Sunday, October 23, 2005

Southwest Florida Readies For Hurricane Wilma

LABELLE, FL. (Oct. 23, 2005) -- Expecting a landfall of the eye of
Hurricane Wilma sometime Monday, residents from Sarasota to Key West are
making preparations for storm winds and rain. In Hendry and Glades county
emergency shelters are expected to open Sunday afternoon, while governent
office and schools have announced closing the first part of the week.
Garbage collections has been suspended for Monday and Tuesday.

Southwest Florida county officials seem to not be talking to one another as
what appears to be random times of bridge closings and curfews are being
announced hourly. Glades county announced curfews from dusk to dawn,
Collier county from 10 pm to 6 am, and Hendry county none. The Ft. Denaud
Bridge in Hendry county will close with winds above 25 mph, the Sanibel
Bridge in Lee county at 45 mph. Other bridges in Southwest Florida will
stop allowing traffic at other varioius wind speeds.

Early Sunday morning announcements by the National Weather Service call for
the center of Wilma to cross the Florida coast "somewhere in Collier
county" early Monday morning, but cautions not to concentrate on the exact
forecast of the center "because the error inherent 24 hours awy from
landfall can be as mush as 70 miles north or south which includes all of
Collier county and mainland Monroe countys. The Center says Lake Okeechobee
can possibly expect a storm tide of 18 to 20 feet above mean sea level
Monday morning, or 3 to 5 feet above current levels on the south side from
Fisheating Creek to Belle Glade.
Probabilities posted by the Center say south Florida has a 70 to 80 percent
chance of tropical storm conditions, and a 40 to 55 percent chance of winds
in excess of 58 mph. The chance of winds in excess of 74 mph is from 10 to
15 percent.

Madatory evacuations for low lying lands in Lee county and Cape Coral and
the barrier islands, voluntary evacuations in Hendry and Glades county of
low lying land and mobile homes.

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