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HURRICANE IAN: Preparations, plans, activities, cancellations; School districts widen closures

This Sept. 25, 2022 satellite image released by NASA shows Hurricane Ian over Caribbean Sea moving near the Cayman Islands and closer to western Cuba. Forecasters say Hurricane Ian is nearing Cuba on a track to strike Florida in as a Category 4 as early as Wednesday, Sept. 28. (NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) via AP)
This Sept. 25, 2022 satellite image released by NASA shows Hurricane Ian over Caribbean Sea moving near the Cayman Islands and closer to western Cuba. Forecasters say Hurricane Ian is nearing Cuba on a track to strike Florida in as a Category 4 as early as Wednesday, Sept. 28. (NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) via AP)


LEE: Lee County Schools will be closed through Thursday due to some schools being designated as shelters. All previously scheduled events will be canceled, including the Vendor Fair at the District office and the Proximity Neighborhood Dialogue Community meeting at James Stephens Elementary School. Additionally, the Board Workshop scheduled for Wednesday, September 27 has been postponed and will be rescheduled.
The district will evaluate the current Instructional Calendar and determine what dates will be used as Hurricane Make-Up Days.

COLLIER: County Schools will be closed will be closed through Thursday. All after-school programs held at CCPS sites will be closed. All extracurricular activities, including athletic practices and competitions, will be canceled. All Adult and Community Education classes will be canceled

CHARLOTTE: County schools will be closed through Thursday and all student activities cancelled. A decision on school closing for Friday, September 30 will come later this week.

HIGHER: Florida Gulf Coast University is canceling classes through Friday. FGCU leaders will evaluate methods for students to make up for lost instructional time, which will likely include the use of planned study dates as regular academic class time.
Nova Southeastern University closing campuses in Fort Myers and Tampa Bay through Sunday.
Hodges University’s campus will be closed through Wednesday the 28th and will reopen for regular hours on Thursday the 29th. Online classes can continue as scheduled. Any additional updates will be posted at Hodges.edu
Rasmussen University will close its Fort Myers campus Tuesday, Sept. 27–Thursday, Sept. 29, with employees working remotely. Should Rasmussen employees find themselves without power or unable to work remotely safely, Rasmussen’s northern campuses and central services teams are ready to assist. The University will monitor the weather conditions in determining a course of action and hours of operations for Friday, Sept. 30.


Due to Hurricane Ian all courts in the 20th Judicial Circuit will be closed on Tuesday, September 27 and Wednesday, September 28. This includes Lee County, Collier County, Charlotte County, Hendry County, and Glades County. Follow on social for future updates.


The U.S. Postal Service Florida 2 District has announced a temporary suspension of mail delivery and retail operations in Central and Southwest Florida until further notice due to the approach of Hurricane Ian. The safety of our employees and our customers is a priority for the Postal Service.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, is suspending its operations at the five lock and dam structures on the Okeechobee Waterway and at the Canaveral Lock.

The change takes effect at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, September 28. Operations will be suspended until potential damage from the storm can be assessed and the locks are deemed safe for operation.

“The safety of our lock operators and the public is our highest priority,” said Kriss Zeller, Chief of Navigation. “We will make every effort to return our navigation locks to full service as soon as it is safe to do so.”



All flights at RSW are cancelled on Thursday, Sept. 29. Please visit your airline website to rebook or get the most up-to-date information on specific flights.

County offices will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday as well the Lee County Clerk of Courts, Property Appraiser and Tax Collector offices.


  • Beginning at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27, hospital visitation will be restricted to promote a safe environment for patients and operation of hospital facilities.
  • For Lee Physician Group, Outpatient Offices and Lee Convenient Care: Offices will remain open today, depending on staffing availability. Offices in an evacuation zone are closing.
  • All Lee Physician Group offices will be closed Wednesday and Thursday.
  • The Lee Convenient Care offices will remain open for normal business hours and be closed tomorrow and Thursday. Based on weather conditions, a decision to re-open on Thursday could occur.
  • Blood donor collection sites will be closed and our scheduled blood drives will be cancelled on Tuesday, Sept. 27 and Wednesday, Sept. 28.
  • The Child Development Centers are closed.
  • The Milk Lab at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is also closed.

LEE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Patrol cars will be pulled off county roadways and be unavailable for calls after sustained winds reach 45 miles per hour. Patrols will resume after sustained winds fall below 45.

FORT MYERS: Wednesday's meeting of the City of Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency Board of Commissioners has been cancelled due to the impending weather event. Please contact the CRA Office for assistance if needed.

DING DARLING NWR: The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island will remain closed until further notice.

A safety assessment will be conducted post-storm and the refuge will reopen as soon as it is practically possible. Further announcements will be made at that time.

SANIBEL: City staff have opened weirs that manage storm water levels at Tarpon Bay and Beach Road to lower the current levels of water in the eastern and western pools of the Sanibel Slough.
Due to current predicted storm conditions, the Sanibel Recreation Center at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road will be closed Tuesday, September 27, and Wednesday, September 28. All programs are canceled.

Considering a mandatory evacuation by Lee County, Mayor Holly D. Smith signed a mayoral proclamation providing a general nighttime curfew on Sanibel between the hours of 9:00pm – 6:00am during the period of mandatory evacuation and while the local state of emergency is in effect. Emergency responders will assess conditions on Sanibelafter the storm passes to determine when it is safe to allow reentry. A Hurricane Reentry Pass is required to enter Sanibel Island after the passage of the storm.

Sanibel Island Water Association employees will evacuate by 9 p.m. Tuesday. IWA will continue to fill storage until the treatment plant is shut down. IWA will transition to its low-pressure diesel auxiliary pump to continue water service until the stored water or fuel is depleted. IWA has issued a precautionary boil water advisory to be in effect at 1:00am, Wednesday, September 28.

CAPE CORAL: Declared a State of Local of Emergency Tuesday.

SalusCare: Outpatient, community-based programs and administrative services will be closed on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 due to Hurricane Ian. Crisis Services for youth and adults will remain available at the Colonial Campus located at 10140 Deer Run Farms Road. Patients with scheduled appointments will be contacted to reschedule, or can call 239-275-3222 when services resume.


Local winds from Hurricane Ian have reached sustained tropical storm speeds in Charlotte County. All residents should now shelter in place and stay off the roads until we are no longer experiencing hazardous conditions.

Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and City of Punta Gorda first responders have suspended emergency response to calls for service due to hazardous weather conditions.
911 will still be operational during this time, and calls will be triaged for response as soon as weather conditions permit.

For sheltering in place, you should be prepared to do the following:

  • Select a small, interior room, with no or few windows.
  • Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
  • Turn off all fans and air conditioning systems.
  • Bring your pets inside, and do not allow pets to go outside until the danger has passed.
  • Fill your bathtub with water to clean and flush toilets.
  • It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room you select. Call your emergency contact and have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.
  • Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.

For Hurricane Ian information, call the Charlotte County Emergency Operations Center at 941-833-4000.Media and public can follow Charlotte County Emergency Management important emergency information at www.charlottecountyfl.gov, www.facebook.com/oemcharlottecounty, and www.twitter.com/ccoem.

PUNTA GORDA: Emergency services, including police, fire, and EMS, have been suspended in the City of Punta Gorda due to high winds. Emergency services will resume once it is deemed safe to do so. Once conditions are safe calls will be answered in order of priority. There may be delayed responses after the storm due to damage, road blockage, and flood waters.

The Charlotte County Utilities Department urges low pressure sewer customers to limit water usage during a power outage. In the event of a power loss, low pressure sewer pumps will not function. The home's wastewater will remain onsite within the interceptor tank and cannot enter the central sewer system. The onsite tank has a reserve capacity that will allow for limited water use during the outage.

For Hurricane Ian information, call the Charlotte County Emergency Operations Center at 941-833-4000.

Fire/EMS stations will remain open. Emergency Management, Public Works and Utilities personnel will continue to perform essential functions, such as water and sewer service, stormwater drainage and storm recovery operations.

For Hurricane Ian information, call the Charlotte County Emergency Operations Center at 941-833-4000.

LIBRARIES, POOLS, PROGRAMS: In preparation for Hurricane Ian, Charlotte County Libraries, Recreation Centers, pools, and all programs are closed.

TRASH/COUNTY: Curbside collection will not occur Thursday, Sept. 29. Do not place trash, recycling or yard waste at the curbside. Mini-transfer facilities and the landfill will be closed on Thursday, Sept. 29.

TRASH/PUNTA GORDA: No Sanitation Services on Wednesday, Sept. 28 for City of Punta Gorda residents due to the landfill closure.

VENICE: In preparation for Hurricane Ian, Venice Theatre will close Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. and remain closed on Wednesday, Sept. 28. Depending on conditions, the theatre may reopen on Thursday, Sept. 29. An updated announcement will be made about whether the theatre will be open on Thursday.

The closing of the theatre's three-building campus means that scheduled rehearsals, classes, and performances of The Revolutionists are canceled.

PRICE GOUGING: Under Florida law, it is illegal to charge unconscionable prices for goods or services following a declared state of emergency. This statute covers any essential commodities and services, meaning any good or service that is required for use as a direct result of the emergency. Those in violation face a second degree misdemeanor.

If you are a victim of price gouging you can call the Sheriff’s Office at 941-639-2101 or file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by calling their hotline at 1-866-966-7226 or online here.

For more information visit: https://ccsoblog.org/2022/09/26/price-gouging-during-state-of-emergency-second-degree-misdemeanor-2/


Collier County is urging residents not to leave their current location for the duration of Hurricane Ian. This includes those currently staying in shelters throughout the county.

Throughout the day, high winds are expected, roads may have debris including downed power lines, and may be impassable. There may also be street flooding and power outages.

The Collier County Information Hotline remains active. Residents with questions may call the Hotline at 311 and residents outside of Collier County should call (239) 252-8444. Please note, the call volume is very heavy and information can also be found at colliercountyfl.gov or social media channels, including www.facebook.com/CollierGov and www.twitter.com/CollierGov

The Florida Department of Health in Collier County (DOH-Collier) is urging the public to be mindful of potential issues with sewage.

Following a storm, you may experience problems with the operation of your sewage system. If you have a septic system that runs by a dosing pump, it will not work without electricity. You should stop using water in your home as much as possible until the electricity comes back on.

Without the pump working, the septic tank will fill and may cause backup of sewage in your home.

For more information, please contact your county health department or visit www.floridahealth.gov or www.FloridaDisaster.org.

The Florida Department of Health in Collier County will be closed Wednesday, September 28, 2022 through Friday, September 30, 2022 as staff responds to the impacts of Hurricane Ian.

All Non-Essential Collier County Government offices closed: All non-essential offices and facilities of Collier County Government will be closed Tuesday, September 27 at 3:00 p.m. – Wednesday, September 28, at 5:00 p.m.

All essential services, including those involving public utilities and emergency operations remain fully operational.

TRANSIT: Collier Area Transit (CAT) will suspend its regular service on Wednesday, September 28. For more information about the CAT schedule, visit www.rideCAT.com.

Collier County School Board candidate forum scheduled for Tuesday, September 27, is postponed until a later date.


City of Sarasota: In preparation and response to Hurricane Ian, the City of Sarasota has declared a local state of emergency.

Stay tuned to City of Sarasota social media channels and local news media for updates.


The Highlands County Board of County Commissioners approved a local state of emergency declaration Monday for Highlands County regarding Hurricane Ian.

Monday, the County has confirmed that the County landfill will be closed Wednesday, and garbage and yard waste will not be collected.

As soon as weather conditions allow, the landfill will reopen possibly on Thursday, and trucks will resume residential collections and try to complete as many of their Wednesday routes as they can. Thursday collection will happen Friday, and Friday collection will be Saturday, weather permitting.

The Avon Park and Lake Placid recycling sites will be closed Wednesday, and the Sebring recycling site is closed Thursday. As of now, all three sites are expected to be open on Saturday.

The following County offices will be closed on Wednesday, Sept. 28:

  • Highlands County Board offices
  • Highlands County Fire Rescue administrative office
  • Courthouse
  • Clerk of Courts
  • Tax Collector
  • Property Appraiser
  • Supervisor of Elections
  • City of Sebring
  • City of Avon Park
  • Town of Lake Placid
  • School Board – all public schools and administrative offices
  • South Florida State College
  • All Highlands County health department offices



EVACUATION ORDERS: Following the updated forecast of Hurricane Ian, public safety officials are announcing plans for evacuations, beginning with a MANDATORY Zone A evacuation and VOLUNTARY Zone B evacuation, effective at 8 a.m., Tuesday, September 27.

Manatee County’s Emergency Operations Center will also move to a Level One activation at 8 a.m., Tuesday.


Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, and until further notice, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium will be closed to the public in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Ian.

On Mote's Sharktoberfest event on Oct. 1: Further announcements will be made as the week progresses if anything changes and as we see the full potential impact of Hurricane Ian.


Florida is suspending tolls in several areas along the Gulf coast until further notice including Alligator Alley in Collier and Broward counties.

Tolls on Lee County bridges have been suspended until further notice, and no tolls will be collected on the Cape Coral Bridge, the Midpoint Memorial Bridge and the Sanibel Causeway.

NATIONAL PARKS: On September 27 as of 5:30 p.m., Everglades and Biscayne national parks temporarily closed park entrances and visitor facilities in preparation for Hurricane Ian for the safety of visitors and staff.

Emergency services are extremely limited. No visitor services are available while the closures are in effect. If you must be on the water, stay tuned to the forecast and keep a sharp lookout.

At Everglades National Park,

  • Vessels may continue to seek safe harbor in the designated areas within the area of Ponce De Leon Bay, the Little Shark River between marker 1 and marker 69, and the main tributary of the Shark River.  
  • The Flamingo Marina is closed. 
  • Chickee camping platforms are closed, and vessels are not permitted to tie off to the chickees. 
  • No wilderness camping permits will be issued until further notice.  
  • Concession-operated services and tours are also suspended.   

At Biscayne National Park, the following areas are closed until further notice:

  • Convoy Point Grounds  
  • Dante Fascell Visitor Center  
  • Biscayne National Park Institute tours 
  • Florida National Parks Association bookstore  

These areas remain open in Biscayne:

  • Boca Chita Key  
  • Elliott Key  
  • Adams Key  
  • All park waters   

After the severe weather passes, the National Park Service will assess park conditions to determine when it is safe to reopen.

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