SWFL Red Cross plans to open evacuation centers

Posted at 8:22 PM, Oct 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-05 06:57:31-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The American Red Cross in Southwest Florida is now on standby, just in case it has to take in people evacuating from Florida's east coast. 

The Red Cross of the Southern Gulf is paying very close attention to Hendry, Glades and Inland Collier County that are under a Tropical Storm Watch, and Lake Okeechobee that is under A Hurricane Watch as of the 8PM advisory. 

Officials say if an evacuation order is issued for those areas, shelters in Lee, Charlotte and Collier Counties may be used to accommodate people leaving the east coast. 

They are not ruling out a substantial impact to Lee, Charlotte or Collier Counties, so residents need to begin preparing themselves for the storm. 

" Now is the time to make sure your kits are ready to go, you don't want to take any chances and you want to be prepared no matter how this situation plays out. Be prepared no matter what the scenario may plan out to be" says Justin Mcelwee, the Disaster Program Director. 

The Red Cross also says to start putting a safety plan together, find out where the nearest shelters are, make sure to have food and water for at least 3 days and be sure to check on any elderly or special needs neighbors to make sure they also have a plan.