Fort Myers Braces For Impact

Sep 10, 2017
Originally published on September 11, 2017 2:45 pm
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And we return to our Florida coverage. Hurricane Irma is moving up Florida's west coast as a powerful Category 4 storm. Just a few days ago, people on the west coast thought that they were relatively safe on that side of Florida, but now they are bracing for the storm's direct impact.

NPR's Camila Domonoske is in Fort Myers, Fla., right in the storm's predicted path, and she joins us from the studios of member station WGCU. Camila, tell us what the conditions are like there now.

CAMILA DOMONOSKE, BYLINE: It's getting rough out there. Here at the station we've lost power. We're running on a generator, definitely not alone in that. There's more than 1.3 million power outages across the state. Here in Fort Myers weather is picking up. We have got gusts of nearly 50 mph. Just south of here in Naples they're measuring 75 mph, and it's going to continue to deteriorate.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, we should mention that here at WLRN in South Florida we - that station has been knocked off the air because of the storm. How close is this hurricane expected to pass to where you are?

DOMONOSKE: Very close. It's currently less than a hundred miles south of us, and it's going to go right past. With that eye expected to remain out over the water, that's not a good thing. It's not like...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We seem to have lost Camila Domonoske. Camila, are you there? As we have heard, the - as we have heard, the situation there is extremely precarious. In fact, here at the WLRN newsroom we actually - the station here lost its - lost its power, and we're going to bring in Linda Wertheimer to fill you in some more on the situation here in Florida.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

I'm watching from a very much drier place, I think.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yes, indeed.

WERTHEIMER: But this - as this hurricane moves up the west coast, they are - I gather from what Camila has said that the hurricane is expected to - instead of losing power, as we might have imagined it, that it might gain strength because it's - the eye of the hurricane is out at sea.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, the eye of the hurricane is out at sea. And of course, that does feed the storm. And you have to realize that here in Florida they are used to storms, but that west coast is really not. I mean, I think it's been 90 years since they've had a storm this big hit it. They are doing what they can. We've been speaking with first responders and, you know, mayors all morning, but they do not know how severe the aftereffects are going to be.

We've been hearing also from the governor of the state, Rick Scott, who has asked for emergency aid from the federal government, from President Trump, because he feels that the state will be affected so severely. So this is really being felt from coast to coast in Florida. The entire state is really feeling the effects of this major storm.

WERTHEIMER: It's extraordinary to look at the political situation in which the president finds himself as far as hurricane relief is concerned because there was a law - there's some history with very conservative Republicans moving to block - to block this kind of relief when the hurricane in question was on the east coast of - the northeast coast of the United States.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, Hurricane Sandy in particular. But now he's facing relief in Texas, and now the aftereffects of the hurricane here. So yes, indeed, a lot on the president's plate, as - a lot on Florida's plate as well.

WERTHEIMER: NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro, who is in Florida hoping for the best.

(SOUNDBITE OF , "")

WERTHEIMER: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.