Cleanup from Hurricane Matthew in Flagler continues, beaches closed

Flagler schools announce makeup dates

By James Sparvero - Reporter, Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager

FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. - Flagler County schools will start making up "hurricane days," starting this week.

Flagler schools closed during hurricanes Hermine and Matthew and need to make up five days, officials said.

The first of the so-called “hurricane makeup days” will be Friday, October 14, which was originally scheduled to be a teacher workday. 

Additional makeup dates will be announced at a later date, school officials said.

Flagler schools will not open until Wednesday this week because of damage from Hurricane Matthew. District crews have been working with municipal teams to prepare campuses for the return of students.

Officials tour damage

U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), who chairs the Oversight Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets, met Monday with Florida Department of Transportation officials in Flagler Beach to discuss damage to State Road A1A, where nearly one mile of road collapsed from Hurricane Matthew.

"This is probably the most significant damage the state has occurred in our transportation system," Mica said. 

“The last time several small sections of A1A washed out in Flagler County, it used the state’s entire emergency fund,” Mica said. “We must move quickly to ensure that this critical road link and others that were damaged in the storm are restored to full operations as soon as possible.”

FDOT is working on full cost assessment that should be completed by Thursday, officials said in a presser. 

Mica was briefed later in the day by the Army Corps of Engineers about damage along Florida’s northeast coast.

The goal for recovery is to the reinforce area that was washed away with a concrete and metal barrier, which is previously in some spots along the roadway. 

"We're going to help everybody get their businesses open.  We're going to help them get their homes.  We're going to help them get back to get these schools open," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said. 

"While we don't want to see the devastation behind us at all, the important thing is to save everybody's life," Scott continued. 

Meanwhile, the bridges leading from the mainland to the barrier island fully reopened at 7 a.m. Monday. A curfew is still in effect on the barrier island from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. until further notice, according to Flagler County officials.

"We ask that anyone going into Flagler Beach or the Hammock be respectful of the cleanup efforts for the residents who live there,” Flagler County administrator Craig Coffey said. “We don’t want to interfere with their work.”

Officials also asked that beachside visitors stay out of the depressions on A1A.

"We are concerned for everyone’s safety,” Coffey said. “We are worried that portions of the roadway may still wash away.”

Flagler’s beaches will be closed until further notice because of safety issues.

"The beach is not safe.  There are boards out there there are needles that have washed up.  There's all sorts of things out there.  You should not be on the beach," Flagler Beach Mayor Linda Provencher said. 

Debris is littering the beach and the water, including wood from a pier that was partially destroyed, roofing nails and metal and wood from the dune walkovers, which are also unsafe for use.

The storm left 1.1 million customers without power statewide. 

John and Julia Wilson's Flagler Beach home survived Hurricane Matthew with no damage, but like the rest of the beach, the couple is without power this weekend.

"We were talking to somebody who was up by A1A, a good portion that, you know, was destroyed. And they said that they stayed and they probably experienced, one lady said, gusts up to 100 to 110 mph," said John Wilson, who lives one-third of a mile from A1A in Flagler Beach.

[RELATED: Flagler County residents permitted back into homes]

The Wilsons left Flagler before Matthew hit. They returned home over the weekend safe and sound, sweating without air conditioning, but feeling blessed everything was intact.

"We're very, very lucky," Wilson said.

[RELATED: Matthew aftermath forces Volusia, Flagler to close schools]

The couple's house is 17 feet above flood stage.

[RELATED: Central Florida cleans up from Hurricane Matthew]

City leaders are asking residents to trust services will be restored as quickly as they can be.

"Be patient, because this is really a marathon, not a sprint," Flagler Beach commissioner Rick Belhumeur said.

[VIDEO: Assessing the damage in Flagler County]

Watch News 6 for more on this story.

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