Following is the latest from Monroe County Emergency Management on ongoing post-Hurricane Irma updates:
▪ Search-and-rescue teams continue to go door to door in the hardest-hit areas of the Keys, including Big Pine Key and Cudjoe Key in the Lower Keys. The search teams do not enter shuttered homes at this time.
▪ Most of the Keys are without internet or cell service.
▪ The number of Irma deaths stood at three, though whether they were specifically storm-related was still being assessed.
▪ Keys Energy Services, which provides electricity from the Seven Mile Bridge south through Key West, reports that about 7 percent of customers have service. This includes power to Monroe County’s assisted-living facility, whose generator had failed.
Keys Energy is expecting the arrival of more crews to work in the hardest-hits area, which include Big Pine Key and Cudjoe Key Power is expected to go on today at the private Key West Resort Utilities, which includes the sewer treatment plant.
▪ The Florida Keys Electric Cooperative, which provides electricity from the Seven Mile Bridge north to the Miami-Dade County line, has about 30 percent of its service area. “We expect that percentage to go significantly today,” said CEO Scott Newberry.
▪ The main line is energized but the crews are not working to get the side streets power. Several key firehouses, government buildings, the Plantation Key jail and Mariners Hospital in Tavernier all have power. The co-op reports that about 40 mutual-aid crews are in the Keys. Most of them have staged at Founders Park in Islamorada, creating a makeshift camp with sleep and shower trailers. They have nurses coming in to meet their emergency medical needs.
▪ The Florida Department of Transportation will help inspect Monroe County bridges that are not on U.S. 1. DOT crews are also coming from neighboring districts to begin “cut-and-toss” operations followed by debris removal along U.S. 1.
▪ Key West City Manager Jim Scholl reports that all streets in the Key West are expected to be clear by the end of the day. Crews will soon begin to pick up the debris that has been shoved to the sides of streets.
▪ Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay reports that it was a “good decision” to open the Upper Key as soon as the county did. “We’ve had no issues, no crime,” he said. “Residents here are making sure of that, too.”
▪ A 16-person law enforcement unit from outside the county is coming to patrol the Upper Keys so Keys law enforcement officers can add manpower for the Middle and Lower Keys. There have been a few arrests for looting in the Middle and Lower Keys.
▪ Monroe County has set up a temporary jail in Marathon. A local judge will hold first appearances today, and every other day until further notice.
Re-entry to the islands from the mainland is still limited to residents and business owners in the Upper Keys, to mile marker 73. Work is being done to safely open the rest of the Keys.
▪ Key West International Airport and Florida Keys Marathon International Airport are operational, including for nighttime operations for emergency response flights. There is no commercial service or general aviation until further notice.
▪ An Air Force unit with 31 people is staged at Naval Air Station Key West to control military airlift inbound and outbound. The crews can handle two aircraft at a time. And they have a forklift to deal with the pallets of food and water.
▪ The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority reports pressure down to Stock Island. Most of the homes and businesses not receiving water in the Upper and Middle Keys is mostly due to broken lines in people’s yards that were were ripped up by fallen trees.
▪ From 10 a.m. to noon and from 5 to 7 p.m., Key West and Stock Island will have water from stored supplies and the reverse osmosis plant.
▪ Water restrictions are in place. Water should only be used for sanitation purposes and not for washing cars, boats and houses.
▪ There is a precautionary boil-water notice in effect for all of the Keys.
▪ About 2,000 members of the National Guard are in the Keys to help with communications and work at distribution points for food and water.
▪ Six distribution centers for food and water will be in operation today. They are at Coral Shores High School in Tavernier, Marathon High School, the National Key Deer Refuge office on Overseas Highway on Big Pine Key. Sugarloaf School, Sears Town Plaza on North Roosevelt Boulevard in New Town Key West, and the 4th Street parking lot near the soccer field in Bahama Village in Old Town Key West.
▪ No comprehensive assessments have been done to accurately determine the percentage of damage or dollar figures.
▪ Monroe County inspectors have begun damage-assessment inspections of the outside of private structures, beginning in Key Largo. They are operating out of the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center at mile marker 102. No inspections will be performed of the inside of the structures.
▪ Accurate damage assessments are vital to receive state and federal assistance.
A dusk-to-dawn curfew will remain in place until further notice.
▪ The Winn-Dixie and Publix grocery stores are open in Key Largo with limited hours.
▪ The CVS Pharmacy in Key Largo opened Wednesday.
▪ Sea Tow Key Largo is up and running. All vessels, salvage equipment, trucks and trailers are ready for work. If you need assistance, call (502) 645-3578 or (305) 451-3330.
▪ Fuel remains limited in the Keys but gas stations are beginning to open up to the public, especially in the Upper Keys.
Citizen’s Property Insurance Corp. will come into the Keys today to set up a base camp. The location and hours of operation will be announced soon.
▪ Cell service still is spotty and mostly unavailable in the Keys. AT&T and Verizon crews are working to restore service.
▪ Mariners Hospital in Tavernier has opened its emergency room.
Disaster medical assistance teams have arrived and will be setting up medical clinics in Key West, Florida Keys Community College on Stock Island and the Marathon Community Park at U.S. 1 and 35th Street.