LEE COUNTY, Fla.- 2011's Lee County storm surge projections have Emergency Management on high alert.
"What we see now is a slightly different picture in more detail. And it's a little worse picture than we typically imagined," Gerald Campbell, Chief of Planning for Lee County Emergency Management said on Tuesday.
The county's most populated areas are now at a significantly higher risk of being underwater during a hurricane. Due to national policy, the new data's causing the Red Cross to step back from manning those areas shelters, before and during a direct hit.
"We will definitely still provide support and training, staffing and recruiting individuals to help staff those shelters as we go forward. So we're definitely still in the business, we just have to adjust the way we do things," Red Cross of Lee County Executive Director Heidi Ruster said Tuesday.
Without the Red Cross, Emergency Management will have to handle operations of 26 of Lee County's 32 shelter locations, which includes fronting costs, until FEMA reimbursement.
"There's more for us to do. We'll be looking more strongly on our volunteers, faith-based groups, other community groups as well, community groups, even possibly some county employees," Campbell said.
The Red Cross of Lee County's looking at securing additional shelter space, east on I-75 in Lehigh Acres. But Emergency Management says the county needs a variety of locations to cover all their bases.
"We can have a lot of storm scenarios here. We can have storms from the Gulf, storms coming from across the state, even parallel to the coast. Each one of those creates different issues for us," Campbell said.
The Red Cross is surveying properties in Lehigh Acres this week for possible hurricane shelters. Emergency Management is still working to negotiate the Red Cross' involvement in coastal shelters.