A Norfolk pine tree is down on Coquina Drive. Submitted by Alison Ward
A Norfolk pine tree is down on Coquina Drive. Submitted by Alison Ward

THE LATEST

The Sanibel Causeway will open at 3 p.m. on Monday, the City of Sanibel has announced.

No electricity, water service or sewer treatment will be available, according to City Manager Judith Zimomra.

"Vegetation has been removed from most main streets with the exception of the east end of Periwinkle Way, portions of Gulf Drive and Rabbit Road," Zimomra said. "Some residential neighborhoods remain blocked  due to fallen vegetation."


ORIGINAL STORY

The Sanibel Causeway has passed inspection, but residents are urged to stay where they are. Sanibel issued an 11 a.m. statement saying the island is not yet safe for people to return.

That's what I'm going to do until I get the all-clear,” Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane said before noon on Monday, Sept. 11, the day after Sanibel and Captiva lived through Hurricane Irma.

Ruane, like all islanders, was breathing a big sigh of relief Monday after Irma skirted by Sanibel and Captiva on Sunday with winds that only reached 57 mph and then produced minimal storm surge overnight and today.

We dodged a major bullet,” Ruane said. “Our friends to the south in Naples and on Marco Island are in much more pain that we are, and we can only wish them the best.”

Irma made landfall at 3:35 p.m. Sunday at Marco Island with terrible effect. Then the storm reacted poorly to land and the eye fell apart. By the time Irma reached Sanibel it was down from category 3 to category 2. The loss of power also reduced the onslaught of storm surge on the islands that was predicted to be 6-12 feet once Irma's wind shifted to the west and pushed water ashore.

The bridge passed inspection. That's No. 1 and that's the good news,” Ruane said. “There is no power on the island and water is limited.”

People need to stay right where they are,” Richard Johnson, Bailey's General Store Owner and General Manager, said Monday morning. “There are a lot of trees and debris in the way.”

Johnson drove on the island Monday morning.

I went to the east end near the Lighthouse and I went down West Gulf. We did not get storm surge and so far I have seen no structural damage,” Johnson said.

But it's important for everyone to stay where they are until city officials deem it is safe to return. When you get back your food is going to be spoiled and we can't supply everybody. Right now we are taking care of the first responders that are on the island,” he said.

(Right) Pre-positioned heavy equipment removes debris from Periwinkle Way Monday morning. City of Sanibel photo (Below) A tree is down in a yard on West Rocks Drive. Photo submitted by Robin Cook