Hurricanes – Especially in the Greater Area of Cape Coral, Lee County, Florida
Several vacationers who intend to spend their future vacation in one of our vacation homes in Cape Coral are unsure about the hurricane seasons. They are often not aware about impacts of hurricanes in the past and what to do in case of any warnings. Due to this we inform you about some things you should know and might know. By the way hurricane season in Lee County, which is the county where Cape Coral and our vacation rental houses are located, is from 1 June until 30 November.
There was a high amount of hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, but there was just 2 of them getting close to Cape Coral.
August 13, 2004: Charley made landfall at Cayo Costa, 40 miles north of Cape Coral. Charley moved inland near Charlotte Harbour shortly afterwards. Its track would take it directly over Port Charlotte, Arcadia, Kissimmee and Orlando. Sustained winds over 100 mph (160 km/h) were felt as far inland as Orlando.
October 24, 2005: Wilma made landfall 55 miles south of Cape Coral.
Both hurricanes caused potential damage. There is nothing to embellish.
What we would like to point out is that most damage occured in areas with very old and weak built houses.
Of course on TV you saw only those places which were heavily hit, which are areas with old houses, recreational vehicles and mobile homes.
It looks very spectacular when big battered trees lie in front of small houses, especially pine trees are not strong against winds. Palm trees are pretty hurricane-resistant.
Although the ridge expansion of hurricanes affects a large area, damages occur around the area of the center.
A hurricane always affects a small area - never the entire state.
Although the center of Charley passed near Kissimmee and Orlando all parks reopened the very next day with limited staff.
Ivan caused severe damage, the affected area was on the panhandle and the biggest impacts were reported from other states next to Florida.
Explanation: Tropical Waves - Hurricane
Tropical Wave: Cluster of clouds with t-storms with no-little circulation/strong wind
An organized system with clouds and/or t-storms with some circulation at surface, winds < 39 mph.
Tropical Storm: system of strong t-storms with stronger circulation than tropical depression. Winds: 39-73 mph - quickly circulate when they reach tropical storm strength and become hurricanes.
Storms are named when they reach tropical storm strength.Hurricane: An organized system of strong t-storms with very strong pronounced circulation; winds > 74 mph
The City of Cape Coral also activates an "Emergency Information Line" during the threat of a storm. The phone bank is staffed by CERT volunteers who provide current information on the hurricane/storm status.
The phone number to keep handy is 239-573-3000. (This number is not active except during serious storms.)
Have a disaster supply kit ready, which should include First aid kits (including plenty of any prescription medicine), glasses Identity papers, important papers (preferable in a bag) A 3-day supply of water (1 gallon per person, per day) Food that won’t spoil, manual can opener
Changes of warm clothing and footwear for each person Pillows, blankets/coverings for sleeping Emergency tools, including battery-operated weather radio and portable radios Flashlights, plenty of extra batteries
Any special items, especially if you have extremely young children and/or elderly family members For babies, you should have plenty of diapers and formula Paper tissue and toiletries Extra set of car keys, plenty of cash (many times the credit card machines or tellers will not be working and cash will be in short supply)
During the Hurricane Watch and Warning
As soon as a Hurricane Watch is issued for any part of Lee County, take immediate actions to protect your life and property:
Keep always calm, there is sufficient time to prepare and to leave the vacation home. Closely monitor local radio for emergency instructions from Lee County Emergency Management, Hurricane updates from the National Hurricane Center, and local weather statements. Secure all outside objects. Bring loose objects indoors. Turn off any electrical connections to the pool. Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting. Open only as necessary. Be very careful to avoid power lines.
Do not use telephone any more than necessary. Dial 911 ONLY in emergencies. Fill your bathtub and any other large containers with water for washing, cleaning, and to flush the toilets. Have one gallon of water per person, per day available to meet your drinking and cooking needs for a two week period. Turn off electricity, water and gas before you leave and unplug major appliances.
Before leaving, contact the property manager and a friend or family member in another area. Tell them where you are going, when you are leaving, and who is with you. Let them know you will be relying on them, after the hurricane, to get information to the rest of the family. Call them again later, to tell them you have reached your destination.
Evacuate as soon as you ready to leave, do not wait for further instructions.
Vacationers belong to the people who are going to be evacuated first.
If you do not have a place to go (friends, pre-booked motel) you have to go to a shelter, where you are only allowed to get your most needed things.
Please close all windows and doors and look the house and the garage before you are going to leave.
Several publications are available to help people put together their hurricane plans and what they should have. The most common publication is "All Hazards
Protection," a pamphlet available from Lee County Emergency Management (239-477-3600).
If planning to evacuate, take an appropriate number of items to the shelter. Please note that pets are not allowed in shelters and special plans must be made for animals.
During the Hurricane
Monitor local media for emergency instruction. Rumors will be commonplace. Listen only to official statements from Emergency Management and the National Weather Service.
Stay indoors. Retreat to the most protected area of your vacation rental house. Stay away from doors and windows (even if they are shuttered). If the calm hurricane "eye" passes over your area, continue to stay indoors. Make outside emergency repairs only when absolutely necessary. In the "eye" wind and rain may subside or stop for a few minutes, or for more than an hour. Beware - winds will suddenly return at great intensity from the opposite direction.
Turn off the interior electricity and gas. Use flashlights and battery operated lanterns for light. Avoid using candles if possible. Have the fire extinguisher ready. It is in the laundry room. Call 911 ONLY for emergencies. Avoid using your telephone unless necessary. Remain indoors until the "all clear" notice is given by Emergency Management, or local law enforcement. Be aware that a curfew may be imposed immediately following a major hurricane. If you are in a Shelter, do not leave until the Shelter Manager tells you it is safe. Roads will be impassable and power lines will be down.
After the Storm
After a hurricane, it is likely that governmental services, utilities, and most businesses will not be operational for an extended period of time. This could mean no electricity, no water, and no food supplies. Transportation will be difficult. Bridges and roads may be washed out or damaged. A dusk-to-dawn curfew may be imposed. Living through the hurricane is just the beginning of the discomfort and inconvenience.
Pay strict attention to instructions from Emergency Management and Law Enforcement agencies. Obey all curfews and emergency orders which are issued. Stay away from disaster areas. Do not sightsee. If you must drive, use caution. Beware of road and bridge washout. Remember that you treat an intersection with a broken traffic signal as if it is a four way stop. Advise interested friends and relatives that you are safe. Use caution when using any food from your refrigerator or ice chest. Check for spoilage. If you arrived at a shelter on a public bus, return transportation will be provided as soon as possible. Avoid all downed power lines. Assume that all downed lines have live electricity. Check your electric, gas and water connections before turning them back on.
REGIONAL EVACUTATION SCENARIOS FOR LEE COUNTY
The following are the directions that Lee County suggests, if an evacuation is recommended:
Hurricane Making Landfall in Southwest Florida:
If you leave early, head North to Central Florida
If you leave late head South and East to South Florida
Hurricane Making Landfall in the Tampa Bay Area:
If you leave early, head South then East to Southeast Florida.
If you leave late, head south then eastto South Florida or stay in Lee County.
Hurricane Crossing the State from the East Coast in South Side of Region:
If you leave early, head north to Central Florida
If you wait until late, stay in Lee County
Hurricane Crossing the State from East Coast on the North Side of Region:
Stay in Lee County
Hurricane Parallel to the West of the State:
Travel South then East to Southeast Florida.