Ernesto brings plenty of rain to South Lee County, but little else

Ernesto folded his cards after a bluff that had Southwest Florida residents scurrying earlier this week to prepare for the possible storm.

"It was not as bad as it could have been," Terry Kelley, emergency management coordinator with Lee County Emergency Operations, said Thursday.

In Lee County, although schools closed, no shelters were opened for the storm, and Thursday, other than flooding situations on some roads, everything went well, Kelley said.

"We were relatively unscathed from the storm, which was good," he added.

Thursday, after then Tropical Storm Ernesto grazed over with rainy conditions, and was soon downgraded to a tropical depression, business in Bonita Springs was back to usual.

"We're up and running," Yadi Munez, of Cafe of Life, said Thursday morning.

Cafe of Life feeds homeless and low income families every day outside Community Hall in Bonita Springs.

During Ernesto, volunteers gave out food inside Community Hall to stay out of the storm. Thursday, volunteer Miguel Diaz, brought 20 bags of clothing donated through First Johns Thrift Store in Naples.

"I went last night during all that rain," Diaz said.

He added he was glad he did, because many of the people who showed up Thursday at Cafe of Life, were in need of dry clothing.

Usually, Cafe of Life feeds approximately 50 people, but Thursday shortly after 11 a.m., it had already served 90.

"A lot of people did not have work because of the rain," Munez said.

The city of Bonita Springs received only one complaint about after storm damages, when a catch basin plugged up with leaves and branches.

"From a flooding standpoint, the ground was fairly dry when this recent storm hit," said Daryll Walk, public works director.

In San Carlos Estates, off Strike Lane in Bonita Springs, portions of Dietz Drive looked more like a swamp than a paved residential street, after Ernesto.

According to Kelley, reports of flooding on private residential streets were the only complaints after the storm. Fire departments are checking on the streets and making sure residents with medical problems in those areas are okay.

Kelley said it's better to be prepared, and preparations for Tropical Storm Ernesto were good practice for Lee County.

"It's always best," he said. "Don't forget, we're still in the middle of our worst time of year, Aug. 15 through Oct. 15. Anything can form."

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