As a property owner or resident on a subtropical barrier island, it is essential to be aware and prepared for tropical storms. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, with the most active period running from mid-August to mid-October (although recent years have seen significant storm activity at any time during the six-month season).
How can you be ready for the storm season?
Preparation: Make sure your property is ready for any upcoming storm to both protect structures and minimize damage, have a protection and prevention plan in place should a storm be on the horizon and, if you are an absentee owner, have someone who can come in to handle the final storm preparations well in advance of any official action to shut down the island.
Evacuation: Since Captiva is far from the mainland, evacuations will be called for the island well in advance of any potential storm landfall – and well in advance of any bad weather. Thought the sun may be shining, you need to heed any official call to leave the island, and have a plan in place for what you’ll need to take and where you plan to go.
Recovery: Any post-storm recovery begins with getting back on to the island, which is controlled by the City of Sanibel (which means you need to have a current city hurricane pass). If you have a designated person to check on your property, you must have an authorization letter on file with the Sheriff’s Office in order for them to gain access to the island. Due to Captiva’s remote location, depending on the amount of damage both on the island and on the mainland it can take weeks for utilities to be fully restored and debris removed – weeks when, if you’re on the island, you may need to be pretty self-sufficient in terms of food, water and power.
Preparedness & planning resources
- Captiva property authorization letter (LINK)
- Know your evacuation zone: https://www.leegov.com/publicsafety/emergencymanagement/knowyourzone
- Location and status of county shelters: https://www.leegov.com/publicsafety/emergencymanagement/shelters
City of Sanibel
- City of Sanibel Emergency Management: http://www.mysanibel.com/Departments/Police-including-Emergency-Management/Emergency-Management
- City of Sanibel Alerts (sign up to receive): http://www.mysanibel.com/Departments/City-Manager-s-Office/Sign-Up-For-City-Announcements-and-Agendas
General information: Best coordinated through the office of Commissioner Kevin Ruane: firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-533-2224
County notifications: During emergencies or larger disasters it is important that residents and visitors stay informed. Lee County Emergency Management (LCEM) has multiple ways for you to get the most updated disaster-related information. Check out the links below and make sure you are prepared when disaster strikes.
AlertLee: Lee County’s mass notification system, provided by Everbridge, delivering rapid emergency notifications via one or a combination of phone, text, email and social media. The AlertLee system will be used when an emergency arises that you should know about… severe weather situations, missing persons, evacuation notices, boil water notices, fire or floods and active shooter situations, for example. Sign up at http://www.alertlee.com/or for more information visit AlertLee frequently asked questions.
LeePrepares: LCEM’s FREE app available for iPhones and Androids, to assist with preparing for and recovering from all types of disasters.
- An interactive map allows users to find their evacuation zone by GPS or address search. The map shows active evacuation areas and open shelters.
- “Shelters” button shows information about staying in shelters and provides a shelter list.
- “Preparedness” button provides guidelines for getting ready for an event.
- Sign up for alerts from AlertLee or LCEM text alerts.
- Get Local Weather.
- App for iPhone
- App for Android
Facebook: LCEM’s Facebook pages offers preparedness information and highlights our volunteers in action.
- LCEMFL – our page for preparedness information
- LCEM-Volunteers – our page to brag about our hard-working volunteers
Twitter: LCEM operates two different Twitter accounts:
- @LeeEOC for purely emergency information.
- @LCEMFL for preparedness information in addition to emergency updates.
Integrated Public Alert Warning System: Lee County Public Safety is a FEMA Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS) Alerting Authority. We can utilize the IPAWS to alert and warn Lee County residents and visitors about serious emergencies through various means, including the Emergency Alert System (EAS), Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio. See FEMA’s IPAWS website for more information.
Hurricane preparedness for pets: https://www.leegov.com/animalservices/safety/hurricane