Standing water was inevitable during a three-day period when Sanibel received a foot of rain. SC photo by Shannen Hayes
Standing water was inevitable during a three-day period when Sanibel received a foot of rain. SC photo by Shannen Hayes

The foot of rain in three days was by no means a record on Sanibel, but it was a significant rain event that caused some city workers to stay home and proved that the island's storm drains are up to the task.

From Friday, Aug. 25, to 6 a.m. Monday, Aug. 28, Sanibel received 12.4 inches of rain at the Donax Wastewater Treatment Facility.

This was not a record-breaking rain here as it was in some places,” Sanibel City Manager Judith Zimomra said Wednesday, Aug. 30. “We don't get rains like this every day, but we are in the sub-tropics and it does happen.”

Sanibel operated with a skeleton work force Monday, but that was unrelated to conditions on the island. Several off-island employees, particularly in Cape Coral, found their routes to the island impassable and at least two employees had water in their homes. It's the first time in Zimomra's 16 years as city manager that such a move was taken.

We didn't have to do that. But we thought it was a good thing to do in this case,” she said.

The three days of rain produced nothing else. Zimomra reported no wind damage and minimal beach erosion.

It wasn't a storm. It was a rain event. It was a big rain event, but that's all it was,” Zimomra said.

Sanibel Police issued statements about water on streets and the shared use paths during the periods of heaviest rain. But once rain subsided, the streets quickly drained.

We have made significant investments in our storm drainage infrastructure. We still have some spots to deal with, but the investments we have made have the drainage working the way it should,” Zimomra said.

Zimomra urged all islanders to have their tropical storm and hurricane preparations in order.

On Sanibel, we would only ask people to leave if there is imminent danger. But this is the time of year and people need to be ready,” she said.

As for how Sanibellians behaved during the recent three-day rain event, Zimomra was succinct: “Impeccable. They always are.”