Hurricane Ian on path to make landfall in Florida

Heavy rain and wind is seen at the Caloosahatchee Bridge in Fort Myers, Florida, on Wednesday. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fort Myers, Florida, Fire Chief Tracy McMillion told CNN on Wednesday afternoon that the city is currently “in the thick of things,” urging people to stay sheltered in place. 

“We are in the thick of things,” McMillon said. “Now is the time to stay inside. One of the messages that we’re putting out there is to stay in and check in, talk to your family, talk to your relatives, let them know where you are.”

“In addition to that, we’re asking folks to stay away from windows, stay away from openings and get to a central place in your home that’s built up by walls, fairly narrow. And so, this way you can hunker in and kind of ride this out. We are in the thick of it,” the mayor added.

McMillion said that officials don’t know exactly how many people are waiting the storm out at home, but county partners have told them that there’s about 4,000 people in the shelters provided in the county and plenty of room left in them. It’s unclear how many people left the area completely, he said. 

“There’s really no way to really determine how many folks at this point in time are still in their homes, but that’s something that we’re going to be aggressive with when the time and opportunity gets available for us to get back on the roads and start doing emergency response with our first responders,” he said. 

After the storm moves through, “we’re not really sure what it’s going to look like, and this is one of the things when it comes to storms, especially big storms like this one,” he said. “We don’t know the cards or the hand that we’re going to be dealt from Ian, but we are ready to actually play the deck and do the best we can to actually make sure our community’s safe as we go out with recovery efforts.”