Post storm precautions
Tropical Storm Elsa breezed by Southwest Florida late Tuesday night before making landfall in Taylor County at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Lee County saw some wind, with gusts of 46 mph recorded at Tarpon Point in the Cape, and rain — a deluge of rain — Tuesday through Wednesday.
Lee Countians followed standard protocols both before and after the storm:
We gassed up. We topped off. We stocked up. And we more or less went about our business until Tuesday afternoon when all public, and many private, organizations and businesses closed early in advance of the storm.
Unfortunately, for many of us Wednesday, it was also SOP as we hit the streets and headed back about our business.
That means some of us — as some usually do — tried to traverse streets holding standing water, resulting in a spate of stranded vehicles.
How many streets?
The Cape Coral Police Department summed the situation up succinctly:
“Following this post is a list of flooded areas in Cape Coral… but it would be quicker to just say ‘everywhere.’ If you don’t have to venture out today, try not to. Do not drive through standing water; Patrol officers are assisting several motorists stranded in water,” the CCPD stated on its Facebook page Wednesday.
Streets listed were:
– Diplomat Parkway (essentially all of it)
– Trafalgar Parkway (all of it)
– Tropicana Parkway (100 block east)
– Santa Barbara Boulevard (Diplomat to Pine Island Road)
– Nicholas Parkway (both west/east of Santa Barbara)
– Hancock Bridge Parkway (from Santa Barbara to Cultural Park Boulevard.)
– Cape Coral Parkway West (right lanes of both east/westbound)
– 3400 and 4400 blocks of Skyline Boulevard
– Southwest 32nd Street (1700 to 2000 block)
– Chiquita Boulevard and Southwest 14th Terrace
– 200 block of Southeast 10th Terrace
– 400 block of Southwest 7th Court
– Southeast 9th Avenue (near Post Office)
– The Crossings complex (1100 Hancock Creek South Boulevard)
– Beach Parkway West and Southwest 17th Avenue
– Embers Parkway and Burnt Store Road
The extent of the temporary street flooding is of little surprise, given how much rain we received.
According to the National Weather Service, Cape Coral received 6.83 inches of rain.
Burnt Store Fire Station No. 17 recorded 2.24 inches of rain on Tuesday and 5.12 inches on Wednesday for a total of 7.35 inches, according to Lee County.
Put into context, Lee County’s mean rainfall for the month of July is about 9.4 inches.
A couple of things for next time as Elsa, for Southwest Florida anyway, was little more than a trainer storm.
Thank goodness. Others were not so lucky.
First the obvious for those who may be new to the Gulf Coast. Given enough rain, many streets and roadways may hold water. Do not attempt to drive through flooded streets. Not only may you get stuck, your vehicle could wind up in a swale or nearby retention pond.
And while big puddles are tempting to children and pets, let neither romp through standing water or streetside swales designed to remove runoff.
The Florida Department of Health in Lee County issued a post-Elsa warning that such waters can be contaminated with fecal matter and other waste.
Health officials also remind us to disinfect any toys found floating in flooded backyards, using 1/4 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water for a wash-and-rinse.
Please also be alert to wildlife like snakes and alligators that may have been displaced as a result of the flooding or storm, health officials advised, adding “If you see a snake or other wildlife, back away from it slowly and do not touch it.”
If the snake is in your home, they suggest calling for assistance in its removal.
We thank the CCPD and Health Department for their good advice.
If you have any hurricane snacks still left, enjoy.
And please stay safe as hurricane season 2021 unfolds.