|TROPICAL STORM DEBBY UPDATE 6-29-12|
Property damage assessments from Tropical Storm Debby continue in Wakulla County where the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management is spearheading efforts to be ready when federal disaster assistance becomes available.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Damage Assessment Team officials are expected to be in Wakulla County Saturday, June 30 to begin the inspection process to determine if county residents can expect federal assistance.
There hasn’t been any FEMA staff in the county prior to June 30 and residents should be aware of potential scams where individuals may pose as FEMA representatives. Law enforcement patrols are monitoring signs of scams in the community.
The damage assessment statistics include 387 homes that have been affected by the tropical storm. Of the grand total, 45 homes have been destroyed, 36 have received major damage, 26 received minor damage and 280 were affected in some way. The total damage estimate has increased to $8 million. The assessment crews still have not reached sections of the upper St. Marks River area and locations in Sopchoppy where the flood waters remain too high.
WCSO Emergency Management has concerns about high heat indexes during the weekend and reminds everyone to stay well hydrated and watch for signs of heat exhaustion.
Any Wakulla County residents who still have unmet needs are asked to contact the WCSO at 745-7100. A number of non-profit organizations are working to coordinate response to those individuals in need. The agencies include the Red Cross, Goodwill Industries, Second Harvest, Salvation Army and many more. The Ochlockonee Bay United Methodist Church will host a food pantry for those in need on June 30.
The Sopchoppy River continues to slowly drop but it is still in the major flood stage classification. The St. Marks River has fallen into the minor flood stage category after topping out in the moderate flood stage classification. Old Magnolia Road is now accessible.
WCSO, Red Cross and Salvation Army staff have been feeding and getting water to residents in Sopchoppy who have been hard hit by the storm.
Emergency officials ask residents who are boating on the Sopchoppy River to be considerate of those with damaged homes and property and don’t create a wake on the waters. WCSO officials recommend boaters stay off the river.
Progress Energy has approximately 190 customers without power due to their location and safety issues with restoring electricity. Five people stayed at the Crawfordville Elementary School shelter last night.
Individuals who would like to help victims of Tropical Storm Debby are invited to contact agencies such as the Red Cross, Second Harvest, Salvation Army, Goodwill and Florida Baptists Disaster Relief to earmark assistance for Wakulla County.
The water recession appears to be occurring at a very slow rate and will take several more days to reach a point where some homeowners and relief workers can access many homes, particularly in the Sopchoppy area.
Current road closures and impacts due to flooding, damage, and/or bridge damage:
- AS OF 8:00AM, 6/29/2012, a federal disaster declaration has NOT been issued.
- There are several locations with major infrastructure damage and will likely remain closed for a longer period of time: Surf Road at Buckhorn Creek, Smith Creek Road at Syfrette Creek, Harms Road, Harvey Mill at Lawhon, Bostic Pelt Road at Lost Creek Culvert, and potentially both bridges over the Sopchoppy River (Smith Creek Road and Rose Road).
- Residents are encouraged to contact the Wakulla County Emergency Management to report damages, regardless if they require assistance. This information will be utilized in directing Federal, State, and non-profit agencies to the right neighborhoods. This is NOT an application process for financial assistance. Callers will still need to register for assistance with respective agencies when services become available.
- There are clear unmet human service needs. Numerous residents have called requesting assistance with muck out (removal of flooded carpeting, drywall, etc) and debris removal from private property. Several callers are also requesting financial assistance and clothing. Representatives from Volunteer Wakulla, the Big Bend Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD), and Samaritans Purse will be meeting today to formulate a plan of action.
A. Wakulla County Administration:
B. Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office, Division of Emergency Management:
C. Wakulla Public Works Office:
D. Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office:
E. Wakulla County Department of Health:
F. Florida Highway Patrol
G. American Red Cross
H. Salvation Army
I. Florida Department of Transportation
J. Progress Energy
K. Florida State University
L. Volunteer Wakulla