Crews are out in Naples, Fla., checking for damage after Ian's wrath
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Naples, Fla., is on the Gulf Coast of Florida, just south of where Hurricane Ian made landfall. Jay Boodheshwar is the city manager of Naples, and he is on the line now. Thank you so much for taking the time on this, no doubt, very busy morning for you.
JAY BOODHESHWAR: Of course. Glad to be with you.
MARTIN: What does Naples look like right now?
BOODHESHWAR: Well, it's still a little dark. Sunrise doesn't happen for another 10 minutes or so. But we've already got crews out in the community, and we will soon begin to see what Ian left behind.
MARTIN: Have you had any reports about the levels of storm surge?
BOODHESHWAR: Yes. I mean, we started seeing water pretty early yesterday morning as the tides began to come in and the surge began to grow. Water effectively breached the community from both the Gulf side and the bay side. And there are points in Naples where the Gulf did meet the bay. We've heard preliminary numbers up to nine feet of storm surge. I can tell you here at city hall, we probably experienced about five feet of water from the road, from the surface of the road up to the front steps of city hall. It was significant.
MARTIN: We're seeing reports that a lot of streets in Naples are just totally unpassable at this point. Can you confirm that?
BOODHESHWAR: Yes, absolutely. We have a mandatory curfew in effect right now. It is absolutely too dangerous to be on the roads here in Naples. We have quite a few streets, especially some of our main arterial roads along the Gulf, that are still holding water. We had three damage assessment teams assemble last night to begin assessing the situation late last night so we could be better prepared this morning. The team that I was with, we were going to attempt to survey the south side of Naples, but most of the roads were impassable still through the water.
MARTIN: Let me just ask, in the brief time we have remaining, what about people who were living in flood zones, people who didn't heed evacuation orders? How many folks are trapped?
BOODHESHWAR: We had, at the height of this storm yesterday when we could not respond, about 50 pending calls from residents who were safe. They were able to reach higher ground, but they needed help. We were able to rescue about a dozen residents who were trapped in cars from the fast-moving water, and I got them to safety.
MARTIN: But no doubt those rescues continue. Do you have the resources you need right now?
BOODHESHWAR: We have - we're going to need more resources for sure, both from the private sector - FP&L is mobilizing, as you reported earlier. But we are coordinating with the county, and there are strike teams being assembled from all over the state that will be heading over here to the west coast to assist their sister cities.
MARTIN: Are you nervous about what you're going to see when the sun comes up?
BOODHESHWAR: Yeah, we're absolutely concerned. You know, we're fortunate that most people evacuated, though.
MARTIN: Naples City manager Jay Boodheshwar, thank you for taking the time. Our thoughts are with you all.
BOODHESHWAR: Absolutely. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.