Lee County officials in southwest Florida are implementing a mandatory evacuation order for residents living in zone A and parts of the county’s zone B, officials said Tuesday.
“This morning’s evacuation was a mandatory evacuation order, and the more imperative that is, the better,” Lee County Administrator Roger Desjarlais said at a news conference Tuesday. “We’re not going door-to-door to force people to leave, but we are emphasizing the importance of people staying out of harm’s way.”
Zone A is often surrounded by low-lying areas that tend to flood, Desjarlais said. People living in mobile and manufacturing homes are also encouraged to leave, he added.
Government offices are closed on Tuesday and will not reopen until Thursday. based on county website. All toll collection points in Lee County are suspended “until further notice,” the county added.
The county school district and its offices, serve almost 100,000 students, currently also closed Tuesday and Wednesday. School officials said they would reevaluate when will reopen at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
There are 10 pet-friendly emergency shelters open across the county at 9 a.m. ET, Desjarlais said. Residents are looking for information about shelter, information about the area, as well as where Ian is, can check county website and Facebook.
County Sheriff Carmine Marceno, also present at the news conference, emphasized the uncertainty of the storm at this time.
“I just wanted to make it clear that we are going to feel this storm – how bad it is is yet to be determined,” said Marceno. “Let’s understand and we emphasize the fact that once a sustained gust of 45 mph, law enforcement, emergency personnel, won’t respond. So God forbid someone doesn’t need 911 and they dial, a law enforcement officer won’t go to respond until it’s safe.”
Lee County is about 132 miles west of West Palm Beach, Florida.