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In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael

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UPDATE FROM WAKULLA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE:

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Wakulla County Sheriff's Office & Emergency Management Monday Morning Update ref Hurricane Michael Recovery

Wakulla County Emergency Management has created a call-in line to report damages to your home or property. Please call (850) 745-7115 to report damage to your house. If you receive a recording please leave your Name, Address, Phone Number and the type of damage you incurred.

Due to the extent of damages and debris, entry into the affected areas will be restricted to residents, property owners, invited guests, emergency personnel and recovery crews.

Wakulla Emergency Management along with the Red Cross has opened a post disaster shelter at the One-Stop Community center located at 318 Shadeville Highway in Crawfordville on October 12, 2018. 

A Salvation Army mobile canteen is scheduled to provide a hot meal in Saint Marks, Shell Point, Panacea and Ochlockonee Bay started October 12, 2018, with the following time schedule. 

Saint Marks 850 Port Leon Drive 12:00 pm (Noon) 5:00 pm

Shell Point Fire Department 2:00 pm 7:00 pm

Panacea 1360 Coastal Highway 12:00 pm (Noon) 5:00 pm

Spring Creek At the end of Spring Creek Highway 2:00 pm 7:00 pm

Crawfordville Hudson Park 1:00 pm 5:00 pm

The Lake Ellen Baptist church has a kitchen providing hot meals from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm daily operating at their facility which is located at 4495 Crawfordville Highway. These meals are for all the citizens of Wakulla County free of charge.

A Point of Distribution for Disaster Relief, which includes Food and Water, is in operation at the Wakulla County Recreation Park which is located at 79 Recreation Drive in Medart. Wakulla County Emergency Management is working to provide future Points of Distribution in the coastal areas. Please check social media and other media outlets for times and any other updates.

Debris from the storm should be placed on the side of the county roadway. The debris should be separated, so that white goods (refrigerators, washers, other large metal objects, etc.) is separate from the organic and wood debris. All this debris should be placed beside the public roadway, but not closer than 3 feet of the roadway. Debris will NOT be picked up from private roadways. Residents on Federal Highways and State roadways must have their debris out as soon as possible, as the state will only be making one pass to pick it up. Spoiled food should be taken to the County landfill on Martin Luther King Memorial Blvd, where it can be placed in a dumpster for free or placed in your garbage can. Trees, Limbs and yard debris can also be taken to the landfill and dumped for free.

 

UPDATE: Wakulla High School football game against Florida High has been moved again – it will be played on Friday night, Oct. 19 at home at J.D. Jones Stadium at 7:30 p.m. That would have been the night of the big middle school showdown – Riversprings vs. Wakulla middle schools – which will now be held on Thursday, Oct. 18. That's when the JV was set to play, so that game will now be a road game at Rickards on Thursday, Oct. 18.

Still no official word on rescheduling Homecoming activities.

 

Small Business Administration: Please see the attached SBA disaster assistance news release (English and Spanish) and basic program information for Florida due to Hurricane Michael.  The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the opening of Business Recovery Centers (BRC) in Taylor and Wakulla Counties, Florida on Monday, Oct. 15, to help businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael.  The SBA offers low-interest, long-term disaster loans for physical damage and working capital.
 
Due to the severe damages caused by Hurricane Michael, recovery centers may not immediately open in the disaster area.  As a result, disaster survivors may register for federal assistance online at DisasterAssistance.gov and apply for SBA disaster loan assistance using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362.  Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should also call 800-621-3362.
 
Disaster survivors don’t have to wait to submit their insurance claim to apply for a SBA disaster loan because we can approve and disburse your loan funds while the claim is pending.  If a survivor does not know how much of their loss will be covered by insurance or other sources, SBA will consider making a loan for the total loss up to its loan limits, provided the borrower agrees to use insurance proceeds to reduce or repay their SBA loan.
 
SBA representatives at the Centers will provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and assist businesses with completing the SBA application.
 
Wakulla County
Wakulla County Community  Center
322 Shadeville Road
Crawfordville, FL 32327
 
Opens:   Monday, Oct. 15 at 11 a.m.
Hours:    Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.    Closed:  Sundays    

 
“The SBA is committed to facilitating economic recovery in this disaster.  We want area businesses to have a resource where they can meet individually with SBA representatives and find out how a low-interest disaster loan can help them recover,” said Kem Fleming, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.
 
Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.  Applicants may be eligible for a loan increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes.  Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.
 
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.  Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
 
Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate.  Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.
 
Interest rates are as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations and 2 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years.  Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
 
Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
 
SBA offers disaster loan assistance to businesses with the help of SBA's resource partners: the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), SCORE, and the Women Business Centers (WBCs). For more information on these services, please go to www.sba.gov to locate the nearest SBA district office and/or SBA's resource partners.
 
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Dec. 10, 2018.  The deadline to return economic injury applications is July 11, 2019

 

After midnight on Sunday, Oct. 14, Talquin reported that Duke has been working hard all day to restore their transmission service to all of our substations.  While some unexpected issues came up throughout the day, they have been able to restore their transmission lines to all of our substations, except the Hinson Substation in Gadsden County.  They expect to have their transmission to that station restored some time tomorrow evening, assuming no more unforeseen issues comes up.
We would like to once again thank all of our Members for their continued and well tested patience these last three days. Our crews have begun restoring power in all areas of our system tonight (except Hinson), and we expect to make significant progress tomorrow.

10:45PM Update:  % shows the percentage of Members in that county without power.

Leon              11,734 - 48%

Gadsden       13,705 - 91%

Wakulla          3,588 - 40%

Liberty           3,308 - 100%

 

On Friday, Oct. 12 – FREE HOTDOGS & SAUSAGE DOGS at Centennial Bank in Crawfordville!!! 

Crawfordville Centennial Bank will be cooking and giving away free hotdogs, sausage dogs, and water starting at 1: p.m. today until they are gone.

 

 

 

Corps of Engineers announces emergency permitting procedures following Hurricane Michael

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District announced it received authority to issue alternative/emergency permitting procedures in response to conditions resulting from Hurricane Michael.
Read the news release: https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/1659763/corps-of-engineers-announces-emergency-permitting-procedures-following-hurrican/fbclid/IwAR3U3SusB3S9YBkAjw5A3-iIVRiCHgcBQdO-6t7Iw_IJua49UpwbQYxt9jE/

 

UPDATE, 12:30 p.m. Oct. 10: Data from reconnaissance aircraft indicates that Michael continues to strengthen as it approaches the coast of the central Florida Panhandle. Maximum winds have increased to 150 mph and the central pressure has fallen to 923 millibars or 27.26 Inches. Michael is now approaching Category 5 strength.

Michael is expected to make landfall along the middle Florida Panhandle very near Panama City Beach within the next couple of hours as a borderline Category 4-5 hurricane. No Category 4 or higher hurricane have ever hit the Florida Panhandle in recorded history.

This WILL be a CATASTROPHIC, UNPRECEDENTED Hurricane Hit on the Florida Panhandle and Florida Big Bend, Especially For The Central & Eastern Florida Panhandle & Florida Big Bend.

Forecast Impacts:
Storm Surge:
Tyndall AFB FL to Keaton Beach FL, Including Port St. Joe, Apalachicola, St. Marks: 15 Feet PLUS.
Okaloosa/Walton County Line FL to Mexico Beach FL, Including Panama City Beach & Tyndall AFB : 10 Feet.
Keaton Beach FL to Cedar Key FL: 6 to 10 Feet.
Cedar Key FL to Chassahowitzka FL: 4 to 6 Feet.
Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island FL including Tampa Bay: 2 to 4 Feet.
Alabama/Florida border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line FL, Including Pensacola Beach & Fort Walton Beach: 2 to 4 Feet.

From Sheriff's Office: Wakulla First Responders went through Panacea area this morning trying to encourage citizens still there to evacuate and seek shelter. As of 11:30 a.m., First Responders went to shelter because of deteriorating weather conditions.

ROAD CLOSURES: S.R. 363 is closed from St. Marks City Hall to the St. Marks River.

From Emergency Management Director Randall Taylor: Michael is strengthening this morning and is currently a 100 mph hurricane. Satellite imagery and reports from reconnaissance aircraft indicate that the convection with the hurricane has nearly wrapped around the eyewall and an eye has just about popped out. In addition, the presentation of Michael on satellite is concerning. The radial fingers around the outer edge of the hurricane, the gravity waves seen near the eyewall and the overshooting thunderstorm tops all will cause the barometric pressure to decrease significantly and also cause the winds to increase substantially. It is very likely that Michael will become a major hurricane by this afternoon and will make landfall near Panama City Beach as a major hurricane on Wednesday afternoon. In fact, I have serious concerns that it could be as strong as a Category 4 hurricane when it makes landfall!!

Michael is headed on an almost due north track as the hurricane is caught between a ridge of high pressure centered off of the US East Coast and a upper level trough of low pressure located over the central United States. All of the model guidance are in excellent agreement now that Michael will make landfall very near Panama City Beach during Wednesday afternoon. I agree with this and also believe that Michael will roar ashore near Panama City Beach during Wednesday afternoon.

Looking at the forecast intensity of Michael – The amount of wind shear over Michael is expected to decrease over the next 24 hours to 9 to 14 knots and thus the hurricane is very likely to continue to strengthen. Given the presentation of the hurricane on satellite imagery, rapid intensification at times is quite possible between now and the time it makes landfall. At this point, I think that Michael will make landfall as a Category 3 major hurricane, but a borderline Category 3-4 hurricane cannot be ruled out at all.

My Landfall Forecast Is For Michael To Make Landfall As At Least A Category 3 Hurricane With At Least 120 mph winds on Wednesday Afternoon Very Near Panama City Beach. There is the very real possibility that Michael could be a Category 4 at landfall with 130 to 135 mph winds.

Either way, This WILL be a very major devastating hit on the Florida Panhandle and Florida Big Bend.

Forecast Impacts:
Storm Surge:
Indian Pass to Cedar Key, Including Apalachicola and St. Marks: 10 to 15 Feet.
Cedar Key to Crystal River: 6 to 10 Feet.
Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass: 5 to 10 Feet.
Crystal River to Anclote River: 4 to 6 Feet.
Anclote River to Anna Maria Island including Tampa Bay: 2 to 4 Feet.
Alabama-Florida border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line: 2 to 4 Feet.

If you live near the coast of the Florida Panhandle and Florida Big Bend and your elevation is below 25 feet, I strongly suggest a “road trip”. The coast where Michael makes landfall WILL be destroyed. Moving water is extremely powerful and all structures, except the concrete ones WILL be destroyed along the beach. If you stay along the beach of the Florida Panhandle and Florida Big Bend you will likely die. Bottom line – EVACUATE, especially if you are in one of the evacuation zones.

RESIDENTS OF THE OCHLOCKONEE BAY AND PANACEA AREA:  Sewer will be turned off at 6 p.m. Tuesday and will be back on as soon as the weather permits.

UPDATE, 10 a.m.: The National Weather Service is reporting that Michael has strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane and is expected to reach a Category 3 level before making landfall.

There will be a shuttle available today beginning at 12:30 at the Bayside Plaza in Panacea to transport those who are evacuating to a shelter in Leon County. A second shuttle will be available at the same location at 3:30 PM to transport evacuees to shelters in Leon County. Special Needs evacuees will be taken to Florida High School. If you or someone you are with is a special needs evacuee please call (850) 606-3700 to let the staff at Florida High know what you need and that you are coming...those who are not special needs will be taken to Lincoln and Godby High Schools.

On Tuesday, Oct. 9 at approximately 1 p.m., Talquin Electric will be de-energizing and pulling meters ONLY in the areas along the coast in Shell Point, Live Oak Island, Spring Creek and the low lying areas in that community. Talquin is pulling meters due to safety concerns from the predicted high storm surge threat to protect Members who are not evacuating and the emergency responders who will be working in the area. Electrical equipment that could be energized and in contact with water, along with other potential hazards, can create a serious danger of electrocution.

UPDATE: As of 5:42 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning and storm surge warning for Wakulla County.

A Hurricane Warning means hurricane-force winds are expected somewhere within this area within the next 36 hours.

A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, somewhere within this area within the next 36 hours.

The National Weather Service also projects peak rainfall at 6-10 inches for coastal Wakulla with locally higher amounts.

UPDATE: 1:40 p.m. Wakulla Superintendent of Schools Bobby Pearce said Wakulla County Schools will be closed on Tuesday, Oct. 9, through Friday, Oct. 12. Students will return to school at the earliest on Tuesday, Oct. 16 as Monday, Oct. 15 is a scheduled teacher planning day.

Emergency Operations Director Randall Taylor said there is about the 1 percent chance that the storm will arrive Monday night, but he's expecting the storm to hit Wakulla County Wednesday morning.

There is a mandatory evacuation for the coastal part of the county – from Sopchoppy south.

Emergency Management is anticipating the possibility of a 10 to 12 foot storm surge when Michael makes landfall – Michael is  expected to be a Category 4 hurricane when it makes landfall.

"We're staring down one of the worst storms in Wakulla County based on their projections," Taylor said. "We're preparing for the worse and hoping for the best."

Because of the anticipated severity of Michael, the emergency shelter at Crawfordville Elementary will not be opened. Evacuees are being told to head north away from the storm. Taylor is urging people to evacuate outside of the hurricane's projected path.

Florida High School at 2000 School House Road in Tallahassee will serve as a special needs shelter.

"It's not safe to go to Tallahassee to a hotel," Taylor said.

As of Monday afternoon, many local stores have already sold out of bottled water, as people prepare for the storm. Taylor said pottable drinking water on the city water systems will be good for about a week. He said people who have well water can go to the local park facilities and fill up jugs of water. Taylor reminded people that the water lasts longer if you are conservative with it.

Sandbags are available at the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office located at 15 Oak Street in Crawfordville. There is a limit of 10 per resident, per trip.

Friday night was to have been Homecoming – all Homecoming activities have been cancelled. The football game with Wakulla High School hosting Florida High on Friday night may be played, depending on the weather, or reset in the days afterward. The junior varsity football game set for Thursday has been cancelled.

 

from News Service of Florida:

TALLAHASSEE --- Gov. Rick Scott on Monday warned residents of the Panhandle and the Big Bend region to “seriously” plan for the impact of the rapidly developing Hurricane Michael, which is expected to reach Florida by mid-week with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph.

“You’ve got to take care of yourself,” said Scott, sporting his faded Navy baseball cap that has become a hallmark of his past emergency attire, after a briefing at the Bay County Emergency Operations Center in Southport.

Scott said emergency officials are “doing everything they can to get everybody ready.” But, as Michael is expected to bring storm surge, rains, flash flooding and tornadoes, Scott said the storm’s northern speed through the Gulf of Mexico is different from hurricanes that have hit Florida the past couple of years.

“This has been different from a lot of the storms we’ve seen since I’ve been governor. It’s fast, this is coming very fast,” Scott said. “It could speed up. It could slow down. We don’t know. And we don’t know exactly where it’s going to hit yet.”

The National Hurricane Center expects Michael to move inland in the Panhandle or Big Bend on Wednesday, and then move northeast Wednesday night and Thursday across the Southeast U.S.

“Steady to rapid strengthening is forecast during the next day or so, and Michael is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday or Tuesday night,” the National Hurricane Center said Monday morning after receiving data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft.

Mark Wool, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, said the storm will be more damaging than Hurricane Hermine, which hit Tallahassee and other areas of the Big Bend in 2016.

“Hermine was a marginal Category 1 storm. We are talking about a significantly higher level of wind,” Wool told The News Service of Florida. “In Hermine, it knocked power out to part of the city (Tallahassee) for a week. There are a lot of trees, not just in Tallahassee, but in all of the surrounding parts of the Big Bend, up into Georgia and over the Panhandle. So, power outages should be expected, and they are going to be of a lengthy duration.”

Wool raised concerns about potential storm surge in Franklin County’s Apalachee Bay, which he described as the “second-most vulnerable stretch of coastline in the entire nation for storm surge, because of the shape of the coastline. It funnels the water right up in there.”

Hermine made landfall in the St. Marks area and moved north through Tallahassee. While it remains unclear where Hurricane Michael will hit, Wool said it would be more powerful than other storms that have damaged the eastern Panhandle and Big Bend.

“There hasn’t been a major hurricane landfall in that part of the Florida coastline since the late 1800s. So, no one alive in this part of the world will have experienced a hurricane of this strength in this part of the state,” he said. “If you think, ‘Oh, I rode out Hermine and I can handle it this time around,’ you might want to reconsider for this one.” 

As of 11 a.m. Monday, Michael was about 140 miles east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and 50 miles from the western tip of Cuba.

The storm, moving north at 7 mph, had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. The National Hurricane Center anticipates the northward motion to pick up through Tuesday night, with a northeast shift expected Wednesday and Thursday.

On Sunday, Scott declared a state of emergency for 26 counties in the Panhandle and the Big Bend, which generally includes areas surrounding Tallahassee.

The state has activated 500 members of the Florida National Guard and has another 5,000 on standby. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has also designated 40 law-enforcement officers for rapid deployment.

Scott said he also wants local governments to confirm that mutual-aid agreements with electric utilities have been signed so there is no delay in power restoration.

In 2016, Scott clashed with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, now the Democratic candidate for governor, over the city’s response to Hurricane Hermine.

Late Sunday, Gillum’s campaign announced he scrapped campaign stops planned Monday and Tuesday in South Florida to return to Tallahassee to “focus on preparing the city of Tallahassee and residents” for the storm.

Gillum's mayoral office separately sent out a release that said he "reached out to Governor Scott with an update on the city’s efforts."

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis tweeted that he was redirecting his “Panhandle campaign staff and volunteers to help prepare their communities ahead of the storm.”

Counties along the Gulf Coast were expected to discuss evacuations later Monday.

A hurricane watch, indicating that tropical-storm winds are possible within 48 hours, was in effect from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River, with a tropical-storm watch extending from the Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island and from the Alabama state line west to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

A storm-surge watch, indicating rising water moving inland within the next 48 hours, is in effect from Navarre to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay.

The National Hurricane Center projected the storm to dump four to eight inches of rain across the Panhandle and Big Bend, with some isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches.

On its current path, Michael could create surges of seven to 11 feet from Indian Pass to Crystal River. The surges would diminish further away from landfall, but even the Florida Keys could get up to four inches of surge.

With agencies preparing for the storm, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said a meeting this week of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission had been canceled. The commission, formed after the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, had been slated to meet Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Broward County.

Also, Florida State University said in a tweet that it will close Tuesday through Friday.