Hurricane Irma: Information on shelters, evacuations, boaters in Lee County

The News-Press
Oak Hammock Middle School has become an emergency storm shelter for residents in the area. There was a line out the door for hours as families registered for a spot to wait out hurricane Irma. Many families are following the governors call to seek shelter.

Lee County will open two more shelters Saturday at 10 a.m.

  • Ray V. Pottorf Elementary, 4600 Challenger Blvd., Fort Myers
  • Germain Arena, 11000 Everglades Parkway, Estero

Residents who plan to evacuate should prepare tonight and move quickly Saturday morning, a county press release said. The Estero Rec center, 9200 Corkscrew Palms Road, Estero, has reached capacity.

County officials and Gov. Rick Scott stressed the importance of evacuating to a nearby shelter. There will be space available, Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott said.

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Lee County has ordered evacuations of its barrier islands, including Bonita Beach, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, Captiva, and Pine Island. It also has ordered people who live in mobile and manufactured homes throughout the county to evacuate.

Tolls at Lee County’s three bridges are suspended until further notice:

  • Midpoint
  • Cape Coral
  • Sanibel Causeway

Information on shelters

These shelters will be open for evacuees at 9 a.m. Friday:

  • East Lee County High School, 715 Thomas Sherwin Ave., Lehigh Acres  
  • Varsity Lakes Middle School, 801  Gunnery Road., Lehigh Acres                                      
  • Harns Marsh Middle School, 1820 Unice Ave. N., Lehigh Acres                                 
  • Oak Hammock Middle School,  5321 Tice St., Fort Myers                                              
  • Island Coast High School, 2125 De Navarra Pkwy., Cape Coral                                      
  • South Ft. Myers High School, 14020 Plantation Road., Fort Myers           
  • Estero Rec Center, 9200 Corkscrew Palms Road., Estero            

East Lee County High School and South Fort Myers High School are the primary pet-friendly shelters in Lee County but, thanks to the efforts of Lee County Domestic Animal Services, all opened Lee County Shelters have pet capacity.

The category of the storm requires Lee County to be selective about the shelters that are opened. The goal is to have shelters throughout the county open to all even if not specifically available in residents’ immediate area.

People staying in shelters may exit and enter as long as weather conditions make it safe to do so.

Special Needs

Although the Special Needs Registration closed once Lee County entered the five-day error cone, residents who are not currently registered can go to a general-population shelter.  Once there, these residents will be triaged and if needed, transported to other facilities that can better meet their needs.

Alcohol sales:

The City of Sanibel has suspended the sale of alcoholic beverages as of 9 a.m. today, Sept. 8, until further notice.

With the exception of beer, the City of Cape Coral is suspending the sale of, or the offer to sell, alcoholic beverages within the city effective 2 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9. Friday is also the last day for trash collection in the city. Collections will be suspended until further notice.

Boater information:

Cape Coral has announced mandatory evacuations for all live-aboard vessels beginning 9 a.m. today.

Lee County DOT operated draw bridges — Alva, Big Carlos Pass and Matlacha Pass — will be locked down starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. The lock down will be complete by noon.

The Gasparilla bridge (Boca Grande bridge) was locked down at 9 a.m. today. Tolls are waived on the bridge.


Bridges are generally considered unsafe to travel once sustained wind speeds reach 40 mph.

Anyone flying in and out of Fort Myers between Friday, Sept. 8 and Monday, Sept. 11, is advised to contact air carriers about flight cancellations and rebooking policies.

It is important to remember, the airport is not a public shelter.