Cape Coral gets more power on, showers, food a week after Hurricane Ian

At Jim Jeffers Park in Cape Coral a mother, daughter, and grandmother gather their towels, soaps, and clothes.

Brandy Grogan has been without power and hot water since Oct. 28 — the day Hurricane Ian delivered its nasty blow; the last time she had a proper shower was at a friend's home two days ago.

Like many Cape Coral residents she is without power as Lee County Electric Cooperative continues the slow work to restore 81,000 customers without power. 

LCEC say that 21.3% of Cape Coral residents now have power, while 74,199 residents are out, as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, meaning 6,801 customer regained power since 6 a.m.

The cooperative also added that it has restored approximately 50% of total customers in Marco Island, Immokalee, Carnestown, Lehigh Acres, North Fort Myers, and Cape Coral.

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Grogan's home is hot during the day, and she's been sweating thanks to all the yard work she's been doing to fix the damage her home incurred.

It was her daughter's birthday, and all she wanted was a shower.

"She's very excited, she got to take a shower," Grogan said.

They emerged from a trailer with several shower rooms, a hygiene station set up by the city of Cape Coral for residents in desperate need of a shower amid the recovery chaos.

"I don't know what other words besides it sucks," Grogan said.

"That's the best birthday present I could ever get," said her daughter Kailyn, who just turned 15.

Her family had never experienced a hurricane like Ian before, but she said they were lucky to only lose their fence, a window, and some roof shingles.

"But at least we're here because let me just say next time there's one I will be leaving," Grogan said.

Her mother, Carol Grogan, said the experience makes her want to move out of Florida after witnessing all the damage and lost lives.

Carol, Kailyn, and Brandy Grogan, left to right, head back to their car after getting showers at a Cape Coral hygiene station.
Carol, Kailyn, and Brandy Grogan, left to right, head back to their car after getting showers at a Cape Coral hygiene station.

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The family said they barely got a generator, but it only powered their light, and they had to charge their phone in a car.

However, she is grateful for the shower and all the help that has been offered by the city.

"I do thank everybody for all the work and all the hard work they're putting in for water, ice, and electric, and I know everybody's working their hardest," Brandy Grogan said. "People came down long ways just to help, and I appreciate it and thank everybody for all their hard work.

Hurricane Ian help in Cape Coral

A new point of distribution center in Cape Coral where residents can get food, water, and ice.
A new point of distribution center in Cape Coral where residents can get food, water, and ice.

Cape Coral has been working to provide places like the hygiene station and different points of distribution for water, ice, and food throughout the city.

Cape Coral City Council on Monday unanimously approved a state of emergency extension starting Tuesday, waived permit fees, and allowed residents to have temporary habitable structures and storage.

The city recently restored its water system, but a boil water notice stops residents from using their running water for cooking, drinking, and brushing their teeth.

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There are three points of distribution centers around the city.

The city's newest point at Coral Oaks Golf Course had served nearly 200 vehicles as of Wednesday morning.

Several U.S. Army personnel from Tallahassee came to Southwest Florida to distribute food to residents in a drive-thru-style line.

"This is the first time I've seen all of my soldiers happy, not a single complaint. They love it out here. They love helping the community," Lt. Stephen Augustyniak said.

Hurricane Ian hits home

Rochelle Howard put away her groceries and fully stocked her fridge after returning to Cape Coral on Monday.

During Ian, part of her roof collapsed and sent water flooding into her home.

"'Oh my god, the roof is about to go off this house,'" she said she remembers thinking. "I've never heard anything like it before in my life."

Howard lives at her parent's home while her parents only live there part-time, and she scrambled to leave the home.

She had trapped herself in her car while the wind ravaged the city until her neighbors invited her into their home after the wind died down. She was able to stay there until the next morning.

The roof was tarped a few days after, but she still has to deal with the huge hole and water damage in her roof.

Her house had running water and power after returning Monday.

"I'm very fortunate because a lot of people had it way worse than I did, way worse than I have it," Howard said.

Luis Zambrano is a Watchdog/Cape Coral reporter for The News-Press and the Naples Daily News. You can reach Luis at Follow him on Twitter @Lz2official.

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Hurricane Ian: Cape Coral power progress a week later