photos, video by SC Associate Publisher Chuck Larsen
Tropical Storm Eta left its mark Wednesday on Sanibel Island. That came in the form of several inches of rain in areas, wind gusts up to 48 mph and debris scattered on the roads. Several island homes and businesses also lost power.
The City of Sanibel has reported rainfall over the past 24 hours to vary from 1.39 inches at Beach Road; 1.6 inches at Jordan Marsh; and 4.66 inches at Bowman’s Beach. And winds were being recorded at 36 mph with gusts exceeding 40 mph Wednesday night.
The National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning and storm surge warning for the area. Those have since been canceled. And Police Chief Bill Dalton encouraged motorists to limit their travels after dark on Wednesday due to flooding of some island streets.
The Lee County Department of Transportation crews cleared debris throughout the day from the Sanibel Causeway, which was closed temporarily. And school’s let students out early.
The eye of Eta came as close as 100 miles to the shore of Sanibel, but it continues to move north up the Gulf coast of Florida at 12 mph. Eta is reportedly weakening after briefly becoming a hurricane Wednesday morning in the eastern Gulf and expected to become the fourth storm to make landfall in Florida this season.
“All residents and visitors are advised to continue to monitor the weather forecasts and heed any warnings issued by the National Weather Service,” the city said in its sixth weather update issued just after 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
(This story was updated at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 12.)