Lehigh powerless in Irma’s wake
September 13, 2017


Most, if not all, Lehigh Acres residents were still without power Tuesday, including all 29,151 customers of Lee County Electric Coop.

"We are aware that Lehigh customers have no running water when the power is out because they are on well and septic systems," said Karen Ryan, LCEC spokesperson on Tuesday. "Power companies like Florida Power & Light are aware of it and working on restoration. We have a lot of resources working in Lehigh."

Ryan said the problem is that a main transmission line is down that serves Lehigh, a line shared by LCEC and FP&L.

"They are working on it now and there should be some progress," Ryan said. "We recommend that those residents make other arrangements to stay somewhere with power until service is restored. They are a priority."

Lehigh resident Christina Stumbaugh, an FP&L customer, said she was told she could be without power until Sept. 22.

"No power equals no water," she said. "We can't draw water to boil it. We can't shower. I have no internet and my phone is dying. I hope FP&L knows our basic human conditions. We're trapped in our house, can't get out because of the water in the neighborhood."

FPL on Tuesday sent out a text to customers affected by Hurricane Irma, which blew through Lee County Sunday with Category 2 force winds.

"We expect to restore the West Coast area by end of day, Sept. 22, except for areas impact by tornados and severe flooding."

The power company advised customers to refer to for updates.

Customers may also receive daily alerts.

Ryan understands the plight of Lehigh residents.

"My heart goes out to those people. I think the frustration is they don't see trucks or anyone working on restoring power in their neighborhood," said Ryan. "As I said, a main line is down."

Lehigh also saw street flooding.

The Lee County Department of Transportation issued a post-Irma update on Tuesday.

Lee County DOT will increase the number of crews clearing debris off roads and streets in Lehigh Acres to 10 crews on Wednesday, officials said.

Meanwhile, DOT crews continue to check Lehigh for drainage issues, the release states.

As of Tuesday afternoon, roads closed due to high water countywide include:

- Burnt Store Road from Gulfstream Parkway to Durden Parkway

- Orange River Boulevard from Long Lake Drive to Shady River Lane

Roads under water with signs posted:

- Bonita Beach Road at Imperial Parkway

- Bonita Beach Road at Oakland Drive

- Bonita Beach Road at Downs Drive

- Bonita Grande Boulevard at Bonita Beach Road

- Bonita Grande Drive at East Terry Street

- East Terry Street at Kent Road

- Pinecrest Lane at East Terry Street

- Dean Street west of Imperial Parkway

- Imperial Parkway north of Bonita Beach Road

- Constitution Circle at Cypress Drive North

- Cemetery Road east of Buckingham Road

- Pritchett Parkway south of Rich Road

- Lee Boulevard at Leonard Boulevard

- Lee Boulevard at Westgate Boulevard

DOT has completed work clearing streets and roads on Captiva.

For residents dealing with more than loss of power and water and street flooding, online registration has been set up to report property loss.

Property owners with losses due to Hurricane Irma in Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties may now register for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to state and federal officials.

Individuals can register online at: or through the FEMA App.

The state also warns again repair scams.

"If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is and could be fraud," said Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis in a prepared statement. "Opportunistic scammers may attempt to defraud Floridians following Hurricane Irma, and I encourage all Floridians to be vigilant in guarding against fraud. Floridians should report suspicious activity ASAP by calling 1-877-693-5236."


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