Lee County preparations
Sanibel has seen flooding from numerous storms over the years. Those who have lived here for decades have seen it and now wonder what Eta has in store for them.
Bob Tuttle has lived in his house on Sanibel for 48 years. In that time, he’s seen his fair share of storms and even major hurricanes.
“This house has been through everything,” Tuttle said. WINK News Anchor Michelle Mackonochie asks what has kept him here for so long. “Sanibel Island, ” Tuttle responded.
For him, it’s as simple as that. But with great reward, comes great risks. The big risks there are tropical storms and hurricanes.
With Tropical Depression Eta, Tuttle is watching and waiting, just as everyone in Southwest Florida is.
“If it’s a number 3 or above yeah I’d take precautions like everyone else would,” he said. “We board up and usually get everything off the floor and take all of our permanent records with us and are safe and that’s about it.”
When Hurricane Irma hit in 2017, Tuttle boarded up his home and left the island. Then, he anxiously waited for the ‘all clear’ so he could return.
“You come home and deal with it and if your house is standing you’re good,” he said.
And lucky for him, his house was still standing strong. For now, he’s watching the weather, waiting for rains and winds.
But Eta, for now is no Hurricane Irma. “I’m not really worried,” said Tuttle. “It’s not a walk in the park you have to take precautions but yeah I’m thinking it’s going to be ok.”
When asked if he’s gonna leave, Bob says no. “Oh yeah no no I’ll be here and they’re going to carry me out of here.” Many residents of Sanibel and Captiva feel the same way Bob Tuttle does.
The best way to stay up to date on the latest information and track of Eta is to tune into the Weather Authority.
Collier County Preparations
Workers in Collier County crews could be seen making checking storm drains in neighborhoods prone to flooding and clearing debris.
Residents, who have experienced rough storms before are now preparing for Eta to brush the Southwest Florida Coast.
Kathy Latimer and her family survived Hurricane Irma. “The wind went around the house, and took off all the trees on the property line like a buzz saw. right in the middle,” Latimer said.
So now, a storm has to be pretty substantial to frighten her. “After you been through a few of them, you don’t worry about it too much,” said Ken Latimer.
But occasionally their Naples neighborhood has high water, blocking in cars. You can see the flooding on their street from this heavy rain in 2017.
Knowing the flooding is possible, people have decisions to make. “Everyone’s got to make their decisions for themselves on how they want to prepare,” she said.
With Eta quickly approaching our area, crews got to work Friday. Water levels in retention ponds were lowered across Naples and ditches around Collier County have been cleared of debris.
“Everyone is going to be required to work no matter what,” said Danielle Somerville who works at Domestic animal services.
The animal shelter even put in emergency plans. “We also do have backup generators ready to go in case we do lose power,” Somerville said.
The neighbors are prepared to weather the storm. “Somebody’s got a generator running for a refrigerator and then we cookout and everybody gets together for the meals,” said Ken.
The storms bring them closer.