UPDATE: 10:02 a.m.
Carrabelle Mayor Brenda La Paz said essential services are available at Weems Clinic East, the gas stations, the IGA and Dollar General, the foodbank, and restaurants in the town.
She wrote that the Carrabelle Police Department has maintained public safety and protected private & personal property throughout the City of Carrabelle and immediate surrounding communities. The Chief reports that he, the Deputy Chief, and all Police Officers have assisted the public, business owners, and other government agencies & their subcontractors in all recovery efforts as needed.
The Carrabelle Streets & Roads Department has now cleared all roadways of debris within the City Limits of Carrabelle. All Carrabelle streets and roads are now safe for emergency access and first responders. Stormwater drains and ditches were cleared before the event and continue to be monitored. All City-owned parks and ancillary buildings have been inspected by the Streets & Roads Department crews. Note that power lines are down next to, or hanging very low over, multiple and numerous roadways. Debris has been moved off the roadways onto the rights-of-way, but still is very close to the streets, wrote La Paz.
The Carrabelle Water & Sewer Department maintained water & sewer service as best as possible through this catastrophic event with the main goals being to assure that all drinking water continued to be clean and safe for consumption and that would be no raw sewer spills onto the ground, into flooded areas, or into our waterways. As of Wednesday evening, the Superintendent reported all communities serviced by the W&S Department have water service with the Lanark and St. James Bay systems back on line. (Lanark and St. James Bay systems still continue with a boil-water notice for now.) The “metropolitan” Carrabelle area was never without water or sewer service during the impact and continues on line. Almost all of the Lanark sewer system is working, except for those along the water’s edge because of so many roadway washouts along Hwy 98 exposing sewer lines. As of last night, the St. James Bay area sewer system is off by intention, but the collection system in that area is very large and use of the sewer system in that area will not be an issue until that system is back on line. Otherwise, all system lift stations are working. Note those using grinder pumps to carry sewer out to the main line will not be able to use the system until power is restored, she wrote.
The Carrabelle Airport came through the storm with only few tall pines to the south falling onto a few hangars, causing no major damage. The runway, taxiways, fuel system, runway lights, etc. remained intact after the impact. The Airport was open for inbound and outbound air traffic all day on Wednesday. The Carrabelle Airport is now closed for normal operations and is being utilized for non-aviation activities to support the recovery efforts by the State of Florida after the impact of Hurricane Michael. Emergency and rescue efforts such as Medivac will continue to be conducted at the Airport as needed. Presently Duke Energy is staging 160 line-trucks with sleeping facilities, cooking facilities, restroom & bathing facilities for powerline repair crews at the Carrabelle Airport & the Carrabelle Industrial Building on Airport Road.
Unfortunately, City Hall on Gray Avenue is closed due to lack of power. As many of you know, City administrative operations is in the process of moving to the new City Hall location. The City Hall generator was relocated to the new building site before the forecast of Hurricane Michael. The new building is not entirely ready for occupancy by City Staff. Therefore, City administrative operations have set up a makeshift office at the Carrabelle Wastewater Treatment Plant. The City Administrator will be available to manage emergency needs from that location.
For now, the City boat ramps, docks, pavilions, and parks remain closed for public use.
If you must be out; whether driving, bicycling, or walking; you must do so with extreme caution. Power lines are down and dangerous. Tons of storm debris remains very close to the roadways at this time.
"Yes, we are all hot and tired. Many in the area cannot shower because their well-pumps are not powered. We are worried about the foodstuffs in our refrigerators and freezers. Some worry they may not have enough gas to last until the power is back on line. A few to the east of Carrabelle have suffered significant property damage, but that has not yet been completely assessed," La Paz sad.
"I ask you to please stop and take a breath. Let’s all be thankful most of us are still here with our homes intact and that we have not suffered loss of life as a result of Hurricane Michael. Please remember and pray for our families, friends, and neighbors to the west and those few to the east who have all suffered losses much greater than ours. Although we must begin to pick up the pieces, the City of Carrabelle and its nearby surrounding communities made it through this catastrophe in an overall fair condition," she said.
Brenda La Paz, Mayor
City of Carrabelle
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UPDATE 9:49 a.m. Friday
City Manager Ron Nalley said that water pressure has stabilized through the Apalachicola city system, but the sewers are not yet back online.
Nalley said a boil water advisory remains in effect, and should not be used for drinking water. he said pressure in the sewer system is beginning to stabilize but is not yet in working order. Crews are working hard to repair leaks in both systems and we will notify the public when both are safe to use.
"It's important to conserve water as both the water and sewer plants are operating off of generators and fuel is scarce," he said.
UPDATE 8 a.m. Friday
Help is not on the way to Franklin County.*
A full-staffed mini-compound by Duke Energy has been set up,, with sleeping and cooking facilities, restroom & bathing facilities for line crews at the Apalachicola and Carrabelle airports.
On Thursday, Duke was patrolling transmission lines and substations in the entire region by helicopter all day, which allowed transmission crews to begin work earlier than if patrolled by truck.
"Once the necessary repairs have been made to these transmission lines, undamaged substations which serve distribution lines in Carrabelle and Apalachicola, and other communities between Wakulla and Bay county will begin to receive power. Once a substation receives power our distribution system will begin to receive power and crews will work to repair any and all distribution line damage between the substation and individual customers until all customers have been restored," said Danny Collins, Duke spokesman.
Howard Nabors, head of the county raod department, said that US 98 has been cleared throughout the county, but a section of it between Eastpoint and Carrabelle is impassable because the road has been undermined.
He said many of the back roads are cleared but muddy, so exercise caution when driving. Nabors said a top priority today is to clear C3 that runs to Cape San Blas, which is not yet passable.
Pam Brownell, head of emergency management, said the state has begun dropping material for Points of Distribution in Apalachicola, Eastpoint, Carrabelle, Lanark Village and St. George Island. Florida National Guardsmen will be manning these PODs, which offer meals ready-to-eat, water, showers and sinks.