Southwest Florida prepares for possibility of Eta storm impact

Published: Updated:

As of Wednesday afternoon, Southwest Florida remained in the forecast cone for Tropical Storm Eta.

In Lee County, public works crews are preparing for potentially heavy rain by clearing swales — or ditches — across the county. Debris in ditches can cause clogged culverts and drains, so keeping them clean is important to prevent flooding.

Ronald Edwards, owner of Edwards Tree Trimming notes, “Because those seeds are heavy, they weigh about 45-50 pounds …  when the tree starts whipping around, it’ll just knock it right off.”

He said, when storms approach, his business picks up, adding, “We’ll be busy all day tomorrow and Friday getting ones that are dangerous and could cause some problem.”

While we’ve had more than one false alarm this Atlantic Hurricane Season, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Attempting to clear drains already underwater can pose an added challenge.

“Don’t play around with it,” said Filander Barahona of Cape Coral. “Take it seriously take all the precautions to make sure your family is OK, and check on your neighbors to see if they need any help, and yeah, just be a good neighbor all around.”

A Lee County spokesperson said county leaders are monitoring the storm, and if it looks like it’s going to hit us, they will activate their emergency operations and prepare to respond – and same with the power companies.


Crews were also out in Collier County removing debris and improving the drainage system.

Companies that install hurricane shutters have also been busy recently and backlogged with work this year.

However, with Eta so far away and lots of uncertainty, there was no rush of shoppers at stores like Home Depot preparing for bad weather.


In Charlotte County, it was again a familiar sight of clearing ditches. But in addition to that, public works and utility departments are also getting ready to deploy men, women and machines if needed.

Workers are going to stage equipment around the county to deal with heavy rain, flooding, roadblocks and downed trees and powerlines.

Hurricane season is not over.

Patrick Fuller, the director of Charlotte County Emergency Management, said, “It does run all the way through November. And 2020 being the year that it is, of course, if we’re going to have a late-season storm, it’s going to be this year. There are certainly no guarantees that we’re gonna have an impact here, but let’s prepare like we are going to and ensure you have a plan in place.”

The County says, no matter where you live, now is the time to check your storm supply kit.

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