Lowering lake levels ahead of Tropical Depression Eta is just one of the many steps being taken to prevent flooding in Collier County should the storm head our way.
County crews were out Thursday clearing drains of debris while some residents say they did their supply shopping months ago and aren’t worried about the weather.
“We’ve got plenty of water, three cases of vodka, and I think we’ll be fine,” said Barbara Simons.
Eta hit Central America on Wednesday as a major hurricane and on Thursday, Southwest Florida was still in its forecast cone, but as possibly a tropical storm or depression.
“Not a whole lot of movement as far as storm preparation,” said Al Garcia, who works at Wynn’s Market in Naples. “This is just another tropical storm.”
But Collier County Emergency Services takes the weather seriously and crews will continue preparations throughout the weekend. In Naples, the city is draining water to lower lake levels and minimize flooding from heavy rain, a common problem for some neighborhoods, like one on Marco Island that saw flooding after Hurricane Irma 2017.
“I think we’ve been lucky ever since Irma, yeah,” Garcia said. “Last couple years we dodged some bullets.”
Collier EOC director Dan Summers said they’re ready to activate in case of high winds, heavy rains or whatever else blows in.
“Lots to watch here, nothing to really worry about today… we’re putting all of our county staff in a monitoring posture,” he said.
“All of our supplies and equipment were already pre-deployed to our evacuation shelters. This is normally the time of year that we start bringing that equipment back.”
One thing Emergency Services worked hard on during the peak of hurricane season was making sure evacuation shelters were COVID-19 safe with personal protective equipment, masks, and cleaning tools. Summers said the county is ready to go.