Debris, bacteria levels a concern on Flagler’s beaches, officials say

Part of Flagler Beach Pier washed away in the storm

Flagler pier damaged by Ian

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Officials in Flagler County are asking people to stay out of the Atlantic Ocean along the county’s beaches following Hurricane Ian.

County emergency management director Jonathan Lord said there are concerns about debris, like large pieces of wood and electrical wiring washed away from Flagler Beach, which was damaged during the storm.

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“We know everyone is ready to get back to some semblance of normal life, but we are cautioning against swimming, surfing, or even walking in the ocean at this point in time,” Lord said in a statement. “Losing half the pier means there could literally be tons of debris in the water – things you may or may not be able to see, and things that could really hurt you.”

City Manager William Whitson said that debris and other hazardous items could be submerged and thus not visible to swimmers or surfers out at the beaches.

Beach erosion also means there are limited access points, since dune walkovers may be structurally unsound.

The Florida Dept. of Health-Flagler said it took samples of the water for quality and bacteria levels and believes there are likely elevated bacteria levels.

About the Author:

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.