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Fort Myers Beach returners need to be prepared

Posted at 6:27 AM, Oct 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-10 08:54:34-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — As of this weekend, Fort Myers Beach is back open to residents and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office is asking people to be careful as they show back up to where they call home.

It’s the beginning stages for the coastal community that’s looking to rebuild.

There is no power on the island, no water or wastewater service, and no trash pickup.

Internet and cell service aren’t at full strength, many structures are destroyed, and most are unsafe to enter.

Here are some pictures from the air when we got our first looks at the damage to Fort Myers Beach last week.

Now as far as getting here, Big Carlos Pass Bridge remains closed at this time.

And residents should plan to leave the island before 7 pm tonight that’s when a curfew starts for everyone on the island.

Everyone who wants to come to the island needs to know several things:

There is no power, no water or wastewater service and no trash pickup. Internet and cellular service is not at full strength. Many structures are destroyed, and almost all are unsafe to enter. There is no food or water available on the island, and no businesses are open. Big Carlos Pass Bridge remains closed. A curfew at 7 pm remains in place and those that come to check on their properties should plan to leave the island before 7 pm.

The island was covered in 12-18 feet of salt water from the storm surge. The structural integrity of many homes and buildings is compromised. The electrical systems of most structures on the island are damaged.

Permits and inspections will be required before power will be turned back on to individual structures. The town recommends property owners use locally licensed contractors.

Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams from FEMA will be on the island in the coming days to help people register for federal disaster assistance. Residents can also register online at or on the phone at 1-800-621-3362.

An interim Town Hall has been set up beside the damaged Town Hall. Details on required permits and inspections will be made available on the Town’s website and social media channels.

It’s critical that personal vehicles on the island do not block streets, or hinder operations like debris removal.

Representatives from the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Lee County Public Safety, incident management teams and others are assisting the Town in moving forward through the recovery process.