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Many tourists planning to ride out Tropical Storm Elsa in Fort Myers Beach after 4th of July

Posted at 12:19 AM, Jul 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-05 00:19:01-04

FORT MYERS BEACH — For the 4th of July, there was no busier place in Southwest Florida than Fort Myers Beach.

But looming on the horizon only about a day away is Tropical Storm Elsa.

"Everybody should have their plan in place already. You should have your supplies," said Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy.

Murphy said the people who live in the town know what to do. The problem is that a lot of people just got there.

We asked Billy Swanson, who was visiting from Georgia, if he had ever been through a hurricane.

"No sir, always evacuated," said Swanson.

"I don’t know what’s going to happen. This is going to be my first experience here in Fort Myers," said Dion Serrano, a server at the restaurant Plaka on the Beach.

"It’s pretty crazy, we don’t know what to do yet. We’re trying to see where we’re going to go, where the storm goes," said Brooke Fox, who just moved to Fort Myers Beach a month ago.

So as the fireworks go off, Murphy says people need to be aware of the precautions Fort Myers Beach takes if Mother Nature brings some fireworks of her own.

"When it gets to be over 45 miles per hour, that bridge will close. Sustained, sustained winds of 45 miles per hour or greater," said Murphy

"No coming onto the bridge or off of the bridge, so wherever you’re at you’re stuck there I guess when the storm comes," said Fox.

And if you’re on a boat out in the water when the weather gets rough, Murphy said you may be on your own.

"The emergency people, they have to protect themselves. They're not going to put their own people at risk in a situation like that," said Murphy.

But at least for the 4th, the weather stayed beautiful, and everyone we spoke with said, they’re going to stick around.

"I mean we’ll be smart about it, but right now, we’re planning on riding it out," said Swanson.

"Enjoy the 4th of July, before the storm is coming," said Serrano.

Murphy told us, the biggest things he wants people to know is to not panic if the storm does come. He said he couldn’t think of a better place to be stuck for a few days than Fort Myers Beach.