Following the landfall of Hurricane Hermine Thursday night, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday remained in constant communication with state and local leaders who are working to ensure the state is responding to any impacts from the storm. Throughout the day Scott visited communities impacted by the hurricane to meet with Floridians and assess damages.
In a prepared statement, here's what the governor had to say to Floridians:
“I spent this afternoon touring many of the areas hit hardest by last night’s storm and speaking with Floridians who were awoken in the middle of the night by the first hurricane to impact our state in 11 years. Tallahassee, Steinhatchee and Cedar Key were all in the direct path of Hurricane Hermine and today we visited neighborhoods, homes and businesses that were impacted by aggressive wind, heavy rain and falling trees. While the damage this storm brought to our beautiful state may be difficult to face now, we know that Florida is resilient. We have rebuilt before, and we will rebuild again.
“Today I saw communities coming together to share resources, clean up damage and help their neighbors. Our state is strong and I am confident that our communities will continue to band together and restore these beautiful areas. I also spoke with many local leaders, sheriffs and first responders who have been working nonstop to help those in need. Florida has the nation’s best state and local emergency management professionals and they will do all they can to help families and residents get back to work.
“As the weekend approaches, Floridians must remain vigilant about taking proper safety precautions. Just because it is clear outside does not mean it is safe. Remember to be safe when cleaning up debris. If you need assistance, please call your local county emergency management office or dial 411. State and local agencies are hard at work clearing debris, and while many areas have been cleared, it is still important to use caution. We still have significant amounts of flood water along coastal and inland areas. Do not travel on the roads until they are safe, stay out of all standing water and do not touch or approach powerlines.
“The threat of rip currents will continue through the weekend. These can occur even when the weather appears to be nice. Even though it is a holiday weekend, remember to check posted warnings and beach flags. There is still a significant chance of rain in Tampa Bay and the surrounding areas throughout the night. It is important for everyone to stay tuned to their local weather station for updates on road and weather conditions. It is also important that everyone does their part to combat the Zika virus. Remember to dump standing water -- no matter how small -- around your homes and businesses, and wear bug repellant.
“We worked hard to prepare for this storm and we will continue to work hard throughout the response and recovery process. Emergency management officials have begun working on infrastructure restoration and will soon begin the formal damage assessment process. I ask that everyone continue to work together to help those in need.”
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater has extended the operating hours of the Department of Financial Services’ Insurance Consumer Helpline. As Floridians assess damages to their property and belongings, Atwater advises they document damages by taking photographs or shooting video footage and notifying their insurance companies as soon as possible. The Department’s Insurance Consumer Helpline offers Floridians access to insurance experts who can explain policy coverage details, help consumers locate contact information for insurance companies, and answer claims-filing questions.
If safe to do so, consumers should make temporary repairs to prevent further damages. However, they should obtain the licensing or training credentials of all third-party vendors and read all paperwork before signing any work agreements. Beware of fly-by-night repair companies and hire only licensed and reputable people. Keep all receipts as these expenses may be reimbursed as part of the insurance claim.
WHAT: Insurance Consumer Helpline
HOW: 1 (877) 693–5236 (Toll-Free)
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 3 and Sunday, Sept. 4
8 a.m. – 12 noon EST
If possible, consumers should have insurance policy documents readily available. The more information that consumers have on hand, the more detailed help the Department’s insurance experts can provide. Floridians can also use this consumer helpline to report suspected fraudulent activity, and to verify the license of Florida insurance agents and adjusters.
Additional post-storm information can be found on the Department’s disaster preparedness website: www.myfloridacfo.com/division/consumers/.
The counties in the storm path listed below show the percentage of customers currently without power:
- Alachua – 13%
- Citrus – 10%
- Colombia – 22%
- Dixie – 40%
- Franklin – 5%
- Gadsden – 22%
- Gilchrist – 46%
- Hamilton – 73%
- Jefferson – 62%
- Lafayette- 15%
- Leon – 65%
- Levy – 34%
- Madison – 59%
- Suwannee – 44%
- Taylor – 68%
- Wakulla – 91%
County buildings are closed in these 27 counties:
ALACHUA, BAKER, BRADFORD, CITRUS, CLAY, COLUMBIA, DIXIE, DUVAL, FRANKLIN, GADSDEN, GILCHRIST, HAMILTON, JACKSON, JEFFERSON, LAFAYETTE, LEON, LEVY, LIBERTY, MADISON, NASSAU, PASCO, PUTNAM, ST. JOHNS, SUWANNEE, TAYLOR, UNION, WAKULLA
Emergency support functions by state emergency response team:
Law Enforcement (FDHSMV, FWC, FDLE)
· The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is monitoring road conditions and deploying teams to assist local sheriffs as needed.
· Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission conducted search and rescue missions for high water recovery efforts in multiple counties. They are continuing to assist with reconnaissance and debris removal.
· The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is coordinating with local law enforcement to support communities affected by the storm and has multiple missions ongoing across coastal areas.
Transportation and Public Works & Engineering (FDOT)
· The Florida Department of Transportation is monitoring road conditions and closures.
· Florida’s FL511.com Traveler Information System is one of the most effective ways drivers can keep informed about the state’s roadways during and following any severe weather
· No interstates are closed. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is now open.
· There is no reported fuel supply, distribution or retail issues at this time.
Business, Industry & Economic Stabilization(DEO, OIR)
· State activated Private Sector Hotline: 850-410-1403. Hotline is available for business inquiries about the storm, preparedness information and post-impact information.
· Actively monitoring the Florida Virtual Business Operations Center and Emergency Management Constellation, which allow counties to request resources and monitor updates.
· If you need help finding your Florida’s property insurance company’s website and contact information, click HERE. For a list of licensed insurance agents in Florida, click HERE.
· If you have questions about insurance coverage, you can call the Department of Financial Services, Division of Consumer Services’ Insurance Helpline at 1-877-693-5236. You can find other hurricane season resources from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation HERE.
National Guard (DMA)
· Currently have 200 soldiers on state active duty in support of Hurricane Hermine.
· 6,000 total guardsmen and women stand ready.
· High wheeled vehicles have deployed in support of local law enforcement.
· Early this morning, the Florida National Guard deployed reconnaissance teams beginning in Crystal River and working their way up the coast doing search and rescue.
Food & Water (FDACS, DOH, DCF, DEA)
· The state is reaching out to counties impacted by the storm for U.S. Department of Agriculture allocations and monitoring power outages and flooding to ensure safety at food establishments.
· The Salvation Army has deployed 13 canteens across the state to assist in these efforts.
Health & Medical Services (DOH, AHCA, APD, DCF, DEA)
· The state stands ready to support local healthcare facilities as needed.
· Special needs shelters remain open in Leon and Levy counties. Please visit FloridaDisaster.org/Info for more information on shelters.
· The Agency for Persons with Disabilities has been coordinating with their Waiver Support Coordinators and licensed Group Homes to ensure all needs are met. Hotels/motels in the area have been identified in case APD clients are in need of power.
· The Florida Department of Elder Affairs’ Area Agency on Aging offices remained open and provided services such as meals in multiple affected counties.
· We encourage residents to continue to watch local news for information on life safety alerts such as weather threats and potential boil water notices.
Environmental Protection (DEP, Water Management Districts)
· There are currently 28 state park closures.
· The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will continue to work with local municipalities to address any water or sewer related issues caused by Hurricane Hermine.