Eagle Ridge neighbors upset about not being alerted of EF1 tornado

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
sfm tornado damage
Credit: WINK News

Neighbors continue cleaning up a mess after an EF1 tornado swept through south Fort Myers on Monday. Now we’re learning that some of those neighbors are upset that they didn’t receive an emergency alert about severe weather on their phones.

Neighbors say they just wanted some sort of advanced notice that a storm of that stature was about to rip through their neighborhood. Yes, there was a tornado watch in effect, but never a tornado warning. And, with the technology people have access to at their fingertips, they’re left wondering why no alert was sent.

Sean Staller says he got a call from his wife early Tuesday morning while working. “I was like, ‘what’s going on?’ And she says, ‘the lanai.’ I was thinking… ‘oh, got a flat tire, can’t start the car.’ Nope, the lanai is gone. ‘Ok, I’m coming home,'” said Staller.

That is a terrifying moment that Lind and Dave Willaims won’t soon forget. “People say it sounds like a train; it was like two jet engines inside the bedroom. It was loud,” the Williams said.

While a tornado watch was in effect, the National Weather Service never issued a tornado warning.  “We watch WINK in the morning, and the last thing they said was about the tornados…then I looked at my husband and the power went out,” said Tara Tucker, who lives in south Fort Myers.

Lou Profeta says he was shocked by what happened. “Bottom line was… shocked me. I wasn’t even aware of it,” said Profeta.

“I was wide awake, and, no, I got no alerts. I was a little surprised,” Staller.

Lee County doesn’t have tornado sirens. However, it does have an emergency alert system where you can get alerts for your specific part of the county.

Some of the people WINK News spoke to said they have the app but still did not receive an alert.

This Lee County resident did not want to appear on camera or use their name. “In every situation, I hope to be like warned some type of way ahead of time, so I can like, you know, know whether to evacuate if it’s that serious… or to just know to go for shelter.”

“If it went off like an Amber Alert, you know, a county emergency management alert or something, you know, we’d hear that,” the Williams said.

WINK News reached out to see if an alert was sent to people in this area for a tornado warning. Once we receive a response, we will share it with you. If you would like to sign up for Lee County’s emergency alert system, you can do so by following this link.

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