by Alison Waldbart
NBC Meteorologist Jason Dunning, pictured, and Lee County Department of Public Safety Chief of Emergency Management Sandra Tapfumaneyi were the guest speakers at the annual Captiva Hurricane Seminar Thursday, June 27, at the Captiva Fire Station.
Dunning told the small crowd that most major storms occur from August to October, with the historical peak in September, although hurricane season is from June 1 to Nov. 30. He also said South Florida has seen nine major hurricanes in the past 30 years. “It only takes one, so we must be prepared,” he said.
Tapfumaneyi and Dunning stressed that all Lee County evacuations are mandatory, and Captiva is in Zone A, the first of five zones in the county. Tapfumaneyi said the Department of Transportation will open the Interstate 75 shoulder in the event of an evacuation, rather than opening the southbound lanes. After an evacuation, Lee County opens a 211 Information Hotline.
Additional details to keep in mind include keeping a hurricane pass in the vehicle and having a signed authorization letter to allow non-homeowners check the property. Passes can be obtained at the Sanibel Police Station, 800 Dunlop Rd. Part-time residents with someone checking on their property need to have a Captiva Home Owners Authorization Letter, which can be obtained from the Captiva Sheriff Deputies by calling 239-472-0247.
Captiva Fire Chief Jeff Pawul and Lee County Sheriff Lieutenant Michael Sawicki, as well as community volunteer Sherrill Sims, were on hand to answer questions from the approximately eight attendees.