Hurricane Matthew keeps Cape Canaveral hospital closed

Port Canaveral allows cruise ships to return

A stop sign flies near Mark Lehman's liveshot in Cocoa Beach.
A stop sign flies near Mark Lehman's liveshot in Cocoa Beach.

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Hurricane Matthew continues to make an impact on Brevard County.

Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital is closed until further notice, Brevard officials said on Sunday. No other details were immediately released.

Port Canaveral, however, is now open to ships that were kept away during Hurricane Matthew's trek along the Space Coast.

"The port is ready to go," port director and Chief Executive Officer John Murray said.

At noon Sunday, three cruise ships – Disney Dream, Carnival Valor and Carnival Magic – were ready to come into the port. There were also cargo ships off the coast waiting for clearance to approach the port.

Murray said the port authority had to wait for clearance from the U.S. Coast Guard and had to make sure the port facilities were in good order before ships could begin arriving.

Under the control of harbor pilots, ships will only come and go from the port during daylight hours until further notice. Channel markers apparently moved during the storm.

Cruise passengers were also arriving at the port for the next cruise to leave the port.

Meanwhile, green leafy debris — toppled trees, broken limbs and fallen branches — lies scattered across the Space Coast after Hurricane Matthew skimmed the coastline. Brevard County's three landfill facilities are open and accepting vegetation, said Don Walker, county spokesman.

"We've got our landfills open. So if you've got debris and you want to get it off the street and get it out of your yard, you can haul it to the landfill yourself. It doesn't matter how much you bring: We'll take it," Walker said.

What's more, curbside storm debris removal begins Monday in unincorporated Brevard. County officials plan to deploy trucks in two passes scheduled at least a week apart.

"If you just want to pile it up at the edge of your curb so we can pick it up starting (Monday) with regular solid-waste collection pickups, we're asking people to keep the stack to a reasonable level. And to keep the limbs no longer than 4 feet long," Walker said.

"If you drive around town, the brunt of the damage from this storm is a lot of tree limbs and things like that. In some cases, it's nothing that a lawnmower won't take care of. But in other cases, people have a lot of debris. We're going to do our best to start collecting it," he said.

Waste Management will resume normal collection schedules Monday for residential waste and recycling carts on passable streets in unincorporated Brevard and the municipalities it serves, said Amy Boyson, company spokeswoman.

Regarding hurricane-generated debris, Boyson said the city of Cocoa Beach has contracted with a Federal Emergency Management Agency-approved contractor to start collecting large vegetation piles and construction debris on Monday. Timing decisions regarding curbside storm-debris pickup elsewhere on the Space Coast remain pending, she said.

Some curbside advice from Cocoa Beach City Hall: Don't pile debris near trees, poles or structures — including fire hydrants — because it hampers removal efforts. And debris should not block the roadway.

County solid waste officials also recommend that residents pile yard waste and vegetative matter in one pile and construction-demolition debris, such as fencing, tiles and roofing, in another pile. Household trash and recyclables should be placed inside Waste Management receptacles.

Brevard's yard-waste facilities are located at the Sarno Transfer Station in Melbourne (3379 Sarno Road), the Mockingbird Mulching Facility in Titusville (3600 South St.), and the Central Disposal Facility in Cocoa (2250 Adamson Road). The Melbourne and Cocoa landfills started accepting household garbage Saturday afternoon, and they are open daily from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. until at least Oct. 22.

In Palm Bay, Waste Management trucks are back on the streets.

"City of Palm Bay residential garbage collection will occur Sunday for residents that were not serviced on Thursday or Friday due to Hurricane Matthew. Waste Management will be collecting garbage in carts only," Boyson said.

Additional tips from Waste Management:

• Garbage carts should be used for regular household waste only, not storm debris or yard waste. Likewise, do not put debris in recycle carts.

• Do not bag storm debris or yard waste. If possible, place debris in reusable garbage cans and cut branches into lengths of 4 feet or less.

"Separating normal household waste from storm debris will allow Waste Management employees to collect your household waste and recycling more quickly and safely. The separation is also necessary because other firms independent from Waste Management may be authorized to collect your storm debris in accordance with arrangements made by local municipalities and/or the county," Boyson said.

"We are working closely with the county and the municipalities as they conduct assessments of the debris generated by Hurricane Matthew," she said.

As of Saturday, power was out to at least 85 intersections in Brevard County, with that number being out of the 250 total in the county. If a traffic light is flashing yellow, drivers should proceed with caution, if it is flashing red, drivers should treat it as a stop sign. If there is no light visible, the intersections must be treated as a four-way stop. 

At the advice of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, citizens and visitors who are coming back from evacuation should do so with caution. Crews are still out assessing the damage from Hurricane Matthew. Trees and power lines that were weakened from the storm could prove dangerous, and could potentially fall. Use caution when repairing your home.