Sanibel declares State of Emergency ahead of Hurricane Ian, under mandatory evacuation

Published: September 26, 2022 5:29 PM EDT
Updated: September 27, 2022 6:22 PM EDT

Storm surges and beach erosion are very real threats for a significant portion of Southwest Florida, particularly in Sanibel. A formal state of emergency was declared on Monday evening.

On Tuesday, a mandatory evacuation was ordered for Sanibel. The mayor of Sanibel has issued a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Island Water Association employees will evacuate by 9 p.m. IWA will transition to its low-pressure diesel auxiliary pump to continue water service until the stored water or fuel is depleted.

A precautionary boil water advisory will be in effect beginning at 1 a.m. on Wednesday.

The Sanibel Recreation Center will be closed on Wednesday.

The city said there will be no solid waste collection on Wednesday.

Mayor Holly Smith told WINK News the main purpose of recommending evacuation was to get people to get their secondary plans together if Hurricane Ian does get bad.

“What we also know from our history is things can change very quickly. I was here for Charlie, it was supposed to go in one direction, and it pivoted and we found out that morning, and it had devastating effects to this island. So, we learn from the experience that we have, whether it’s Charlie, whether it’s Irma, and all the ones in between,” Smith said.

Whether the situation does end up becoming a mandatory evacuation will ultimately be up to the county to decide.

Sanibel Police Chief William Dalton said if winds hit 40 miles per hour the causeway to close.

If the causeway is shut down for any period of time anyone who needs to get back to their property on the island when it reopens should make sure to get a reentry pass which will streamline the process.

Click here to go to the website where you can apply for the reentry pass.

WINK News spoke with city manager Dana Souza about storm surge and other concerns Monday afternoon.

“The storm surge, when you’re on a barrier island, with an elevation of four, (or) five above sea level, you have a storm surge that could be four feet to seven feet or higher, that means the island would be inundated with water. And not just that, it will slowly come on that it’s coming in with storm force winds, so that surge, which is why it’s called a storm surge, is a concern for both person and property,” Souza said.