Volusia County officials again urged residents to stay put and not leave their homes ‘unless absolutely necessary’ during a press conference at the emergency operations center on Friday afternoon .
“The process of recovery and healing from this storm is ongoing,” said Kevin Captain, the county’s community information manager. “However, just because the storm has moved, the danger hasn’t… The destruction left behind by (Tropical Storm) Ian is indescribable.”
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“Roads, businesses and even our iconic Speedway are all underwater,” the captain said. “At this time, we do not have a start date for debris removal as damage assessment is ongoing.”
Debris piles should be separated between vegetation (leaves, tree branches) and building materials (such as carpets, furniture, fences, drywall).
As of 1 p.m. Friday afternoon, about 184,000 customers remained without power in the county, he said.
“Certainly, it is a large number. But looking on the bright side, it’s a significant decrease from yesterday when nearly 250,000 people were without power,” Captain said.
Out-of-state utility crews have been mobilized as part of efforts to restore power to the area.
“Over 600 calls”
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood encouraged residents to reflect on the “historic” and “catastrophic event we faced here.”
“We lost three lives in this event,” he said. “And we have countless numbers of people who have suffered catastrophic property losses – not to mention what’s happening with our friends and neighbors in the southwest part of the state.”
Chitwood said New Smyrna Beach saw 15.5 inches of rain from the storm yesterday — 13 at DeLand, 11.5 at Edgewater, 11 at Lake Helen and Debary and more than 10 inches at Daytona Beach.
“When you take that into account, along with the more than 600 calls to our dispatch center for people to be evacuated, I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the team we have here,” he said. -he declares.
Chitwood said the county received state assistance with five ocean-going vehicles used in the rescue operations yesterday. There are currently no pending calls for flood evacuations, Chitwood added.
Daytona Beach Area Shelters
County shelters were housing more than 400 people as of Friday morning. All shelters, the captain said, will close at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Emergency Management Director Jim Judge said school district and county health department personnel were assisting people in the shelters.
The Ocean Center at 101 N Atlantic Ave. in Daytona Beach will be the “primary evacuation point and lodging location for Volusia County” beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The two special needs shelters are at Atlantic High School and Galaxy Middle School, and the two general population shelters are at Mainland High School and DeLand High School.
Volusia Schools staff are currently surveying sites to determine school accessibility and to have a “as soon as possible” reopening date.
“We are going to make sure that we are going to open schools that are safe for our parents, our students and our staff,” said Earl Johnson Jr., chief operating officer for the county school district.
Rescue of beaches and animal shelters
Deputy Chief of Beach Safety Tammy Malphurs said beach conditions “remain incredibly dangerous”.
“Double red flags are currently flying and we plan to fly them in the coming days,” Malphurs said. “In addition to the waves, debris may be in the ocean or on the shore which will cause personal injury. There are many beach boardwalks, seawalls and sea dunes that were damaged by the storm. Please stay away from these.
The captain concluded by announcing that an Edgewater animal shelter had received help from the County Animal Services Division and other local partners to rescue 90 animals (cats and dogs) during Thursday’s storm.
“It’s going to take a lot of people to restore our beautiful community,” the captain said.