Collier County prepares for hurricane season

Many of us remember the moment Hurricane Irma hit Southwest Florida in 2017 — trees thrashing in strong winds and heavy rain.

That’s on the minds of many in the Naples Estates community, where neighbors remember the extensive damage from the storm.

“It was like a war zone and everyone lost their homes,” neighbor Susan Dailey recalled. Hurricane season officially begins on Monday, and it’s never too early to get ready.

Collier County laid out some changes Thursday to its preparedness plan because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to some of the homeowners in Naples Estate, they told us Hurricane Irma was one of the worst things they have ever gone through. That’s why they say they are going to take the county’s advice to prepare.

Dailey says she can recall riding out the storm in her home.

“It was terrible, very bad. I thought the roof was gone,” Dailey said. “There was aluminum everywhere. There was the insulation everywhere.”

President Donald Trump toured the devastation in a local neighborhood in Collier County shortly after the storm.

Collier County does not want any residents to be unprepared for this upcoming hurricane season.

“We can’t ignore the threats of the hurricane season on the way,” Kathleen Passidomo said. “We know too well how damaging hurricanes can be.”

Collier County Bureau of Emergency Services has been working with FEMA and the CDC on hurricane shelter regulations.

“If someone is frail or elderly or feels ill, we are going to handle that on a case-by-case basis,” said Dan Summers, the director of Collier County Bureau of Emergency, during a press conference.

They hope to use the shelters as a last resort.

“There might be an opportunity depending on the storm where we would ask you to stay home for those newly built structures,” Summers said.

The emergency management team says they will also reduce the capacity of hurricane shelters to maintain social distancing. They will also eliminate lines and do bagged meals.

Homeowners are already getting their hurricane kit ready.

“I’m preparing now,” Dailey said. “I’m ready just stocking up and doing what you got to do.”

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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