Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a State of Emergency as Tropical Depression 9 churns in the Caribbean.
While Florida remains within the cone, there is still uncertainty about where a future hurricane could make landfall.
DeSantis’ State of Emergency covers 24 counties within the potential pan of Tropical Depression 9.
In Southwest Florida, Collier Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry and Lee are now under a State of Emergency.
“This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations. We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm,” DeSantis said.
By declaring a state of emergency, the governor’s office said its ensuring that state and local governments have ample time, resources and flexibility to prepare.
In Southwest Florida, governments continue monitoring the depression’s movement.
Lee County said it is closely monitoring Tropical Depression 9.
The county said it will make decisions regarding activation levels based on the forecast, but at the moment, there is no local emergency declared as of Friday afternoon.
Lee County said the Department of Transportation maintains drainage ditches year-round, but with heavy rainfall, the public should expect minor intersection and road flooding.
Lee County said staff is observing lower water levels in the drainage system since last weekend when heavy rainfall moved through the area.
Residents are encouraged to check for debris and obstructions around their properties, including culverts and neighborhood ditches.
In order to assist residents who are prepping their homes and yards in advance of tropical weather, Lee County Solid Waste is extending its Saturday hours at four sites.
Instead of the usual closing time of noon, these sites will remain open until 4 p.m. Saturday:
- Resource Recovery Facility, 10500 Buckingham Road, Fort Myers 3390
- Lee/Hendry Regional Solid Waste Disposal Facility, 5500 Church Road, Felda 33930
- LaBelle Transfer Station, 1280 Forestry Division Road LaBelle 33935
- Clewiston Transfer Station, 1350 S. Olympia St., Clewiston 33440
Fort Myers Beach
Meanwhile, on Fort Myers Beach, the fire department said the Town of Fort Myers Beach has sand and bags available behind Town Hall.
They ask that you bring a shovel.
Town Hall is located at 2525 Estero Blvd.
Residents of Fort Myers Beach can also subscribe to the Town’s CodeRed Notification System, which is used for emergencies.
Sanibel is advising residents, property owners, business owners, property managers, and essential personnel to get a hurricane pass.
To assist persons who still need to obtain a Hurricane Reentry Pass, the Sanibel Police Department will extend its public opening hours to issue Hurricane Reentry Passes on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Passes will also be issued during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Applications are available here.
In Collier County, the Naples Police Department is really, REALLY hoping Tropical Depression 9 turns out to be nothing, but they “have all learned that these types of storm systems can develop into a dangerous storm just as quickly as they can fizzle,” the department posted to Twitter.
The message is better to be prepared. It’s time to refresh those hurricane kits.
Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk met with the incident management team on Friday morning to review the forecast and initiate storm preparations.
“We need you to do your part, too,” the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said. “This includes paying close attention to the forecasts and preparing as appropriate for your family, your property and your pets.”
Collier County Public Schools said they would continue to monitor the storm’s path and collaborate with the COllier County Bureau of Emergency Management for any latest information on potential storm impacts.
Monday is already a day off for students as it’s a “Professional Development Day.”
You can sign up for notifications from the City of Naples here.
Charlotte County Emergency Management said it is monitoring the storm, which means they are ready to operate the Emergency Operations Center if needed.
The Punta Gorda Airport said its staff is working to secure the airport ahead of any potential storm impacts.
The airport’s runways will remain open as long as conditions are safe.
The Punta Gorda Airport said it is not responsible for reminding passengers of flight changes, but they should check their emails.
According to DeSoto County Public Information Officer Sara Walker, the county is following standard operating procedures for hurricane preparation.
“As far as drainage, DeSoto County’s Road & Bridge Department’s director has been assessing drainage areas today with vegetation and will be taking care of problem areas today and prior to the storm,” Walker said.
This story will be updated with any closures or updates from local governments.