This is a live news blog with information about the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Southwest Florida Our reporters and photographers spread across Southwest Florida covering our communities and providing the latest information.
Here’s the latest in SWFL
1:10 PM | Some Ian increase numbers appeared in SWFL
Water levels in the Caloosahatchee River rose about seven feet above normal in downtown Fort Myers during Hurricane Ian, according to federal tidal data.
Water levels on Naples Pier rose about six feet above normal before the station stopped collecting data early Wednesday afternoon during the hurricane. It is currently disabled.
The data comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tide meters. There are no stops at Sanibel Beach and Fort Myers.
However, if the water level rose more than 10 feet on Fort Myers Beach, as many residents believe, the Ian could be considered a 100-year flood event based on water levels, according to pending flood maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This means that the chances of a storm like hitting Ian are once every 100 years. If water levels there rose more than 12 feet, it would be considered a 500-year flood event based on water levels, according to flood maps.
Governor Ron DeSantis called Ian “basically a 500-year flood.”
Read the full story about altitude, wind and rain
12:46 PM | Some of the notifications of Collier’s boiling water have been lifted, others are still in place
Collier County Public Utilities has raised a boiling water notice to customers in the islands of Capri, Goodland and all of U.S. West 41 from North Seagate Drive to South of Bonita Beach Road, with some exceptions.
Gulf Shore Drive and The Strand at Bay Colony are still under boil notice and will remain on hold until further notice.
Collier County received over 6 inches of rain, early National Weather Service reports, and about 5 feet of storm surge.
Combined, the forces prompted officials to issue a boiling water notice to keep the public safe.
More information about Collier’s water use can be found here: colliercountyfl.gov/boilwatermap.
Customer service can be reached at (239) 252-2380.
According to Southwest International Airport spokeswoman Vicki Morland, there is no timetable for reopening the airport.
Morland confirmed that a Delta flight from Atlanta landed at RSW earlier Saturday loaded with supplies.
Lumen technicians continue to survey and repair network damage in Florida communities, following safety guidelines.
Saturday October 1 update:
We prioritize efforts to restore health and safety services.
Commercial power remains out in much of the state, so many Lumen network locations remain on generator and battery power.
Flood problems are increasing in some locations and continue to affect technicians being sent for repairs and refueling of generators.
Nearly 323,000 home internet and 47,000 home phone services were affected, up slightly from yesterday.
We will continue to make repairs as quickly as possible while keeping employee safety a top priority.
The City of Naples remains subject to the Boiling Water Protective Notice for the entire drinking water service area, which includes all of Naples and part of the Province of Colliers.
The city’s drinking water service area extends south from Pine Ridge/Seagate Drive, and west from Livingston Road. See the map below for the service area.
It is recommended to boil all the water used for drinking and cooking for one minute.
If boiling is not an option:
Use of bottled water. or
Sterilize tap water by adding 1/8 teaspoon of unscented bleach to every gallon of water. Mix well and leave uncovered for 30 minutes or more.
The water used for bathing and washing does not need to be boiled.
This notice will be rescinded when bacteriological surveys show that drinking water is safe, and the public will then be notified.
FEMA has announced that federal disaster assistance has been provided to the Seminole tribe of Florida to supplement tribal recovery efforts in areas affected by Hurricane Ian that began Sept. 23.
President Joe Biden’s approval of the measure makes federal funding available to affected tribal members. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of a disaster.
The tribe has a reservation in Collier County, as well as a hotel and casino in Immokalee.
You can apply for disaster assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling (800) 621-3362 or using the FEMA mobile app.
Text to 9-1-1 still works.
Naples residents can also call 239-213-3000 for assistance.
Residents of an unregistered Collier company should call 239-253-9300.
Or park a public safety vehicle.
The city stated that technicians are “working hard to make the 9-1-1 system fully functional.”
Tallahassee, Florida – Please be aware that the Myakka River under Interstate 75 (I-75) has risen and impacted the highway, no longer making it impassable for motorists. Due to higher waters, I-75 in both directions is now closed from mile mark 179 (North Harbor/Toledo Bled Blde) to mile mark 193 (Englewood/Jacaranda Boulevard). Motorists planning to travel on I-75 to southwest Florida should look for an alternative route or follow the conversions below.
Southbound motorists on I-75:
A detour will be established at Exit 257 (Brandon) to change motorists’ lane east at SAR60 to USD98.
If the motorist chooses to continue heading south on I-75, he will only be able to travel until Exit 193 (Englewood/Jacaranda Blvd).
At Exit 193, motorists will have to get out, turn around, and go back north.
Motorists traveling north on I-75:
A detour will be set up at Exit 141 (Palm Beach Boulevard) to change motorists’ lane east at 80 SAR / 27 USD to 98 USD.
If a motorist chooses to continue heading north on I-75, he will only be able to travel until Exit 179 (North Harbor/Toledo Bled Blvd).
At Exit 179, motorists will have to get out, turn around and go back south.
Motorists should avoid I-75 between mileage marks 179 and 193. Since driver safety is the top priority, the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Highway Patrol will continue to monitor the river and bridge. FDOT is connected to WAZE, Google and Apple Maps.
Significant delays are expected in the region, please plan accordingly. The diversions are expected to be in place until the water recedes. Please drive carefully through the area as there are other floods in the area.
Florida residents should visit www.FL511.com – or download the app – for the latest information on road closures and travel itineraries.
EVERGLADES CITY, Florida – On the door frame of a 1960s-era Petra Gengenbach supermarket, the words “Irma 2017” are written next to a black line. Not far from her, she pointed to the last waterline that had left days before.
The 55-year-old spent Friday removing food and mud from her store after Hurricane Ian swept through the hard-crab fishing community, the last town before Florida melted the southwest coast of the Everglades and mangrove islands.
While Ian did not cause the catastrophic damage seen in the north, a wave of seawater swept through the first floors of the homes, sparking a fire in the Jilin Air Boat Company, and sending neighbors rushing to rescue each other in John’s boats that quickly sped over turned city to lake.
7:33 am | Concern grows for displaced Naples residents
Not only did Hurricane Ian cause massive damage to homes and businesses in Naples.
At a community meeting on Friday, the city council spoke of the need to “make a plan” for these residents.
They wondered if they could get help from Collier County, if it still had shelters available, or park their own.
The lack of a plan infuriated Vincent Keys, the president of the NAACP in Collier County.
He said residents of River Park – a historically black, low-income community – desperately need help.
“There are people out there who need help and who need an answer,” he said.