Hurricane Matthew: Getting back to normal in West Palm Beach

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Mayor Jeri Muoio, right, in the city’s Emergency Operations Center

“Little to no damage” are the words of the day, from West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio.

Of the city’s 10 damage assessment crews, four reported back that they’ve seen little or no damage, and six more are still out and about but also say they see few problems.

A tree hit Fire Station 4, but caused minor damage, and that’s a station that’s about to be torn down to build a new one anyway, the mayor said. No other city property, including the downtown docks, was damaged.

No flooding in Pineapple Park or elsewhere, she said.

Garbage pickups that were cancelled Thursday will be done tomorrow, Saturday. Officials are still deciding what to do about homes that were scheduled for Friday pickups.

 

Traffic lights that were damaged have been replaced with stop signs for now.

The Mandel public library will be open as usual tomorrow, as will city parking garages and the Gaines Park and Pleasant City community centers.

Police resume normal shifts at 7 this evening.

The mayor said she doesn’t know if the city will apply to FEMA for money to cover expenses. Possibly for operational costs, such as running the Emergency Operations Center, she said. The city has been keeping track of its spending. Finance Director Mark Parks was on hand at the EOC with all other department heads during the storm.

The EOC likely will close at 8 tonight.

Until next time…. Hurricane Doris signing out.

 

Hurricane Matthew: Mayor Muoio: ‘We dodged a bullet’

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The dire and worsening predictions of Cat 4 winds didn’t come true in West Palm Beach, where tree limbs snapped around the city, power outages were widespread but not lasting, there was little damage of consequence and no injuries reported.

“We ended up being quite fortunate,” Mayor Jeri Muoio said Friday morning. “We dodged a bullet.”

Crews are out around the city, and officials are asking residents to stay off the roads so the city can clean up.

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Boats still where they left them at Palm Beach Sailing Club.
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Surveying the boats still safely moored in the Intracoastal.
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Did our boats survive the storm? Looking out at the moorings in the Intracoastal Waterway.

“We’re in good shape,” the mayor said. “We’ve basically got palm fronds and some downed trees.”

The city’s tall radio towers appeared to have emerged unscathed. An assisted living facility experienced a minor fire at the 4200 or 4300 block of Australian Avenue but no one was injured or evacuated, the mayor said.

City Hall lost power but got it back, along with the city’s computer systems. There were a few water main breaks but no serious flooding. A few lift stations went down but were powered up with generators.

“We’re very lucky,” she said.

Hurricane Matthew: What you need to know in West Palm Beach

Wind speed forecast for West Palm Beach:

  • Noon: sustained 29 mph, gusts to 40 mph
  • 9 p.m.: sustained 52 mph, gusts to 72
  • Midnight: sustained 78 mph, gusts to 97 mph
  • 1 a.m. Friday: sustained 85 mph, gusts to 105 mph
  • 6 a.m.: sustained 46 mph, gusts to 64 mph
  • Noon: 29 mph, gusts to 40 mph
  • 5 p.m.: 21 mph,, gusts to 29 mph

Governor Scott says, “evacuate, evacuate, evacuate,” if you live in coastal areas. 

“Don’t take a chance,” Scott said. “A small movement can mean a lot. That’s why we have to prepare for a direct hit.”

Last minute items:

Publix stores east of 95 will be open until noon, west of 95 will be open until 2 p.m.

Closings:

Clematis by Night is, of course, cancelled for this evening. See a full list of closures and cancellations.

Shelters:

If you’re heading to a shelter, you may want to bring some warm clothes, because they AC is working full blast at one West Palm refuge.

Find a full list of shelters throughout the county here.

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