We are so happy to remind everyone that all 90 of our vacation properties survived Hurricane Irma and that Fort Myers Beach is ready for visitors!
Because many of you have expressed concern for us and wondered what the storm was like, here’s our story.
Preparing for Irma
Ron, Buddy the cockapoo and Judith heeded the mandatory evacuation order Saturday, Sept. 9 after securing our properties. Our team, augmented by our wonderful contractors, put up hurricane shutters, moved outdoor items inside and raised items to second floors wherever possible. Then, we headed to a hotel by the airport with our most important papers, gas, food and water to hunker down and wait for Irma, not knowing if the island and our business would survive.
This was not our first hurricane, so we knew what to expect…or thought so.
What Irma Brought to Southwest Florida
Hurricane Irma was forecast to hit Southwest Florida as a Category 5 hurricane with a 10- to 15-foot storm surge above ground. It made landfall on the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 10 over Marco Island in Collier County as a Category 3. Fortunately, it weakened further to a Category 2 by the time it came over Fort Myers Beach. That worked to our benefit.
The storm also took a jog to our right, moving the eye more over the hotel where we were staying (!), which helped reduce the predicted storm surge and gave us minimal water level rise.
A member of our staff drove to Fort Myers Beach the Monday afternoon after the storm and took this picture (right) from the bridge, showing calm water, undamaged boats, and the last clouds from Hurricane Irma in the sky.
The majority of damage on Fort Myers Beach is landscaping with several pool cages destroyed and only a few roofs damaged. Some trees that enhanced the island are gone, but most of the buildings survived relatively unscathed. It still feels like home, and will to you, too.
What Comes Next
Our office re-opened on Sept. 13, and we are busy answering phones and returning messages. We understand your interest in the status of your home or rental property and appreciate your patience as we give each of you personalized attention.
We are checking all of our properties and arranging any needed minor repairs. Visit our Sun Palace Vacations website to check the status of an individual property.
Power is being restored quickly throughout Fort Myers Beach. More and more restaurants, grocery stores, shops, and activities are opening daily. The beach is accessible and still so very inviting.
Fort Myers Beach was opened to non-residents beginning on Wed., Sept. 13. So, we have begun welcoming guests
Thank You for Your Support
Ron, Judith, and our entire staff at Sun Palace Vacations want to thank our friends, VR buddies, guests and owners who sent such fabulous energy and prayer to our tiny island.
We appreciate your trust! And we thank you for your love, loyalty, support, and friendship.
Ron took the top photo under the Matanzas Bridge on Sept. 13, three days after Hurricane Irma. He says it signifies his gratitude for surviving the storm and celebrates a new day in paradise!