Florida Construction News staff writer
Hurricane Ian was expected to slowly cross Florida for about 24 hours after slamming into the southwest coast from Englewood to Bonita Beach including Charlotte Harbor, near the town of Punta Gorda, north of Fort Myers on Wednesday.
The slow-moving storm will drop 12 -18 inches of rain on top of coastal surges and Florida governor Ron DeSantis urged Floridians to “hunker down”, saying it would be a “nasty” couple of days.
More than 1.8 million people were without power on Wednesday afternoon.
In Sarasota, the tactical first-In teams were to begin clearing emergency routes once winds decreased to under 45 mph, allowing county staff to begin conducting damage assessments.
“We will also be evaluating our county infrastructure, like water and wastewater systems. Please be patient with this process as we do not know how long this will take,” the county communications team said in a statement.
Residents are urged to stay off the roadways until local officials say they are clear.
Sarasota schools are also closed through Friday.
“The school district is coordinating with Sarasota County emergency management team to send personnel out to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Ian,” Sarasota Schools said in a statement.
There’s also a boil water advisory in Naples, and a city-wide curfew was issued as the city experienced extreme flooding and very hazardous conditions.
“The mandatory curfew remains in effect overnight so first responders and emergency crews can complete the post-storm assessment of our community,” an update on the fire and emergency services twitter stated.
“Our streets need to be cleared of cars, power lines, and other dangerous debris, so we can get our community repaired and safe again.”
All non-essential services and facilities of the City of Naples Government will be closed on Thursday, Sept. 29.
All essential services including those involving public utilities and emergency services remain fully operational.
Ian made landfall earlier today in Cayo Costa with winds of 155 miles per hour, just two miles per hour shy of a Category 5 hurricane. Reports of major flooding and tornado-like damage are occurring in areas across the state as the storm moved slowly across central Florida, continuing into Thursday.
DeSantis has requested a Major Disaster Declaration for all 67 counties and asked the federal government for 100% reimbursement up front for 60 days to ensure an effective response and recovery.