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Lee County closing shelters as Nicole tracks away from SWFL

Posted at 10:41 PM, Nov 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-10 10:44:17-05

UPDATE 11/10: Lee County confirms the two shelters will be closing at midday Thursday as the risks associated with Tropical Storm Nicole lessen.

LeeTran will be ready to transport people back to the transfer stations they used to travel to the shelters.

Our original reporting continues below:
Whether getting ready for power to be out or taking outside objects inside, people are getting ready for Nicole.

Lee County opened shelters today for people living in damaged homes, RVs or tents because of Hurricane Ian. Two shelters have opened- one at the North Fort Myers Recreation Center and the other being a little more than 23 miles away at the Estero Recreation Center.

It has some feeling thankful they have a roof over their heads.

"It’s a big dorm in there and you have to bring your own beds and your own food but it’s a place out of the weather.”

Christopher Watson is one of those staying at the shelter in North Fort Myers. His family of 12 have been looking for a place to be protected from Hurricane Nicole.

"We moved down here for a new home and on the way down here we were supposed to be in the home but it got messed up during the storm," said Watson. "It had black mold so our kids could not live in it and we could not move them in there.”

A spokesperson with Lee County tells us a little more than a dozen people are staying in Estero and about 50 are registered to stay in North Fort Myers. Both shelters are pet-friendly and people can arrive at any time.

The county has also activated its emergency transportation plan, using LeeTran buses to shuttle people to and from shelters that were in place after Hurricane Ian.

Watson says he and his family have been homeless for six weeks moving from shelter to shelter. But the fact he has family with him he says makes it a little more comforting.

"We’ve lived a hard way in the past so we know how to come together as a family and just keep everybody safe," he says. "Make a life in Fort Myers.”

Watson tells me he and his family will be staying at this shelter thru Friday. As for plans afterward, this life really is “day to day” for now. He says he and his brothers hope to find construction work.

Both shelters are expected to remain open for the next couple of days.