by SC Staff
8 a.m. Wednesday Update – Island Water sent employees home at 9 p.m. Tuesday and a boil water advisory has been issued. A quarter of Sanibel is without power, according to provider LCEC.
Original Post: Tuesday, Sept. 27
Lee County announced Tuesday morning an evacuation order for Zone A, which includes Sanibel and Captiva, and part of Zone B south of Veterans Parkway in Cape Coral.
Ten shelters will open at 9 a.m. Tuesday, all are pet friendly, but should be a last option. Find more information at the Lee County website or call the 211 help line.
Hurricane Ian made landfall on Cuba early Tuesday, as it became a major Category 3 storm, and is roaring on a path that could see it hit Florida’s west coast as a Category 4 hurricane as early as Wednesday. Ian is expected to strengthen further over warm Gulf of Mexico waters before reaching Florida with top winds of 140 mph.
Ian won’t linger over Cuba but will slow down over the Gulf, growing wider and stronger, “which will have the potential to produce significant wind and storm surge impacts along the west coast of Florida,” the Hurricane Center said Tuesday.
The storm is predicted to pass Sanibel 80 miles offshore Tuesday with tropical storm force winds by this evening. Since Ian may slow after passing the island, it could have lagging storm surge through Thursday and rainfall totals would increase.
The predicted storm surge is mostly the reason for the county’s mandatory evacuation orders for barrier islands and low-lying areas in advance of Ian’s approach. A hurricane warning has been issued for the county.