Officials need time to assess damage from Hurricane Matthew
“Please be patient,” that’s one of the messages Flagler County Public Safety Emergency Manager Steve Garten wanted to send to the residents of Flagler during the county’s afternoon update.
He also said that everyone should stay where they are and not attempt to return home until the county has declared it safe to do so.
One of the biggest areas of concern is the beachside. Storm surge has claimed sections of A1A and, at least half of the Flagler Beach Pier has collapsed into the ocean.
Garten said crews are out assessing the damage, looking for live, down electrical lines, and removing debris provide road access to repair and emergency crews.
The bridges are closed and people will be turned away.
It’s all about safety. The Department of Transportation will have to inspect the bridges to verify the storm has not compromised their stability.
“We will be sending out press releases when it is safe to drive and people can return home,” Garten said.
At one point, Garten said, the storm surge reached 17 feet.
“Our primary concern is life, that is what we are focused on now,” Garten said. “Property is number two.”
Residents who have to seek shelter because their homes have been compromised and can no longer stay in their home, should go to the Buddy Taylor Middle School shelter on Belle Terre Blvd.
Flagler County remains under a curfew from 7 p.m. tonight to 7 a.m. Saturday morning. The Flagler County Sheriff’s office will be enforcing the curfew.
Many residents may have found shelter in Pinellas County on the Gulf coast, where 15-20 shelters were opened for East coast residents fleeing the storm.
“Where you are at is where you need to stay,” Garten said.