Hurricane Matthew tore into Flagler County the night of Sept. 10, knocking down tree limbs and power lines, ripping the siding from mobile homes and flooding coastal and low-lying parts of the county.
Still, by the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 12, much of the water had receded, city and county crews had dragged branches and palm fronds and debris out of the roadway and piled it alongside the streets for pickup, and many areas offered little clue that they’d just been pounded by tropical storm force winds.
State Road A1A was washed over with sand, but structurally sound. The pier was still standing. And most importantly: No one died in the storm in Flagler County, and there were no major injuries from the storm, as far as county officials knew by Sept. 12.
As of the morning of Sept. 13, 29,660 of the 58,000 FPL customers who’d lost power had had their power restored, according to FPL’s Power Tracker website.
“We still have trees down, power lines within those trees,” Palm Coast Fire Chief Mike Beadle said at a news conference Tuesday, Sept. 12. “We are out there trying to remove that, but we need to make sure its safe for everybody before FPL ... is out there turning on the power.”
Most areas, he said, have been cleared, and most roads were passable. Seminole Woods, he said, was there only area within the city of Palm Coast where there was still water over the road.
City staff were asking residents to limit water use as 12 trucks continued around the streets pumping down the wastewater system. Residents with PEP system alarms sounding should call 986-2360 and notify city staff, he said.
City water is safe to drink; residents do not need to boil it, he said.
The county set up an assistance center that opened at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the library branch in Palm Coast. It will remain open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
“We will be focused on those with homes that have been flooded or undergone a lot of damage,” County Administrator Craig Coffey said at a news conference the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 12.
In Flagler Beach, South Flagler Avenue was flooded all the way to the Volusia County line, and Lambert Avenue and Palm Circle were also flooded.
Flagler Beach Fire Chief Bobby Pace said the city is working to get the power on promptly to those locations after flooding recedes, to prevent mold buildup in homes.
The city’s water plant was still functioning, Pace said, as was garbage pickup.
Shelters, which had taken in a total of 1,164 people — slightly less than during Hurricane Matthew, Coffey said — began closing Tuesday.
School and county government offices mostly stayed closed Wednesday, Sept. 13; county officials planned to open Thursday, Sept. 14.
Sheriff Rick Staly said the deputies and officers made four arrests the night of Sept. 11 that began with curfew violations, and arrested a burglar the afternoon of Sept. 12.
Flagler County officials have lifted the curfew throughout the county, and the beachside is now open to all — no check points.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation,” Flagler County Administrator Craig Coffey said in a press release. “We know this has been inconvenient, but we appreciate the understanding everyone has shown. We needed to keep everyone safe.”