Fort Myers Beach Gears Up for stormy weekend: Insights from locals and preparation in key areas

Writer: Emma Heaton
Published: Updated:

Fort Myers Beach is gearing up for the approaching stormy weekend and severe weather. 

WINK News is the weather authority, and Meteorologist Lauren Kreidler said folks on Fort Myers Beach should prepare for strong winds.

We’re talking wind gusts of over 40 miles per hour.

It’s not just the wind. We’re looking at possible beach erosion, coastal flooding and maybe even some storm surge, but here’s the key: What’s coming our way is a far cry from Hurricane Ian, so think tropical storm, without the official title.

Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jacki Liszak discussed storm preparation, mentioning businesses securing outdoor structures.

Liszak said the wind could potentially impact the Times Square area if it comes from the gulf side.

Event cancelations include Christmas caroling moved to Dec. 22, with the Bayside concert series, which is typically Sunday night, pending. 

To keep up with other cancelations and closures, visit the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce website.

Liszak advised residents to stay current on emergency alerts, particularly for businesses currently operating outside or mostly outside. 

She addressed potential storm surge and its impact on lower-lying areas and suggested caution in any flooded zones. 

“We’re not too worried about the main island areas as the areas that typically are a little bit lower lying, like along Crescent Street and Third Street, First Street, Fifth Street,” said Liszak.

“I do like to warn everybody, if you do see standing water in those areas, just assume that it is saltwater and know that if you drive your vehicle through it, you’re going to need to go and get the underside of your vehicle washed off. That is saltwater. It’s really not good for your car.”

Liszak ended the interview on a light-hearted note, suggesting residents enjoy the storm with s’mores by the fireplace!

In the meantime, Maxine Thiel came to the Lani Kai this windy and gloomy day to celebrate her 90th birthday.

Despite damage to her Cape Coral home from Hurricane Ian, she shared her enduring love for Fort Myers Beach, having visited the town for 35 years.

Unfazed by the upcoming severe weather, she plans to spend the day with her family on Fort Myers Beach, some coming from Boston, Michigan, Oklahoma and Ohio.

Despite the strong winds, Maxine won’t let the weather put a damper on her birthday.

“I just love the beach,” said Maxine, “and I love the people, and it’s just the most beautiful place to come to. I just love it.”

Meantime, Melissa Schneider, the marketing director of Lani Kai, explained the resort is prepping for the storm, securing loose items.

“We’re not going to take anything for granted,” said Schneider. “Even if they say that there’s not going to be much of a storm surge, if there’s a chance of any. We’re just going to do what we can and make sure that we are doing the safest thing possible for us, our staff, our visitors and everyone around us.”

One beach bar remains open Friday until 5 p.m., though it will likely be closed Saturday depending on conditions.

Schneider said you can keep up with closures on Lani Kai’s social media.

The Margaritaville resort declined an interview but said they remain open with plenty of indoor options for guests to enjoy.

The town manager, operations manager, mayor, and natural resource manager did not get back to WINK News about preparation.

A spokesperson with Lee County County sent the following email regarding storm preparation:

Lee County Public Safety is monitoring an approaching front capable of producing heavy rain and high winds. Staff are in regular contact with our partners at the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service rainfall forecast remains at 2 to 3 inches during the next seven days, with locally higher amounts possible, and damaging wind gusts. 

Lee County Natural Resources and the Lee County Department of Transportation are prepared for excessive rain, should that occur.

Also, Lee County has been experiencing drier than usual conditions this year. As of the end of November, the county’s rainfall total sat at 10.5 inches below normal. This has created a lower water table and increased capacity to handle a rain event. In addition to the drier conditions, Natural Resources recently has completed waterway cleanup on 41 miles of natural and manmade waterways.

Residents in low-lying areas near tidal waters should anticipate slower drainage of rainfall, as higher-than-normal tides are expected starting early Sunday through Tuesday next week. High tides may slow the rate at which drainage systems can discharge.

DOT conducts ongoing maintenance on drainage ditches, which helps prepare the county’s roads for necessary drainage during rainfall events. Expect minor intersection and road flooding. During heavy rainfall, it will take the infrastructure time to drain.

With so many newcomers in Southwest Florida, the county would like to remind residents that roadside ditches and swales are designed to drain. However, they may hold water for some time during significant rain events.

The county asks the public to report blocked ditches, swales, canals and areas of local flooding:

  • First, to find out if your road is maintained by Lee County DOT, visit If it is not maintained by Lee County, find your municipal contact by visiting
  • Second, put in a Request for Action (RFA) to improve surface water drainage along your county-maintained road by contacting the Request for Action Hotline at 239-533-9400 or
  • People can use the same phone number and website to also report blocked creeks and streams (example: downed trees, collected debris). The reported information will be directed to Lee County Natural Resources”

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