FORT MYERS, FL (September 6, 2017) – With high levels of rainfall anticipated for the second time in two weeks, the City of Fort Myers is working to clear storm drains and other waterways to reduce flooding potential.
Uprooted trees, fallen branches, and other debris resulting from last week’s unusually high rainfall have created hindrances to the natural flow of water through the City’s stormwater system. Public Works personnel, along with city contractors, have checked the City’s major outfalls, cleared drainage ditches and culverts, and removed unwanted vegetation from waterways, including Billy’s Creek, Manuel’s Branch, and the Ford St. Canal. The work will continue through the week.
“Even if our area does not sustain a direct hit from Irma, it could still present a significant weather event in our region,” explains Richard Moulton, director of public works at the City of Fort Myers. “The City is coordinating with Lee County, the Florida Department of Transportation, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District to ensure unobstructed flow of stormwater and reduce potential flooding risk.”
Residents can assist City staff in three ways. First, citizens are encouraged to report sites with standing water issues to the City’s 24-hour public works telephone number: 239-321-8100. Second, residents with catch basins or grates on or near their property are asked to check those areas and ensure that they are free of yard waste and other debris. Finally, residents with drainage swales in their yards are asked to keep them clear of weeds, trash, debris, and invasive plants. When these areas get clogged with debris, water can pool and cause localized flooding.
The City is continuing to monitor Hurricane Irma, a potentially catastrophic Category 5 storm currently in the Caribbean. Due to the severity and magnitude of the storm, Fort Myers Mayor Randall P. Henderson, Jr. declared a state of local emergency for the City of Fort Myers at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
Citizens with questions or who need information are encouraged to call the 2-1-1 Help Line by dialing 2-1-1 or 239-433-3900. United Way 2-1-1 staff will assist by providing information from the Lee County Operations Center. The 2-1-1 Help Line is operational 24 hours a day. The City Call Center is also open for those who need assistance: 239-321-8100. Residents are asked to reserve use of 9-1-1 for life safety emergencies only.
The City will continue to monitor the progress of Hurricane Irma and issue more updates as the storm approaches Florida.