FORT MYERS, Fla. — For the most part, Hurricane Elsa is showing Southwest Florida some mercy. The storm passed though the Island Park pretty quickly, which is exactly what the community hoped for.
I visited the area during the storm to see what turned out to be just another rainy day, but to the people who live in the area, Elsa was a reminder of what Mother Nature could do.
Just four years ago, Hurricane Irma ripped through the area and left the place flooded for weeks. A local barber I spoke with says his shop was right across from the flooding.
“Cars were flooded to the top of the car for about two weeks. Yea it was pretty bad," he said. "There was a mobile home park up the road, they closed it down for about six or seven months.”
After the Irma, Lee County was granted 7.1 million for flooding prevention and the folks in Island Park say they haven't seen flooding like Irma since. However, that didn't stop the people here from making sure they were ready for Hurricane Elsa. It's the first major storm of the hurricane season to reach the area, but for those working and living in Island Park, hurricane preparation is very serious.
“Living here in Florida you have to be aware, cut down your trees board up your windows, get water, get gas. Simple stuff, that’s what we live for down here," he said. "At the end of the day, you get a lot of people that leave but the ones that stay have to be prepared.”
Thankfully, Elsa turned out to be not so bad. So at least for now, the folks in Island Park can rest easy and wait on what else this hurricane season will bring.