Palm Beach County declares state of emergency


With super powerful Hurricane Irma churning its way toward Florida, Palm Beach County has declared a state of emergency, effective at midnight, County Mayor Paulette Burdick said Tuesday evening.

No evacuations have been ordered in the county, one of a number of South Florida locations where Irma could make landfall this weekend.

County Administrator Verdenia Baker said residents who plan to evacuate should do so “sooner rather than later” to “avoid getting stranded on the highway.”

The county’s 6,000¬†employees are all considered essential employees and there is no plan to have them stop working before the end of the work week, Baker said, adding that she has no authority to direct other employers to let their workers leave early so that they can begin evacuating in advance of a potential landfall.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Irma was a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 185 miles per hour – a far more powerful storm than Harvey, which lingered over Greater Houston and brought devastating flooding to that area. Irma is one of the strongest Atlantic Ocean hurricanes on record.

Still, Baker said not everyone in the county will need to evacuate.

“Evacuations are based on storm surge, not on wind speed,” she said.

Residents who do not live along the coast and those who don’t live near Lake Okeechobee “do not necessarily need to evacuate.”

The county does anticipate operating shelters, including a special needs shelter for which residents must pre-register.

Special needs residents can pre-register at http://www.pbcgov.com or by calling 561-712-6400.

Baker urged residents to continue monitoring Irma and obtain enough supplies to last for five to seven days.

Riviera Beach reaching out to help storm-ravaged Haiti

The death toll from Hurricane Matthew’s rampage across Haiti now stands at 1,000. Hundreds of thousands more are in need of assistance as the storm damaged the impoverished nation’s water supply, wrecked its already-feeble housing stock and cut off communities.

Officials from Palm Beach County are reaching out to help.

Delray Beach Commissioner Al Jacquet is already on the ground in Haiti assessing the need for volunteers and rescue efforts, according to a news release from Riviera Beach.

Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters, Port of Palm Beach Commissioners Wayne Richards and Jean Enright and a team of about 30 doctors will be joining Jacquet in Haiti in two weeks to deliver aid and medical supplies.

“The best way to receive a blessing is to be a blessing,” the mayor said in announcing the delegation’s travel plans.

Bishop Thomas Masters, mayor of Riviera Beach. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post).
Bishop Thomas Masters, mayor of Riviera Beach. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post).

Florida’s Haitian-American population is the largest in the nation, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. Port-au-Prince is 750 miles from Riviera Beach, and many Haitian-Americans have settled there and in other communities in south Florida.

Haitians are in particular need of antibiotics and medical supplies to treat open wounds.

A list of other medical supplies and needs, along with instructions for the packing of donations, can be found on the World Harvest Missions Outreach web site at http://www.newlife4kids.com.

Local residents can bring donations to containers at A/C Self Storage on Blue Heron Blvd. in Riviera Beach and to Trinity Church International at 7255 S. Military Trail in Lake Worth. Donations can also be brought to the fire stations at Riviera Beach’s municipal complex and on Singer Island.

 

 

County urges residents to make hurricane plans

Powerful Hurricane Matthew is bringing mayhem to Haiti and is expected to rake the Florida coast, some parts of which are now under a hurricane watch.

No evacuation orders have been issued in Florida, but Palm Beach County emergency officials are urging residents to prepare for impacts.

The county’s new web site has links to hurricane preparedness information, including information on shelters, pet care and transportation.

Wind blows coconut trees during the passage of Hurricane Matthew in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Hurricane Matthew roared into the southwestern coast of Haiti on Tuesday, threatening a largely rural corner of the impoverished country with devastating storm conditions as it headed north toward Cuba and the eastern coast of Florida. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
Wind blows coconut trees during the passage of Hurricane Matthew in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

 

County to spend $1.7M for Royal Palm Beach fire rescue stations

Palm Beach County will spend $1.7 million to purchase two fire rescue stations owned by the Village of Royal Palm Beach.

County commissioners approved an agreement to purchase the stations when they met on Tuesday.

The county, which provides fire rescue service to the village, rents the buildings for $225,000 per year and determined that it would be less expensive to purchase the stations rather than continue renting them.

Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Chief Jeffrey Collins at county budget workshop, March 25, 2015 (Staff photo/Eliot Kleinberg)
Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Chief Jeffrey Collins at county budget workshop, March 25, 2015 (Staff photo/Eliot Kleinberg)

 

Taylor to host hurricane preparedness town hall meeting

Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor will host a hurricane preparedness town hall meeting today at 6:30 p.m. at the Weisman Governmental Center.

Major Gen. Michael Calhoun, the adjutant general of the Florida National Guard, is expected to attend the meeting, which will be held on the 6th floor.

The meeting is free and open to the public.

Taylor
Taylor