Safe havens opening in Lee County ahead of Idalia

Reporter: Jolena Esperto Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

With Southwest Florida outside of Idalia’s cone, Lee County isn’t planning to issue any evacuation orders or open shelters. Although, they are opening safe havens knowing there are people living in Ian-damaged homes.

They’ve opened two safe havens, one at the Estero Rec Center and the other at the North Fort Myers Rec Center.

Even though the place isn’t packed with people, some have gone to the shelter to stay safe. Some showed up expecting to play pickleball or meet for referee club but quickly learned that was not the priority.

With Ian in the rearview mirror, everyone is turning their attention toward Tropical Storm Idalia, even though Southwest Florida remains outside the projected cone.

“As we all know, we have battle scars, and we were here not too long ago,” said John Gunter, Cape Coral’s mayor.

Gunter tried to calm residents and explain the city’s plan of action.

“But we want to make sure that our residents are prepared and get your hurricane kits out, fill up those water bottles,” said Gunter.

For many, that helps, but there is still so much to handle.

“Everything’s been out. I tried to order a lot of things to the house and everything goes out unable to find,” said one woman while preparing for the storm.

There are some options for those who need extra safety during Idalia. Lee County opened the safe havens for those feeling insecure in their housing situation or living in a home damaged by Ian.

“I’m living in a rental because my house was destroyed last year with the hurricane,” said the woman preparing for the storm.

While not in a state of emergency, officials are urging people in Lee County to prepare for the worst.

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