2018,” said Mayor Marni Sawicki. “I was just in touch with the city manager trying to decide if we will have a City Council meeting on Monday.”
Tuesday’s municipal Primary Election also was postponed until Tuesday, Sept. 26. There will be three days of early voting on Sept. 21-23 at the same time and locations as before Irma.
“I am extremely impressed with the work Public Works have done during the storm. No one has slept,” said Sawicki. “Our CERT volunteers have been manning the phones and through fatigue have done an a fabulous job.”
She said there was always uncertainty about the storm surge following the storm’s passing.
“It was a fluid situation, not knowing how high the water could get,” Sawicki said. “I’m just proud of everyone.”
Traffic on Burnt Store Road has been detoured to Old Burnt Store Road between Gulfstream and Durden parkways.
Cape Coral’s Economic Development Office is compiling a list of open businesses on its Facebook page.
A disaster relief team with the International Association of Fire Fighters arrived in Cape Coral Tuesday. Their task is to assist rescue operations by providing whatever personnel need – food, water, blankets, help cleaning homes – to help them stay on the job.
Officials request motorists treat all intersections where traffic signals are out as a four-way stop, or follow police directing traffic flow at those intersections.
City officials said Waste Pro resumed collection of trash only on Tuesday in accordance with the normal service day schedule. They will not be picking up recycling or horticultural waste at this time until employees who evacuated return to work.
Some shelters still open
Lee County Emergency Management is operating four shelters for those people without power or extensive damage to their property. They are Germain Arena, 11000 Everglades Parkway., Estero; Alico Arena, FGCU campus; North Fort Myers Rec Center, 2000 N. Recreation Way, North Fort Myers; and Dunbar Middle School, 4750 Winkler Ave. Extension, Fort Myers.
Previously open shelters, except Germain and Alico arenas, closed Monday night. Evacuees at previous shelter locations were re-registered at the new shelters, including Germain and Alico. Lee Tran provided transportation to evacuees needing to change shelters. A decision on how long the shelters will operate will be made along with emergency management recovery notices this week. All shelters are pet friendly, but bring a crate/cage and leash for the animal.
Many people are requesting welfare checks on friends and family members. Call 239-573-3000 to request welfare checks, but note that it may take 24-48 hours to complete the requests. Do not call 9-1-1 except for life-threatening emergencies.
“Fire Chief Donald Cochran made the executive decision after the sustained winds reached 50 mph to go out help a couple of elderly residents go to a shelter,” said Sawicki. “We also followed up on every out-of-state request for welfare checks on their family until we couldn’t. They did an amazing job.”
Lee County School District
All county public schools and district offices are closed through Friday. Classes will resume on Monday, Sept. 18.
The district deployed assessment teams on Monday to get preliminary damage reports from school campuses. Gulf Middle School had standing water around campus.
Lee Health System
Two Convenient Care locations opened Tuesday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at 1682 N.E. Pine Island Road, Cape Coral; and Page Field, 4771 Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers.
Lee Physician Group offices and Outpatient Services (those not inside hospitals) remained closed Tuesday.
Anyone needing dialysis service are to call 1-800-400-8331, or visit www.davita.com/services/emergency-services.
Crews continue to work to repair main circuits, the lines delivering power from the sources. Once these lines are repaired crews will begin restoring power to neighborhoods. Marco Island, Immokalee, Everglades City and other areas will take longer to repair due to major damage.
As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, there are still 40,121 customers in Cape Coral without power. That number will go down as the day passes.
Customers are asked to keep the phone lines clear for calls pinpointing downed power lines. To report downed power lines to LCEC call 239-656-2300.
Before reporting a home is without power check the breaker first in case you turned it off before evacuating.
Outages as of Tuesday morning the following LCEC service areas:
Marco Island, 18,477 outages among 19,108 customers
Immokalee, 12,653 outages (all customers)
Everglades City, 3,143 outages (all customers)
Lehigh Acres, 29,151 outages (all customers)
North Fort Myers, 40,369 outages among 50,588 customers
Cape Coral, 40,121 outages among 82,216 customers
Pine Island, 6,633 outages among 7,098 customers
Sanibel, 10,371 outages among 10,891 customers
Total: 160,918 outages among 214,848 customers
Tips to keep food safe when
the power is out
Always keep meat, poultry, fish, and eggs refrigerated at or below 40 degrees F and frozen food at or below 0 degrees F. This may be difficult when the power is out.
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened.
A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time.
Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot full freezer for two days. Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.
Don’t connect your generator directly to your home’s wiring at the breaker panel or meter. Connecting a portable electric generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly to you and others. You could also cause expensive damage to utility equipment and your generator.
The only safe way to connect a portable electric generator to your existing wiring is to have a licensed electrical contractor install a transfer switch.
Never plug a portable electric generator into a regular household outlet. Plugging a generator into a regular household outlet can energize “dead” power lines and injure neighbors or utility workers. Connect individual appliances that have outdoor-rated power cords directly to the receptacle outlet of the generator, or connect these cord-connected appliances to the generator with the appropriate outdoor-rated power cord.
Don’t overload the generator. Do not operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator. Overloading your generator can seriously damage your appliances and electronics.
Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage. Just like your automobile, a portable generator uses an internal combustion engine that emits deadly carbon monoxide. Be sure to place the generator at least 15 feet away from your house, where exhaust fumes will not enter the house.
Use the proper power cords. Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage.
Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.
To prevent electrical shock, make sure your generator is properly grounded.
Do not store fuel indoors or try to refuel a generator while it’s running.
Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting down your generator.
Avoid getting burned. Many generator parts are hot enough to burn you during operation.
Keep children away from portable electric generators at all times.