As southwest Florida begins to feel the impacts of Hurricane Irma, emergency mangers in Lee County say they have stopped responding to calls due to dangerous wind speeds. Law enforcement will also stop responding soon.
Lee County officials said the National Weather Service told them that wind speeds in the Barrier Islands are around 38 mph.
Lee County Emergency Operations held a news conference Sunday morning. County Manager Roger Desjarlais said it’s not too late to find shelter, but emphasized danger conditions will persist after the storm.
“The tidal surge isn’t going to occur until the storm passes Lee County," said Desjarlais. "Once the storm gets north of us, the directions of the winds are going to change and that’s – the winds will start piling up in the low lying areas.”
Lee County Emergency Operations say they’re expecting a storm surge of 10-15 feet above ground level.
Florida Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, also spoke at the conference.
“Please be patient and do not leave your homes," said Benacquisto. "The storm surge is going to come after the winds. You’ll feel like you can go outside, but please don’t.”
Benacquisto said only leave your home when you get the all clear.