Road closures and damage assessments are a major issue today. Five damage assessment teams are working throughout the county to identify, document and provide damage estimates. This information will be invaluable if we get a Federal Disaster Declaration. An early assessment on Tuesday had already identified and documented 100 structures with damage and that list is expected to significantly increase as the assessments continue. There are many, many roads that have varying degrees of damage, flooding issues, etc. and Public works from the county, city and Department of Transportation are using their best efforts to make repairs as quickly as possible. The report identified at least 65 county roads were closed as of 8:30 a.m. today. Obviously, they are not going to be able to fix everything at one time, so they are identifying road issues as quickly as possible, assessing the needs to make a repair and prioritizing the roads. Columbia County gave out 6,000 sand bags on Tuesday and have resumed making them available.
The Citizen’s Information Center is still operations and questions, information and other issues can be obtained and answered by calling the CIC at 719-7530.
Work has already begun to procure a significant inventory of mosquito spray by Columbia County and that will include chemicals to target both adult insects and a larvicide.
We will provide updates on all aspects of recovery efforts in our area. A public shelter remains open at Richardson Middle School in Lake City.
Flooding remains an extremely important issue for residents living in the vicinity of both the Suwannee and Santa Fe River. The Suwannee at White Springs has risen since Monday from 55 feet to 84.14 feet at 7:00 am. this morning. Flood stage begins at 77 feet. A crest is expected today at 84.2 feet, but could climb above that level. Meanwhile the Santa Fe River near Fort White has a flood stage at 24 feet and was recorded at 6:00 a.m. today at 23.4 feet and a crest is expected on Sunday at 31.2 feet. Downstream at Three Rivers Estates measured 11.87 feet this morning with a flood stage of 19 feet and a crest also expected Sunday at 26 feet. Roads at both rivers are already or expected to become flooded with damage to structures in those areas.
Residents expected to become impacted by flooding near the rivers are being urged to evacuate the area for their safety. There is no mandatory evacuation order at this time.