Hurricane Irma update: Lake Okeechobee releases won't impact Fort Myers
Drive around Cape Coral, and you’ll see branches and plant debris in the roads, neighborhoods without power, leaning street signs, toppled fences and some minor flooding. But no major structural damage. Pamela McCabe and Charles Runnells, news-press.com
Standing water along U.S. 41 from Colonial to the Caloosahatchee in Fort Myers was reported after Hurricane Irma passed through the area Sunday.
First look at damage wrought by Hurricane Irma in Fort Myers on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. The storm made landfall in Southwest Florida Sunday morning and traveled up the Gulf Coast. Kinfay Moroti/The News-Press
Hurricane Irma has flooded part of Burnt Store Road in Cape Coral. The flooding is north of Northwest 26th Terrace. The extent isn't clear, and Cape emergency officials didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Charles Runnells/news-press.com
The aftermath of Hurricane Irma at Gateway, east of Fort Myers, where what was left of the eyewall hit on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. Pamela McCabe/The News-Press
Hurricane Irma's winds hit Fort Myers Beach on Sunday afternoon. Joe Orlandini/Special to The News-Press
Wind caused damage to the batter's eyes at three of Jet Blue's practice fields as well as to signs and trees but the exterior of the facility looks intact. Craig Handel/news-press.com
Hurricane Irma visits Fort Myers Beach and downtown Fort Myers Andrew West/news-press.com
Like most in this Lehigh Acres neighborhood, Guima Martial and his family found shelter on higher ground from Hurricane Irma. For two days he's tried to check on his home. Now he's going back. Patricia Borns/The News-Press
Alvin Avenue in Lehigh Acres, Florida, is one of more than a dozen streets that are severely flooded as a result of Hurricane Irma. Hundreds of residents are stranded by the high water and most don't have power. Kinfay Moroti/news-press.com
Hurricane Irma: Some getting desperate for gas, long wait times near I-75s Andrew West/news-press.com
Cleanup for the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge after Hurricane Irma was much easier for after the Island of Sanibel as a whole was spared. Andrea Melendez/news-press.com
A brown pelican rescued off of Fort Myers Beach was brought to CROW on Sanibel days after Hurricane Irma. Andrea Melendez and Melissa Montoya/news-press.com
Hurricane Irma's winds blew over a tree on Verona Street in Dunbar. Melanie Payne/news-press.com
Next Level Church distributes waters in Fort Myers Video by Michael Braun
The Lee County school system is combing through the damage Hurricane Irma wrecked on local campuses. Schools are closed through Friday. Pamela McCabe, firstname.lastname@example.org
A number of trees came down at the Edison-Ford Winter Estates as a result of Hurricane Irma. Amy Bennett Williams/news-press
Customers wait in line for a Publix grocery store at SR 82 and Lee Blvd in Lehigh Acres to open on Tuesday Sept. 12. It was scheduled to open at 8 a.m. Casey Logan/The News-Press
Hundreds of families in the Suncoast Estates trailer park in North Fort Myers, Florida, face the challenge of rebuilding an already struggling community. Kinfay Moroti/news-press.com
Residents in Iona-McGregor are tired of the flood waters. Hurricane Irma struck two weeks after a 3-day rain period flooded the area's roads. Andrea Melendez/news-press.com
Island Park Road flooding Video by Michael Braun
Fort Myers Miracle Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ben Hemmen sends best wishes to Hurricane Irma victims. Craig Handel/news-press.com
Utilities trucks from across the country were lined up for miles on Interstate 75 southbound Sept. 12, 2017. The trucks used the weigh station as a staging area before they deployed to every corner of the state to help millions get back on the grid. Meghan Mangrum/The News-Press
Sanibel residents were relieved to find their homes did not face too much damage after Hurricane Irma's arrival. Andrea Melendez/news-press.com
- Cape Coral: 'We definitely missed a bullet'
- Fort Myers streets find themselves underwater after Hurricane Irma
- First look at damage from Hurricane Irma in Fort Myers
- Flooding in north Cape Coral
- Hurricane Irma: The aftermath at Gateway
- Video of Hurricane Irma at Fort Myers Beach from a resident
- Jet Blue sustains damage to practice fields
- Hurricane Irma visits Fort Myers Beach and downtown Fort Myers
- Guima Martial Goes Home
- Hurricane Irma: A view from above of flood-ravaged Lehigh Acres
- Hurricane Irma: Some getting desperate for gas, long wait times near I-75s
- Hurricane Irma: J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge an easy cleanup
- Hurricane Irma: Rescued Brown Pelican brought to CROW
- Update Hurricane Irma: A tree falls in Dunbar
- Church distributes supplies
- After Irma: schools review damage before cleanup efforts can start
- Irma damage at Edison-Ford Estates
- Hurricane Irma: People wait in line for Publix to open
- Hurricane Irma breaks struggling community
- Hurricane Irma leaves Iona-McGregor residents tired
- Island Park Road flooding
- Miracle exec assessing damage at Hammond Stadium
- Watch: Utilities trucks lined up for miles along Interstate 75
- Hurricane Irma leaves Sanibel residents relieved
For more coverage of Hurricane Irma and the storm's aftermath visit: news-press.com/hurricane.
The Army Corps of Engineers will start releasing water from Lake Okeechobee later this week, but no water will be coming down the Caloosahatchee River, at least for now.
Lake Okeechobee is the liquid heart of what's left of the historic Everglades, and the lake was connected to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers in order to drain the wetlands for farming and development.
The St. Lucie system will start to see water this week. The surface of the lake was 14.8 feet above sea level Thursday.
“The lake has risen rapidly over the past week,” said Col. Jason Kirk, Jacksonville's district commander. “With projected inflows, (the lake) will rise to around 17 feet. The outflows we will begin tomorrow morning will help stem that rise though it will not stop it. With so much of hurricane season remaining, we want to slow the rise to the extent possible so we retain storage for future events.”
Army Corps protocols say the lake should be kept between 12.5 feet and 15.5 feet above sea level to protect thousands of people living south of the lake and to provide water for millions of residents and a massive agriculture industry.
The Corps is not releasing water to Fort Myers because much of the area is still flooded from Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in Collier County Sunday.
Connect with this reporter: Chad Gillis (@ChadGillisNP) on Twitter.