When Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane gets up in the morning he looks at the weather.

Part of my job is to look and see what is out there,” Ruane, left, said Friday.

Ruane spoke just a few hours before Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm with devastating results. The landfall came at a point directly across the Gulf of Mexico from Tampa-St. Petersburg, just a couple hours north of the barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva.

If Ruane and other residents of Sanibel and Captiva could see across the Gulf of Mexico they would see a mirror image of themselves. A chain of barrier islands not unlike Sanibel, Captiva and other barrier islands on the Florida Gulf Coast sits along the Texas Gulf Coast from Galveston almost to the Mexican border at Brownsville. World famous Padre Island took the brunt of Harvey straight on.

That mirror image across the Gulf of Mexico is a scary sight. It could happen here, as it did in 2004 with Hurricane Charley.

Sanibel continues to make sure we are up to date in all of our preparations for tropical storms and hurricanes,” Ruane said. “We have done and are doing everything we can do.”


See Sanibel's Hurricane Info at mysanibel.com

Ruane said his heart goes out to all along the Texas coast, including his brother-in-law who lives in Houston. He hopes everyone obeyed warnings and are safe. The mayor recalls his indoctrination to a hurricane, which came less than two weeks after he moved to Sanibel.

We went through a crash course in '04. We moved to Sanibel and 13 days later Charley hit,” Ruane said. “It really caught us. I had $80 in my pocket and after I filled a prescription for my son I had $30.”

Ruane was one of those who volunteered his services to the city in the aftermath at Charley, a move that led him to run for City Council and eventually to become mayor – and get up and watch the weather each day.

Charley was my introduction to Sanibel. It's the danger of living on a barrier island,” Ruane said.